Blacktown City have made it four wins in a row in the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s with a clinical victory over Sydney Olympic at Belmore Sports Ground.

Sydney Olympic had the first meaningful shot of the match, with Roy O’Donovan latching onto a bouncing ball on the edge of the box and sharply firing a left-footed effort which went over the frame of the goal.

But within the aftermath of a corner, Blacktown City opened the scoring in the ninth minute.

A pinpoint long ball found Jak O’Brien in behind, who was free on goal.

O’Brien unselfishly squared the ball with composure to Travis Major, who dragged his effort with accuracy into the far corner to open the scoring early for the away side.

The away side set up interestingly in and out of possession, looking to create overloads and stifle Sydney Olympic’s chance creation.

When defending, they sat in a back five, which limited the influence of switches to the winger or fullback free on the other side – a key feature of the home side’s play with the ball.

Meanwhile, the three central defenders were effective in marshalling crosses to the back post, stifling the likes of Roy O’Donovan and Olympic’s shot creation.

Meanwhile, in possession, their central defender within the back three, Lachlan Campbell, would sometimes move into midfield as a defensive midfielder to create an overload to beat the press and allow the away team to progress play.

The back five became a front five in possession, which created width to allow Blacktown to spray passes wide to move the Olympic defence and create overloads from deep with the inside forwards underlapping the wing-backs.

It was the stretching of play to free up a wingback that led to Blacktown doubling their lead, seven minutes after their opener.

Lynch intercepted a crossfield pass, which opened up a pass to Major as O’Brien cut inside.

After a cleared cross, Shabow curled a pass out to Lynch on the left, who crossed into the box from almost at the byline.

The ball bobbled in the box after a touch from Charles Mendy, before O’Brien finished clinically past Christopher Parsons and into the back of the net.

A great piece of play from Campbell in the 22nd minute, saw the defender/midfielder win multiple 50 50s, before playing O’Brien in behind, with the forward seeing his shot deflected from an acute angle on the right.

However, Sydney Olympic were still showing signs of positivity, and beyond their two goals, Blacktown hadn’t had any clear-cut chances to find the back of the net.

Towards the end of the opening half, the home team found more joy in receiving the ball in between the lines, as Blacktown’s three centre-backs remained in line without the ball, allowing space between them and the midfield.

However, beyond a couple of non-threatening long distance shots, Olympic struggled to break down the deep defensive line, which blocked any attempted dribble into the goalbox, and forced shots to lack power or placement.

Despite early territorial domination from Sydney Olympic in the second half, it was the away side who found the net six minutes in to extend their lead to three.

Adam Berry swung in a cross from deep after a short corner, which found the head of Lynch.

After a headered clearance from the Olympic defence, Mendy chested the ball down on the edge of the six-yard box and thumped the ball into the back of the net.

In the 63rd minute, Blacktown attacked dangerously on transition, looking to make sure of the three points, with good holdup play from O’Brien allowing Shabow to find Lynch in behind.

The wingback struck on goal and forced a save from Christopher Parsons, before the ball was cleared out for a corner.

Five minutes later, however, Sydney Olympic found an equaliser and a way back into the back through star striker Roy O’Donovan.

Hagi Gligor – who had changed the match since coming on with his tempo controlling to see Olympic retain the ball better – played a pinpoint pass from deep in behind to O’Donovan.

The striker, despite being at a seemingly impossible angle, only needed one touch, as he wrapped his left leg around the bouncing ball and looped it over Tristan Prendergast and into the back of the net.

The away side resorted to sitting deep and playing direct on the counter following O’Donovan’s finish, rarely keeping possession and instead looking to clear the ball away from their goal.

Blacktown coach Mark Crittenden was proud of his side’s performance and the overall result.

“Our first half was good apart from the last 15 minutes where we were a little too deep, but we got the two goal advantage which is important in what is always a tough match at Belmore.

“I thought we managed the game well in the second half, we knew they’d come at us and make a couple of changes which they did.

“It was always going to be a bit of a battle but we managed the game well.

“Disappointed to concede off a long straight ball and a chip but to come to Belmore and get three points is a good day for us.”

Match Stats

Sydney Olympic FC 1 (O’Donovan 73’)

Blacktown City FC 3 (Major 9’, O’Brien 16’, Mendy 51’)

Saturday 1 July, 2023

Belmore Sports Ground

Referee: Stephan Lucas

Assistant Referees: Aaron Bloch and Alexis Johnson

Fourth Official: Charbel Geha

Sydney Olympic FC: 2. Peter Politis, 3. Michael Neill, 5. Ziggy Gordan (C), 7. William Angel (23. Jakob Cresnar 45’), 8. Sam Mcillhatton (6. Jack Simmons 45’), 9. Oliver Puflett, 10. Darcy Burgess (11. Adam Parkhouse 60’), 14. Michael Vakis (22. Fabio Ferreira 60’), 15. William Mutch (24. Hagi Gligor 65’), 20. Christopher Parsons, 99. Roy O’Donovan

Substitutes Not Used: 1. Nicholas Sorras

Yellow Cards: N/A

Red Cards: N/A

Blacktown City FC: 1. Tristan Prendergast, 4. Lachlan Campbell, 5. Grant Lynch, 7. Travis Major (22. Carlos De Oliveira 67’), 8. Jak O’Brien, 10. Mario Shabow (C) (6. Matthew Lewis 87’), 12. Tyren Burnie, 15. Ignacio Palacios Corral, 19. Adam Berry, 21. Charles Mendy (9. Reuben Awaritefe 62’)

Substitutes Not Used: 14. Caleb Jackson-Brown, 20. Cayden Henderson, 42. Owen Henderson

Yellow Cards: Burnie 65’

Red Cards: N/A

Player ratings

3 – Jak O’Brien (BC)

2 – Grant Lynch (BC)

1 – Ignacio Palacios Corral (BC)

By Jack George (@JackGeorge0004)

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