Blacktown Spartans have moved a step closer in this year’s IGA NSW Mens 1 Championship chase after downing Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3-2 in a Round 15 clash at Blacktown Football Park.
Billed as the match of the season - neither side let their loyal fans down.
It was the Spartans who created the first opportunity of the game when midfielder Ray Miller delivered a nice ball through to Elsid Barkhousir in the seventh minute.
Miller’s speed allowed him to draw a number of Bonnyrigg defenders before linking with Barkhousir on the right front edge of the box.
Barkhousir took a touch to get in behind the defenders but his shot sprayed high over the bar and failed to trouble Bonnyrigg keeper Matthew Nash.
Bonnyrigg began to settle into the game and looked deadly on a number of occasions as their trademark counterattacks come to the forefront, and it was a turnover by the Spartans in the opposition’s half that proved to be the most lethal of all.
Bonnyrigg’s David Vrankovic crossed from out on the right to find the head of Alex Canak who nudged it neatly to star forward Robbie Younis who made no mistake as he kicked it past Spartans keeper Carlos Saliadarre to open the scoring for the visitors in the 27th minute.
The goal to Bonnyrigg seemed to take the wind out of the Spartans’ sail as the momentum changed in favour of the visiting side.
Aaron Peterson could have doubled the lead in the 36th minute when his shot on goal went painstakingly wide and had the alarm bells ringing for the Rooty Hill-based side.
It didn’t take long for Peterson to make amends for his missed shot when he found the back of the net in the 39th minute after some nice lead up work from Vrankovic again out on the right as he linked up with forward Tynan Diaz deep in the Spartans half.
Diaz slotted a low cross to find Peterson, who had managed to get in behind his defender, where the livewire forward drilled it past Saliadarre to forge a two goal lead.
The Spartans needed to be the next to score and they hit back in fine fashion just 60 seconds later in the 40’ minute when Corey Biczo was delivered a nice ball before he flicked it on to Elsid Barkhousir who volleyed it past Bonnyrigg keeper Matthew Nash to open his side’s account.
A halftime score line of 2-1 to the visitors typified the top of the table clash that had been expected from both teams and kept all at the ground glued to the edge of their seats.
In the second half, the Spartans quickly turned the 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 advantage following two quick goals.
The Spartans firstly drew level in the 49th minute when a Makrys shot from outside the box was deflected to an awaiting David Gullo out on the right who powered home a left-foot rocket.
Another goal just five minutes later had the home side in front for the first time in the epic clash when a counterattack by Miller from well inside his own half where he found plenty of room to move down the middle.
Miller’s speed left the Bonnyrigg defenders in his wake and he capped off the great run with a perfect pass to link up with Corey Biczo on the angle who drove it into the back of the net as the Spartans took a 3-2 lead in the 54’ minute.
The entertainment continued throughout much of the second-half and at a frantic pace that was certainly fitting of the top of the table billing as both sides provided end-to-end excitement.
Bonnyrigg’s best chance of the half to level the scores came in the 82’ minute from a free-kick from out of the left.
A neatly delivered ball to the edge of the six-yard box had players from both sides leaping and scrambling, but the ball fell perfectly for an awaiting Canak whose volley-shot at point-blank range was only negated by the brilliant reflexes of Saliadarre who deflected it up over the bar and out of harm’s way.
However, it was the Spartans who held on for the gutsy win in a thoroughly entertaining clash that surely has both teams destined to meet again in the not-too-distant semi-finals series.
The Spartans head south along the M7 next Sunday as they take on Sydney United 58 FC at Sydney United Sports Centre.