NPL Wrap: Clinical Wanderers defeat Blacktown City

Our NPL NSW side extended their lead at the top of the table to seven points after a clinical 3-0 victory over Blacktown City at Wanderers Football Park.

Nathaneal Blair and Aydan Hammond were the leading lights in the absence of Zac Sapsford and Marcus Younis, with Blair bagging a double to take his season tally to 12, whilst Hammond scored with a wonderful solo effort and put in an all-round brilliant attacking performance.

Blair gave the Red and Black the lead after just 13 minutes when he started and finished a slick counter-attacking move; he laid the ball off to Adam Bugarija, and then raced forward to get on the end of his strike partner’s through ball before lifting the ball over Tristan Prendergast and into the Blacktown goal.

Hammond would double the lead in similar fashion as he broke beyond the halfway line and managed to stay on his feet despite a strong challenge from Adam Berry, he then cut inside and slammed the ball low and hard into the bottom corner despite being surrounded by defenders.

NPL NSW Men’s First Grade, Round 11, Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Blacktown City FC at Wanderers Football Park on Sunday 21 April 2024 3:00 PM

Blair had the chance to make it three from the penalty spot after Bugarija was fouled in the box, and the man of the moment made no mistake as he calmly dispatched the spot kick to give the Wanderers a three goal lead at the break.

The second half was a more clunky affair punctuated by red cards for both teams; the first came when Blacktown’s Martin Fernandez committed a sliding challenge on Doni Grdic, with the referee upgrading the card from yellow to red after consultation with his assistant.

The Wanderers’ numerical superiority only lasted 13 minutes as Anthony Pantazopoulos also received a straight red card after the referee adjudged him to commit an offence against Mitch Mallia.

Blacktown attacked strongly in the second half, and Taiga Harper pulled off a couple of key saves to help give the Wanderers a third clean sheet of the season.