Blacktown Spartans have returned to first place, going two points clear after defeating Marconi Stallions 2-1 at Blacktown Football Park.
The game turned early when former Spartans man Brenton Rhodes brought down a goal hungry Conor Evans in the box, leaving the ref no choice but to give him his marching orders in the 15th minute.
Elsid Barkhousir stepped up to the plate and fired the penalty past the keeper giving the Spartans a well earned 1-0 lead in the 16th minute.
Another goal came in quick succession for the home sideas Evans buried from close range in the 18th minute. Barkhousir took a fantastic shot inside the box, but Marconi defence managed to just head it off the line. It fell to Evans who made no mistake.
For the Spartans, Shu Sasaki was rewarded for his determination as he pulled off a goal in the dying seconds of the match but it was too little too late. The referee allowed the goal and immediately blew full time leaving the result at 2-1.
The first shot on target in the match came for the away side in the sixth minute, but Sasaki miss-kicked his shot straight at Saliadarre.
In the ninth minute everyone was reminded of the threat Blacktown possesses on the counter and this time it was Evans feeding it through to Barkhousir, but the striker was closed down from an alert Steven Drewery.
In the 34th minute the home came centimetres away from increasing their lead, but it was Spartans top scorer Corey Biczo whose beautifully curling high ball was denied by the crossbar.
In the 41st minute the Stallions had a free kick in range, Jared Lum stood over the ball and took a strong crack but stubborn Saliadarre was not ready concede any goals and managed to just tap it over.
The keepers were continually called to action and both of them pulled off brilliant saves to keep their nets clear of the ball, including the 58th minute from James Chronopoulos and in the 69th minute from Carlos Saliadarre.
Finally as the game seemed to be over, Shu Sasaki was rewarded for his determination as he pulled off a shot in the dying seconds to half the deficit unfortunately for him and the team it was just a little too late, referee allowing the goal and immediately blowing the full time whistle leaving the result at 2-1.
Marconi coach Paul Carter was still impressed by his side despite the final result: ‘I thought the performance was good… As soon as we gave away that penalty we lost our way for two or three minutes and after that we settled down and in a lot of ways we played good football.”
Spartans coach, Ben De Haan told the team at half time to “try to keep some ball and play and keep going.”
“We did not finish off some chances and we had a very tough week as we are down to bare minimum.”
Blacktown Spartans 2 (Elsid Barkhousir 16’, Conor Evans 18' )
Marconi Stallions 1 (Shu Sasaki 90+2')
Sunday 3rd August, 2014 Blacktown Football Park, Rooty Hill
Referee: Adam Susz
Assistant Referees: Danny Horstead and Sebastian Brennan
Fourth Official: Lachlan Daniel
Blacktown Spartans: 1.Carlos Saliadarre; 2.Luke Austin (7.Phillip Makrys 46’), 5.Luka Dukic, 8.Raymond Miller, 9.Elsid Barkhousir, 10.Emmanuel Giannaros, 15.Mitchell Long, 13.Corey Biczo (18.Zachary Freeburn 86’), 16.Benjamin Tosi (6.Greg Kondek 73’), 20.Tomislav Cirjak, 39.Conor Evans
Substitutes not used: 41.Domenic Nascimben, 14.Domenic Dileo
Yellow Cards: Benjamin Tosi 40', Luke Austin 45'
Red Cards: Nil
Marconi Stallions: 22.James Chronopoulos; 2.MItchell Thompson, 4.Trent Barton, 6.Jared Lum, 17.Steven Drewery (3.Ali Haydar 79’), 18.Jake Mcging, 15.Tomislav Mijic, 23.Christopher Nunes, 5.Brenton Rhodes, 20.Shu Sasaki, 10.Milorad Simonovic (9.Marco Sama 66’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Nathan Campbell, 21.Zakeriya El-Rich, 11.Harrison Brown
Yellow Cards: Trent Barton 59’, Tomislav Mijic 92’
Red Cards: Brenton Rhodes 15'