It might just be that the Demons ? tipped by many to have been languishing near the bottom of the table this season ? will have the last laugh as they slowly build momentum and perhaps make a shock push for finals football.
A series of defensive lapses from the home side might have allowed the visitors a way back into the match had they been more clinical, perhaps stirring memories of the Demons? dramatic 3-3 draw against Manly United last weekend.
It was then that Blacktown seemed to be heading for victory after an impressive display, but United were allowed to claw their way back into the game from 3-1 down, Josh Sama grabbing a last minute equaliser.
Thankfully for Schembri, stellar performances from Akwasi Agyei, Chris Bedzo and Joel Chianese were enough to bring an end product to a composed display by the home-side, though Wollongong competed well throughout.
Under the guidance of technical director Glenn Fontana, the visitors began brightly but conceded a penalty after Agyei was brought down by Alfredo Esteves following a characteristic darting run into the penalty-area.
Ante Deur stepped up and crashed the ball into the top left-hand corner of the net, leaving goalkeeper Alex Augusto with no chance and giving his side a 19? minute lead.
Chianese had a wonderful chance to extend Blacktown?s lead just eight minutes later after the ball was cushioned into his path in the area, though his weak shot was easily saved by the ?keeper, before striker Chris Bedzo similarly wasted a close-range chance after Agyei cut inside his man brilliantly at the by-line before crossing.
Wollongong then had a chance of their own just before the end of the half, captain Steve Hayes curling a free-kick into the area from where an unmarked Brendan Kearns missed a wonderful chance to head home, failing to direct his effort on goal from barely six-yards out.
Hayes himself missed a clear chance to equalise moments later, slipped into the penalty-area after being left unmarked by a flat Blacktown back-line but only Abel to slide his effort into the legs of the advancing Michael Herbet.
Only two minutes had passed in the second-half when Chris Bedzo was gifted another chance to double his side?s lead; Joel Chianese released down the right flank by Agyei before appearing to mistime his square ball into the area.
The Wollongong defence failed to clear though and the ball bobbled through to Bedzo, who blasted over the crossbar from point-blank range.
It was a typically industrious display by Blacktown?s number 8 though and he set about trying to rectify his two misses, receiving the ball with his back to goal after some cultured play by Nick Sama before turning positively and seeing his low effort tipped past the left upright by Augusto.
Fontana?s decision to bring on Balla Conde on 51? minutes almost back-fired spectacularly when the midfielder?s first involvement was to clear the ball into his own man, allowing it to drop inside the penalty-area for Sama, who sent a weak side-footed volley trickling past the post.
A growing list of missed chances perhaps added an element of anxiety and susceptibility to Blacktown?s defence and the home team were almost punished by Ilija Prenzoski.
The Wollongong man somehow found himself alone with Herbet after another lapse in concentration by the Demons defence and from a position where he should have scored, managed to draw a brilliant save from the goalkeeper.
From the rebound, Hayes was first to react, clipping the ball to the back post where unmarked substitute Semet Kaynak volleyed acrobatically wide of the top corner.
Ken Schembri might have earlier been excused for taking off a wasteful Chris Bedzo but his persistence with the striker paid dividends on 76? minutes when the target man finally doubled his side?s advantage.
Having instead chosen to sacrifice the slightly more creative Nick Sama instead, the choice was vindicated by Bedzo, who crashed a stunning strike into the roof of the net whilst off balance from outside the area.
Even then though, Blacktown threatened to self-implode at the back and gift Wollongong a way back into the match, though the three points were secured by substitute Ray Miller with only two minutes of the match remaining.
The outstanding Agyei made use of an overlap in the final third, spreading the ball across to Miller, who from inside the area took a touch and showed tremendous composure to curl an effort past the advancing Augusto.
Blacktown boss Ken Schembri after the match suggested that his side?s three-match unbeaten run is a reflection of the quality within the Demons squad ? and has refused to rule out what would be a shock push for a finals place:
?It was a composed performance I think ? we tried to learn a lot out of last week?s irrational behaviour I suppose.
?Early on, to be fair to Wollongong, they had a crack and came after us and after half-time they came at us again ? we spoke about being patient and waiting and in the end it was comfortAbel.
?It was a game we had to win, we won and it puts us back in the pack a little bit but we need to continue to improve if we are to be a force.?
On the quality of his players:
?The A-League clubs are all over us to take all our kids; we speak before about the blend of experience and giving the youngster a go.
?Chianese is having a great season; at the beginning of the year he was going to be in the 20s but the bottom line is he?s taken his shirt and not handed it back!
?Miller has done well, we had to rest and educate him about a few things but I?m pretty happy about them.?
On the finals push:
?I said that [we could qualify for the finals] at the beginning of the year and everyone laughed at me.
?I still think we are contenders for the top five ? I?m very clear on that.
?This team has a long way to go, we can?t get carried away.?
Meanwhile, Wollongong defender Daniel Abel reflected on what has been a difficult season:
?I think we had our opportunities and we?ve got to finish them if the game is to change.
?At 1-0 we had three or four opportunities and if we finished them the game would have been completely different ? we just need to be a little bit more composed.
?We have a good bunch of boys and we all stick together very well ? it is a low, as everybody knows playing in a losing team isn?t easy ? but we?re just going to have to battle and try to come out of it.
?It is very difficult because there are high expectations off the back of a Premiership.?
Blacktown City Demons 3 (Ante Deur 19?, Chris Bedzo 74?, Ray Miller 88?)
Wollongong Community FC 0
Saturday 9th, May, 2009
Gabbie Stadium, Blacktown
Blacktown City Demons: 1.Michael HERBET; 2.Tyler SIMPSON (19.Harrison MARSH 74?), 3.Paul KARBON, 5.Daniel WILKINSON, 6.Luke CASSERLY, 8.Chris BEDZO, 9.Kain RASTALL, 11.Nick SAMA (15.Ray MILLER 68?), 16.Ante DEUR, 17.Joel CHIANESE, 18.Agyei AKWASI
Substitutes Not Used: 14.Nick FITZGERALD, 40.Brody CRANE, 12.Brendan MARONEY
Yellow Cards: Simpson 49?, Rastall 65?
Red Cards: Nil
Wollongong Community FC: 1.Alex AUGUSTO, 4.Alfredo ESTEVES, 5.Dave ABEL, 6.Ilija PRENZOSKI, 9.Steve HAYES, 12.Brendan KEARNS, 13.Ben BRONNEBERG (8.Samet KAYNAK 53?), 15.Jimmy LAWRENCE (Balla CONDE 53?), 16.Aden WADE, 17.Chris NATHANIEL, 18.Steve DIMITRIEVSKII (2.Kieran DEANE 81?)
Substitutes Not Used: Matteo BRANDALISE
Yellow Cards: Kearns (26?), Kaynak (61?)
Red Cards: Nil
3 ? Akwasi Agyei (BCD)
2 ? Chris Bedzo (BCD)
1 ? Joel Chianese (BCD)
-By Chris Paraskevas