Blacktown City take points after magnificent Tigers comeback

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Blacktown City came to Lambert Park and conquered only in the first half against APIA Leichhardt Tigers.

It appeared to be all but over after the first stanza of play; however, that’s until the Tigers came ever so close to clawing back all three goals.

Credit: Nick Guoth

It was definitely the “game of two halves” even though that is a well use cliché – Blacktown were clearly the better side in the first half, and APIA Leichhardt dominated the second.

After the game the very pleasant Blacktown City coach Mark Crittenden certainly admitted that his young team gave him an almighty fright in the second half.

“I thought our first half was superb, especially with our second goal through Micky Simonovic,” he said.

“Our average age is about 21 which for this league is very tough. We have a few injuries at the moment, but we are up there in the five, so I am reasonably happy with where we are at.”

Mitchell Duke scored in the 8th minute after receiving a nice ball from Luke Roodenburg which split the entire APIA defence. When he found himself with only goalkeeper Jose Bello Amigo to beat, he calmly slotted home to open the scoring.

APIA Leichhardt tried to strike back shortly afterwards with a powerful shot from Nick Rizzo from some distance out, but the goalkeeper Simon Jaeger managed to turn it away.

In the 25th minute Blacktown City scored again with an almighty goal from Milorad Simonovic that beat everyone before finishing in the back of the net.

Bello-Amigo didn’t stand a chance such was the force of the shot and the flight of the ball.

In the 31st minute Simonovic made it three and, once again, he was beautifully set up by Ray Miller who played a major part also in the previous goal scored by Simonovic a few minutes earlier.

Late in the first half Simonovic could have scored his third, but was slightly off target from reasonably close range with his shot.

After a confident half of football from Blacktown City, both sides entered the sheds for the break.

The entrance of Robert Younis after the interval certainly changed things for APIA early in the second half.

An early free-kick from the former Adelaide United player forced Jaeger into a diving save and then, after a very good ball from David D’Apuzzo, Younis shot on the turn narrowly missing the goal.

In the 55th minute Michael West found Younis who made enough space for himself between two defenders before firing a shot that ended up in the back of the net. It was APIA’s first goal back.

In the 67th minute the Tigers came right back into the game when a delicate chip cross from Younis found Rizzo unmarked and the former Crystal Palace player headed home without failure from close range.

An accurate cross from David D’Apuzzo minutes later found Chris James who headed just wide and, at this stage at least, it appeared that APIA were going to equalise.

However, Blacktown City, who can never be written off, almost made it four themselves.
Miller found Roodenburg and against his former club he missed the intended target with his shot.

Late in the game Blacktown City could well have scored again when Roodenburg set up replacement Adam Jenner but he fired into the side netting.

After the game APIA Leichhardt’s acting captain Michael West spoke on behalf of his side especially about the turnaround after halftime.

“It was a slow start but we came out a different side in the second half,” he said.

“Robbie Younis came on and did really well, and gave us a lot up front which we were probably missing in the first half.

“Consistency has been a bit of a problem for us this year and we really need to focus on being disciplined for the whole 90 minutes.”

A.P.I.A. LEICHHARDT 2
(Younis 55’, Rizzo 67’)
BLACKTOWN CITY FC 3
(Duke 8’, Simonovic 25’ and 31’)

A.P.I.A. LEICHHARDT TIGERS: 1. Jose Bello-Amigo, 2. Mark Byrnes, 4. Cole Tinkler, 5. Michael West, 6. Marton Vass, 7. Stephen Kayes (3. John Kelso 46’), 13. David D’Apuzzo, 15. Adam D’Apuzzo, 11. Nicola Rizzo (10. Franco Parisi 75’), 17. Wandi Jajaw (9. Robbie Younis 46’), 23. Chris James

BLACKTOWN CITY FC: 1. Simon Jaeger, 3. Mitchell Duke (17. Adam Jenner 74’), 4. Travis Major (18. Bruno Privato 79’), 5. Patrick Gatt, 6. Matthew Pressello, 8. Matthew Brennan, 7. Luke Roodenburg, 13. Matthew Lewis, 11. Milorad Simonovic, 15. Ray Miller (10. Daniel Bragg 86’), 16. Luke Austin.

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