Wanderers youth league stars Blake Tuxford and Shayne D'Cunha star in a thrilling 6-2 Waratah Cup final
Western Sydney Wanderers- Foxtel National Youth League goal keeper Blake Tuxford and attacking ace Shayne D-Cunha starred for Blacktown City on Sunday in a comprehensive 6-2 victory over Manly United FC in the Waratah Cup final at Lambert Park in Leichhardt.
Despite the score line reading a Blacktown annihilation of Manly-s defence the match was in reality a measured encounter with Tuxford in goals proving crucial to City-s victory in a high tempo Cup final.
The intentions of Blacktown were clear from kick-off with a warning shot fired at goal with just two minutes on the clack, forcing a fantastic save from the Manly keeper.
Undeterred by the blocked shot City continued to attack and just two minutes later were rewarded for their early pressure with the opening goal on four minutes.
Manly United-s keeper Tonu Liiband knocked away an initial shot but only as far as Ryuji Miyazawa who without hesitation let loose a powerful drive that sent the ball rippling into the back of the net for Blacktown City and opened the flood gate early at Lambert Park.
Manly woken up by the early goal hit back almost immediately when a Chris Payne shot from 40 metres out gave Red & Black keeper Blake Tuxford no chance handing United the equaliser and Payne one of the goals of the season.
Attack continued to flow at both ends with Blacktown finding the crossbar on the 14th minute while at the other end Tuxford pulled off a brilliant reflex save to deny Manly their second long range goal of the night.
However setting the tone for the encounter it was City who-s pressure was to prevail just before half time as a poorly cleared corner saw Blacktown blast a shot back toward goal that ricocheted off an unaware Manly defender and into goal.
Mirroring the opening 10 minutes of the half Chris Payne then took it upon himself to try and return balance to the score firing away another shot at Blacktown-s defence, this time however Tuxford was equal to the task managing another fine save to deny Payne and send City in with a 2-1 lead at half time.
After an exhilarating first half show both teams came out for the second half eager to continue the attractive display of attacking football and it didn-t t take long for Tuxford and his teammates to rediscover their first half momentum with Zac Cairncross finding the ball off a corner and rocketing it just over the crossbar.
With Blacktown dominating early play and Tuxford barely troubled in City-s goal in the second 45 it was no surprise on the 64th minute when Blacktown grabbed their third goal with the ball neatly put to the left of Manly-s keeper and into the back of the net.
Now 3-1 down with less than half an hour to go Manly seemed to drop in intensity allowing Blacktown to keep possession and pass the ball around the park teasingly.
That dominance across the pitch was to take only four minutes to pay off for Blacktown when a fleeting run down the left side of the pitch ended with Mitch Mallia receiving a lofty cross into the box giving Tonu Liiband in goals no chance and sealing City-s fourth.
Manly did eventually get a second past a steely Tuxford who outside of Payne-s wonder shot had managed so far to snuff out any Manly attack before it could eventuate into something more serious.
The goal came as a 75th minute free kick was excellently delivered into the box allowing United to out jump City-s defence and leave Tuxford stranded with no time to pull off a characteristic reflex save, pulling Manly back 2-4.
As soon as Manly-s hopes were re-ignited City once again clawed back their three goal lead with a Blacktown shot on goal poorly dealt with allowing a follow up kick to find itself past the keeper and in for Blacktown-s fifth.
With the match surely out of reach our clever Red & Black midfielder Shayne D-Cunha was sent on for Blacktown to help finish off the match and mark the victory as one of City-s greatest.
The Young Socceroo-s presence was felt immediately with Blacktown taking the night-s goal tally to an incredible eight just two minutes after D-Cunha-s injection.
Blacktown-s sixth of the night coming as Danny Choi found himself on the end of a beautiful ball into the 18 yard box and effortlessly slotted it away without hesitation and to thunderous cheers from City-s camp.
Although on the score sheet the match seemed like a total whitewash Manly offered a lot going forward forcing several classy saves from Blake Tuxford with the exciting encounter going down as a Waratah Cup classic.