Honouring their former manager Rale Rasic before the game, Blacktown City paid homage to the nation’s most influential coach by delivering a decisive 4-1 victory over the Central Coast Mariners at Landen Stadium on Sunday.

While it looked like scores would remain level going into the halftime break, Mario Shabow stepped up to the plate in the 45th minute.

Intercepting the ball with his chest from the Mariners’ defence, Shabow delivered a thunderbolt off his boot from approximately 25 yards outside of the penalty box.

Although a leaping Jack Warshawsky could lay fingertips on the ball, the power of the shot flew past him and into the back of the net, gifting the home side the 1-0 lead.

It was the second time Shabow looked dangerous following an interception.

The first occurred 25 minutes earlier but was stopped due to a great challenge by Aydan Hammond, whose speed was able to catch up to the Blacktown midfielder.

Before the second half’s beginning, the Mariners had one opportunity through Lachlan Bayliss. However, his shot was confidently kept out by Tristan Prendergast.

Following a 45-minute wait to score their first goal, Blacktown City only waited seven minutes to add another to the scoreline.

After appeals for a handball from inside the box were heard across the ground, centre-back Nicholas O’Brien decided to play to the ref’s whistle.

Continuing to play on, O’Brien launched a beautifully timed lobbed shot which finessed itself into the top corner of the net.

As the floodgates opened for Blacktown, striker Charles Mendy – an attacking threat the entire game – made it 3-0 before Carlos De Oliveira put the final nail in the coffin in the 88th minute.

However, Mariners youngster Aydan Hammond was able to keep Blacktown out from recording a clean sheet.

Working hard the entire game, Hammond scored a well-deserved goal in the 89th minute, much to the delight of his family cheering from the stands.

While the opportunities continued to arise for the home side during the second half, they were unlucky not to add another two or three goals to the final score.

This was due to one individual, Mariners goalkeeper Jack Warshawsky. Warshawsky delivered multiple impressive saves in every section of the penalty box.

Mario Shabow spoke to Football NSW after a dominant performance that earned him man-of-the-match honours.

“It was tough, man. These guys, they’re very fit,” Shabow said.

“They (have) got a bit of quality about them, but I think we’ve just been waiting to punish someone with the results that haven’t been going out way (in the) last couple of weeks.

“Tonight, we showed that we got what it takes, and we just got to keep up this momentum.

“It’s always good to go into halftime (with a lead) as it gives us a bit of momentum coming in the second half (and) I think that helped us.”

Match Stats

Blacktown City FC 4 (Shabow 45’ N. O’Brien 52’ Mendy 55’ De Oliveira 88’)

Central Coast Mariners Academy 1 (Hammond 89)

Landen Stadium, Seven Hills

Referee: Stephen Lucas

Assistant Referees: Cameron Wright and Joshua Kermond

Fourth Official: Aaron Bloch

Blacktown City FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast (GK) 4. Lachlan Campbell 5. Grant Lynch 6. Matthew Lewis (C) (22. Carlos De Oliveira 58’) 8. Jak O’Brien 10. Mario Shabow (17. Tatsuya Kato 78’) 12. Tyren Burnie 16. Ben Berry (3. Daniel Collins 46’) 18. Nicholas O’Brien 19. Adam Berry 21. Charles Mendy (7. Travis Major 70’)

Substitutions Not Used: 27. Shayden Sampow 30. Jacob Fernandez

Yellow Cards: Nil

Red Cards: Nil

Central Coast Mariners Academy: 3. Cameron Windust (C) 4. Dean Larson (21. Maksim Kasalovic 57’) 6. James Bayliss 7. Aydan Hammond 8. Lachlan Bayliss 12. Olayinka Sunmola (14. Marco Arambasic 28’) 15. Jordan Segreto 16. William Arnold 18. George Daniel 24. Zac Zoricich (11. Bailey Brandtiman 72’) 30. Jack Warshawsky (GK)

Substitutions Not Used: 2. Gianni Di Pizio 20 Alexander Parkes (GK) 36. Zachariah Waddell

Yellow Cards: Hammond 31’ Zoricich 63’ Kasalovic 80’

Red Cards: Nil

Player Ratings:

3- Mario Shabow (Blacktown City FC)

2– Nicholas O’Brien (Blacktown City FC)

1- Aydan Hammond (Central Coast Mariners Academy)

By Ethan Lee Chalk

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