Blacktown City hope for no Payne in FFA Cup

Blacktown City will be seeking to keep the NSW NPL’s leading goal-scorer, Sydney United 58 striker Chris Payne, scoreless for the third time in as many games this season when the two heavyweights from that competition meet in an FFA Cup round of 32 match on Wednesday night.


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The game will be played at Lily’s Football Centre at Seven Hills, where Sydney United suffered their only loss of the NPL season way back in round one, 3-2 against Blacktown City. Sydney United won the return clash 1-0 at their home ground.

But former Sydney FC striker Payne, who also had other A-League stints with North Queensland Fury and Newcastle Jets, did not score in either game despite having scored 16 goals overall in the NPL this season.

Blacktown coach Mark Crittenden told The World Game it wouldn‘t be just about trying to stop Payne when he got to the ball within shooting range.


“We have to minimise the amount of possession he has and restrict the amount of good, clean ball to him,” Crittenden said. “We have to congest the space around him.

“Payne is a very good finisher, a typical number nine.  He knows where the goals are and where to put himself. Good strikers seem to get in the right place at the right time and that’s definitely what he does.

“But our centre-backs, Matty Lewis and Zac Cairncross, have got a pretty good understanding of what we want to achieve and how we need to go about it.

“We had a good last training session in which we worked on and talked about what we need to do to try to win the game and we’ll go from there.

“We’ve mainly concentrated on ourselves, because we know that if we do what we do well then the opposition will have just as much cause to worry about us as we do about them.”

Sydney United lead the NPL by seven points from second-placed Blacktown City, but City are coming into this game off a strong, 3-0 home win over fourth-placed Rockdale City Suns on the weekend. Sydney United were held to a 2-2 draw at home against ninth-placed APIA Leichhardt Tigers.

“The boys were super on the weekend,” Crittenden said. “I was very happy with their performance against Rockdale, who are one of the better sides in the competition.

“We probably could’ve scored another couple of goals, but to keep them scoreless and get three was really good. We’re going into the FFA Cup game happy, but Sydney United have been on a long run without losing and you don’t do that unless you’re a very good side.

“They only had a draw with APIA on the weekend, but I’ve got no doubt that being nine points clear as they were before that match they would have had one eye on this game.

“It’s pretty hard to keep the boys from thinking about a game like this - it’s a pretty big occasion. You get through to the round of 16 and you might draw an A-League club, which is obviously a big deal, but whoever you draw you’re then only one win away from getting into the last eight.”

Crittenden said that while Blacktown City-Sydney United matches were not local derbies, the rivalry between the two clubs was big.

“It comes from the fact both teams have been so competitive and usually at the top in recent years,” he said. “So the rivalry has grown. Both really good footy teams that love to play an attacking style and the games are always good to watch.”

Blacktown City were eliminated in the round of 32 in each of the first two years of the FFA Cup and Crittenden said that had increased the club’s resolve to advance this time.

“We certainly had our chance to win each of those games, but we paid the price for 20 minutes of average football each time,” he said.

“We’ll be looking to attack. We’re a very powerful side going forward. We’ll have a good roll-up of supporters and Sydney United will have a lot of supporters coming along as well. It’ll be a big night and it should be a cracking game.”

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4 min read
Published 27 July 2016 at 2:56pm
By Greg Prichard