Blacktown City Demons? ? who sit lonesome on the bottom of the ladder ? left Sydney United Sports Centre disappointed with a result that did not reflect their efforts on the night.
A dominant first-half display, followed up by a not-so dominating second-half, saw an under-strength Demons? line-up play above themselves and trouble the home-side for large spells throughout the match.
Demons? boss Ken Schembri had to make-do with an endless list of unavailable players, including important ?first-teamers? Matthew Pressello, Brian Vanega, Bruno Salas, Paul Karbon and Adam Biddle.
Despite the player-shortage, the Demons started the match the stronger of the two sides. Jordan Simpson was brought down on the edge of the penalty-area following some good interchanges with Leo Carle and Chris Bedzo, though the former A-League player was fouled by Petar Markovic.
Leo Carle?s resulting free-kick failed to challenge Sydney United shot-stopper Vedran Janjetovic.
Graham Forbes was next to try his luck in the attacking third for the Demons, though his long-range effort following Leo Carle?s good holding-up of possession finished well-wide of the target.
Sydney United?s first brush with a goal-scoring opportunity arrived in the 9? minute following some poor possessional play by the Demons in defence. Vidaic picked the ball up on the edge of the area ? his first touch made some room for a shot off his left foot ? though the ?off-balance? effort finished over the cross-bar.
Ken Chun on the right-flank caused concern for the home-side with his speedy ventures down the flank. In the 12? minute, the right-midfielder delivered a low cross into the path of Jordan Simpson in the middle of the penalty area ? his effort was sky-rocketed over the cross-bar.
Despite Blacktown City Demons? early dominance, Sydney United slowly got into the match via reliable wingers Markovic and Chris Boyle.
Andrija Petkovic ? fielded in the centre of midfield ? was eager to get involved in proceedings, and the 19-year-old played his part in the episode leading-up to Sydney United?s opener.
Ben Vidaic was fouled on the edge of the penalty area following a swift counter-attack by Sydney United – Graham Forbes, the culprit who committed the foul, was lucky to escape the incident without caution.
Luka Glavas stepped-up and hit a low swerving right-footed effort around the Blacktown City wall and past the outstretched arm of Ivan Necevski ? the Demons? shot-stopper would need to take some responsibility for the goal conceded, as it was on the side of the goal covered by the big number 1.
Blacktown City didn?t lose heart despite the goal coming against the run of play, Jordan Simpson was again the provider moments later when he released Leo Carle through on goal, the younger brother of Socceroo Nick Carle failed to make the ball stick to his feet though.
An impressive all-round showing by Blacktown City’s Jessie Pinto was a huge positive for the Demons as the visitors continued their dominance of possession in the middle of the park. Pinto was in great touch, constantly providing his front-men with assists around the penalty-area.
Despite the dominance, a final counter-attack by the Demons ? initiated by Pinto in the 44? minute ? failed to find a goal before the break. Pinto weaved his way past three opponents, before drilling a left-footed effort that only just finished wide of the post.
The second-half brought about a much improved Sydney United side, the Reds going close to doubling their lead in the 47? minute.
The speedy Chris Boyle found some space on the left-flank before playing the ball into the penalty-area, the floated effort failed to pick out the overlapping Ben Vidaic at the back post.
Ivan Petkovic?s introduction of Chris De Soares ? who replaced Andrija Petkovic ? almost brought about one of the goals of the season with the midfielder?s first touch.
Ben Vidaic was through on goal moments earlier after a defensive mix-up by the Demons, his first touch took him away from goal, though Necevski managed to get back and divert the ball out for a corner.
The resulting corner was cleared by the defence into the path of De Soares who ? from outside of the penalty-area ? unleashed a venomous volley that required an exceptional finger-tip save by Necevski, denying the Reds substitute.
De Soares was again in the thick of the action in the 77? minute when he showed his dribbling skills with a magical run past three defenders before having his goal-bound effort from close-range blocked by the defence.
Sydney United consolidated the win with another free-kick in the 84? minute. Defender Josip Moric hit a swerving left-footed effort around the wall from the edge of the penalty-area ? Demons? goalkeeper Necevski was put off by a slight deflection from one of the Blacktown City players in the wall.
Despite not performing to the best of their ability, Sydney United boss was very happy with the final result:
?I am very happy to get three-points tonight. It was a very tough match and Blacktown City is a very strong side, even though they are coming last on the ladder.
?We knew before the match it would be difficult with the very cold conditions, though I was happy that we got the win.
?The first-half was dominated more by Blacktown City, but I thought we did improve very much in the second-half and we dominated the match from that point.
?After losing against Sydney Olympic last week we need to win tonight and it keeps the pressure on the teams above us.?
Blacktown City Demons? boss Ken Schembri remained pleased with his players? efforts, despite the disappointment of failing to take more from a match where his side dominated for large spells:
?It is disappointing ? the result ? most definitely as I thought we could have taken something more from this match.
?I am extremely proud of the effort of my players; especially the young boys who stepped up and I cannot ask anything more of anyone for the effort the team put in.
?We are struggling with results this season, and in-particular we have so many players out with injury which does not make our task any easier.
?So many matches we have played this season, our opponents have asked us after the match ?how is it possible that we are at the bottom of the table?? ? again tonight I thought we did well and many would ask this same question again.?
Sydney United 2 (Luka Glavas 20?, Josip Moric 84?)
Blacktown City Demons 0
Venue: Sydney United Sports Centre
Referee: Jonathon Streater
Assistant Referees: Stephen Lucas, C Greenshaw
Crowd: Approx. 400.
Sydney United: 30.Vedran Janjetovic; 3. Joe Moric, 6. Joe Vrkic, 5. Damon Collina, 4. Milan Bosnar, 14. Petar Markovic, 15. Chris Boyle (7. Todd Brodie 74?), 10. Mark Robinson, 18. Andrija Petkovic (9. Chris De Soares 60?), 13. Ben Vidaic (37. Dennis Cutura 84?), 11. Luke Glavas
Substitutes Not Used: 40. Ricky Perinich, 20. Steve Minovski
Yellow Cards: Mark Robinson 30?, Ben Vidaic 43?, Chris De Soares 75?
Red Cards: Nil
Blacktown City Demons: 1. Ivan Necevski; 4. Daniel Wilkinson (54. Luka Dukic90?), 6. Ken Chun, 7. Tyler Simpson, 8. Chris Bedzo (24. Gavin Forbes 70?), 25. Jordan Simpson, 13. Ben Ellis, 29. Matthew Lewis, 10. Leo Carle (28. Luke Austin), 18. Jessie Pinto, 17. Graham Forbes,
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Matthew Nemes, 19. Nick Fitzgerald
Yellow Cards: Daniel Wilkinson 21?
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Jessie Pinto (BCD)
2 ? Luka Glavas (SU)
1 ? Josip Moric (SU)
-By Joseph Carlucci