It may have come late but Blacktown City scored two late goals to finish off local rivals Mt Druitt Town Rangers with a hard-fought 2-0 victory at Popondetta Park on a chilly Saturday evening in Sydney’s West.

City’s top scorer Jak O’Brien headed home from a superb cross before a very late strike from Mario Shabow saw Mark Crittenden’s men retain the Mayoral Cup for 2023.

Blacktown City FC held much of the possession in the opening stages as the 2022 Champions tried to assert their authority early on.

The visitors first chance came through a return from injury Travis Major who smashed his effort over the bar after a corner routine.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers took their time to settle into the contest but had their first chance in the 23rd minute. Kotaro Katsuta found space and thrashed his effort wide of the mark.

The chances were few and far between in a tight first half. Charles Mendy popped up in the box and poked an effort wide of the right post as the visitors went on the hunt for that elusive first goal.

The hosts then went close from a set piece. A free kick was sent in and bounced around like a pinball machine before it was cleared by the Blacktown City FC defence.

It was a lot of huff and puff from both sides but when referee Nick Gela blew his whistle for the break it was locked at 0-0.

Blacktown City FC kept pushing for the opener. Jak O’Brien curled his free kick over the wall but also to the right of Mt Druitt Town Rangers custodian Dylan Niski’s net.

The visitors looked more likely to find the goal. Tyren Burnie fizzed in a cross which evaded everyone before it fell to Shabow who shot straight at Niski.

Blacktown City pushed forward again in the 79th minute. Shabow tried an outside of the foot effort which deflected off a Mt Druitt defender for a corner.

Substitutes Carlos De Oliveira and Tatsuya Kato combined to open space for Blacktown City FC but were unable to challenge Niski in goal.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers had their own chance from a corner soon after. It was sent in dangerously from Tarek Elrich but the chance was offside.

After containing City for the majority of the match, Rangers hearts were broken in the 89th minute when Jak O’Brien nodded home to make it 1-0.

Blacktown City FC made it a double delight in the 94th minute and it was game, set and match. A pass from Kato found Shabow in space and he strode forward and fired home to make it 2-0.

The result meant that Blacktown City FC retained the Mayoral Cup for 2023. They had defeated Mt Druitt Town Rangers earlier in the season, 4-1 in the first fixture.

Speaking post match, Mt Druitt Town Rangers coach Andy Montgomery rued his side’s missed opportunities but gave credit to City who fought hard till the end.

“It was a scrappy game from both teams.

From our perspective, we held our own until the 88th minute until we conceded from a corner.

We had a chance to score which we missed then allowed them to score twice.

“Credit to Blacktown City FC, they always fight to the end.”

Blacktown City FC coach Mark Crittenden was delighted with the result as he felt his side dominated the majority of the match.

“I thought we dominated possession and the game.

“They didn’t have many entries in the box especially in the first half.

“We didn’t have as many chances at goal but got the goals we deserved.

“The Mayoral Cup is some good banter between the two sides and we haven’t had to give it up yet but most important was the three points tonight.”

Match Stats

Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0

Blacktown City FC 2 (Jak O’Brien ‘89, Shabow ‘90+4)

Saturday 17 June 2023

Popondetta Park, Emerton

Referee: Nick Gela

Assistant Referees: Cameron Wright & Aninath Gobinath

Fourth Official: Daniel Drewwitt

Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 3. Nikola Djordjevic (2. Solomon-John Monahan-Vaiika ‘17), 4. Cooper Coskerie, 5. Jacob Esposito, 6. Jared Macerola, 10. Kotaro Katsuta, 12. Will Harvey, 15. Anthony Gallo, 20. Dylan Niski, 21. Tarek Elrich, 22. Rhett Desilva, 23. Daniel Dias (43. Abdelelah Faisal ‘73)

Unused subs: 1. Robert Fanella, 8. Nicholas Morales, 19. Junyong Jin, 27. Ivan Sunjic

Yellow cards: Harvey ‘52, Macerola ‘72

Red cards: nil

Blacktown City FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast, 4. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Grant Lynch, 7. Travis Major (17. Tatsuya Kato ‘80), 8. Jak O’Brien, 10. Mario Shabow, 12. Tyren Burnie, 16. Ben Berry, 18. Nicholas O’Brien, 19. Adam Berry, 21. Charles Mendy (22. Carlos De Oliveira ‘67)

Unused subs: 27. Shayden Sampow, 30. Jacob Fernandez, 34. Shoma Nakagawa, 42. Owen Henderson

Yellow cards: Nicholas O’Brien ‘40, Shabow ‘50

Red cards: nil

Player Ratings:

3: Jak O’Brien (BFC)

2: Grant Lynch (BFC)

1: Tarek Elrich (MDTR)

By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)

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