Blacktown City managed their third consecutive victory with a dominant 3-1 win over Premiership chasing Marconi Stallions at Landen Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Blacktown’s golden boy Travis Major was the first to hit the net, followed by grant Lynch before the half time break.

Substitute Carlos De Oliviera took the hosts’ lead to three in the second stanza before visiting captain Marko Jesic salvaged a consolation goal for the Stallions.

Blacktown’s organisation and hunger proved too strong on Sunday, dampening Marconi’s premiership hopes as the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition heads into the crucial stages.

Hirokai Aoyama could have set the game alight early as he created a golden opportunity against his former club in the 4th minute, however his effort slid wide of the sticks.

Major looked poised to open the scoring in the 14th minute as he sent a header towards the goal from close range but Marconi ‘keeper James Hilton was quick to react and collect.

Just minutes later Major fired from range to get the first goal of the match, after being given plenty of space in the midfield.

While Hilton dove into action to attempt to save, Major’s ball had too much power and saw the hosts with the lead just 17 minutes into the match.

Major almost had a double from point-blank range in the 25th minute but his effort was just off-target while lineswoman Emma Kocbek raised her flag for offside.

Marconi finally made some magic happen in the 28th minute as new signing Matthew Hatch combined with Giorgio Speranza to give Kyle Cimenti the perfect opportunity in front of goal.

While Cimenti was able to finish clinically, he was waiting for the ball from an offside position and linesman Mayson Griffith was quick to raise his flag.

The hosts gave their fans more to cheer about in the 39th minute as they doubled their lead, this time through defender Lynch.

Major managed to collect the ball near the goal line and flicked the ball back into a central position with Hilton bounding forward in an attempt to collect but as Charles Mendy made contact Hilton fell to the ground, leaving the ball live in an incredibly dangerous position.

Experienced defender Lynch managed to control the ball and safely pass it into the netting to bring Blacktown’s lead to two.

Major left the field in the 52nd minute after a superb first half but the hosts didn’t falter without him as De Oliviera settled right into his spot, scoring just minutes after taking to the field.

Captain Mario Shabow manoeuvred through Marconi players after receiving the ball from De Oliviera, with the two then both following the ball in front of goal as Hilton rushed out to defend.

De Oliviera got the last touch to take the hosts to three in the 55th minute.

Marconi were able to salvage something in the 59th minute as Hatch cut the ball to captain Jesic in front of goal, who tapped it in from close range.

Jak O’Brien looked for a fourth for Blacktown in the 67th minute, but his effort skewed right of the goal.

As Marconi continued to mount pressure and try to climb out of their two-goal deficit, the hosts used their defensive strength to limit their chances in front of goal.

A free throw gave the Stallions a chance in the 73rd minute, with defender Nathan Millgate guiding a header to Jordan Swibel in front of goal, but the attacker couldn’t finish the attempt.

Millgate found himself with his own chance moments later, but his shot skewed right of the sticks.

The visitors kept searching for another but couldn’t get through the strong Blacktown defence, leaving the game to finish 3-1 to the hosts.

Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden was pleased his team was able to come out of the battle on top.

“We know what to expect with them and they’re always pretty good games of footy, very hotly contested,” Crittenden explained.

“I don’t think it was a great spectacle, but I felt that we probably won the battle and took our chances today which we haven’t been doing well enough.

“We’ve been creating a lot of chances on goal that we probably haven’t really been taking.

“Trav [Major] started off with a bomb, but we got ourselves into some dangerous areas.

“I thought we kept enough position to probably deserve to take the three points, but again, it was a tough battle and one that we got stuck into and I couldn’t be any prouder of the boys.”

While the premiership race is narrowing as the season comes to the final stages, Crittenden explained that there’s still plenty to play for.

“It’s not over yet, you put 6, 7, 8 games together and a couple of things go wrong at the top end – you never know what might happen,” he said.

“That’s what we spoke about during the week, at the end of the day, yes, it’s going to be very tough.

“We’ve done it before, we’ve won 10 games unbeaten, so we’ll just try and go out there every week.

“Even if we can’t win the league, we’ll still get in and try to cause havoc for everybody else.”

The loss for the Stallions has left the gate open for current table toppers APIA Leichhardt who have gone three points clear at the top with a game in hand against the Mt Druitt Town Rangers.

Match Stats

Blacktown City FC 3 (Major 17’, Lynch 39’, De Oliviera 55’)

Marconi Stallions FC 1 (Jesic 59’)

Sunday 25th June, 2023

Landen Stadium, Seven Hills

Referee: Adrian Arndt

Assistant Referees: Emma Kocbek and Mayson Griffith

Fourth Official: Charbel Geha

Blacktown City FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast, 4. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Grant Lynch, 7. Travis Major (22. Carlos De Oliviera 52’), 8. Jak O’Brien, 10. Mario Shabow, 12. Tyren Burnie, 15. Ignacio Palacios Corral, 16. Ben Berry. 19. Adam Berry, 21. Charles Mendy (9. Reuben Awaritefe 66’)

Substitutes Not Used: 30. Jacob Fernandez, 31. Blair Smith, 42. Owen Henderson, 88. Massimo Leoncino

Yellow Cards: Corral 34’, Shabow 76’, Ben Berry 88’

Red Cards: Nil

Marconi Stallions FC: 24. James Hilton, 2. Nathan Millgate, 3. Giorgio Speranza, 5. Liam McGing (7. Chris Hatfield 62’), 8. Hirokai Aoyama, 9. Jordan Swibel, 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Daniel Bouman (17. Martin Fernandez 78’), 19. Kyle Cimenti, 22. Taylor McDonald, 39. Matthew Hatch (13. Aleksandar Duricic 62’)

Substitutes Not Used: 12. Samuel Gulisano, 20. Jack Gibson, 23. Brandon Vella

Yellow Cards: McGing 49’, Hatfield 90’

Red Cards: Nil

Player Ratings

3 – Grant Lynch (BC)

2 – Mario Shabow (BC)

1 – Travis Major (BC)

-By Madeline Riley

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