ROUND thirteen of the Grade 20s competition will be played out over the weekend, with one match late on Saturday afternoon and five matches on Sunday this week.
The match of the round has eight-placed Parramatta FC travelling to Belmore Sports Ground to take on seventh-placed Sydney Olympic, with both sides scrapping for a spot in the top four as the competition ladder begins to stretch.
Match of the Round
Sydney Olympic v Parramatta FC, Sunday 3pm at Belmore Sports Ground
While Parramatta FC ground out a 1-1 draw at Marconi Stallions last weekend, Sydney Olympic, their opponents on Sunday afternoon, scored three at Win Stadium to earn a 3-1 win over South Coast Wolves, their first victory since the beginning of May.
James Andrew and brother Oliver and Jack Green scored for the visitors, the win taking them level with Wolves on 17 points, just one outside the top four.
Parramatta sit two behind on 15, and could leapfrog Olympic and Wolves into 5th if they win on Sunday, and other results go their way.
Sutherland Sharks FC v Sydney United 58 FC, 5.30pm at WIN Stadium
The Sutherland Sharks look to have finally returned to form with a 2-1 win over Blacktown Spartans last week, after riding through a bumpy patch earlier in the month when they picked up only four points in as many matches.
Now, with seven points from their last three, Sutherland have regained their place at the top of the table – albeit on goal difference with Marconi trailing on goals conceded – and this week face Sydney United 58 at Win Stadium; the visitors arriving on the back of a 1-1 draw to Blacktown City FC last weekend.
With one of the competition’s top scorers in Charles Lokolingoy back after time with the first team, Sutherland will be hoping for a win over fourth-placed United to hold Marconi off in second.
Marconi Stallions v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC, 5:30pm at Marconi Stadium
Marconi remain second behind Sutherland Sharks at the top of the 20s grade competition ladder – if only on goal difference – and will look to keep up the pressure when they take on Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC on Saturday at Marconi Stadium.
Jake De Marigny scored the Stallions’ only goal at Melita Stadium last week, where they drew 1-1 with Parramatta to lose their grip on first place, while Bonnyrigg managed to pick up a point with a 2-2 draw to Manly United on Saturday. Back at home, Marconi should be confident of a comfortable win to bring them into June.
Manly United FC v APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, 1pm at Cromer Park
Both Manly United and APIA Leichhardt Tigers drew 2-2 in their round 12 matches, to Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Rockdale City Suns respectively.
Neither Bonnyrigg not Rockdale, both glued to the foot of the table, should have represented so much of a challenge to two sides with finals aspirations, and both sides will be out for a win at Cromer Park to make up for lost ground.
Jason Perez and Alessandro Colandrea scored the goals in APIA’s comeback from 2-0 down last week and will be instrumental if APIA are to pick up a result on Sunday afternoon, as will striker Lachlan Scott.
Rockdale City Suns FC v Blacktown Spartans FC, 1pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale earned an unlikely point on the road last weekend at Lambert Park against APIA, but will have been disappointed with the result regardless, having gone up 2-0 before halftime only to lose their lead within a matter of minutes in the second half.
Their opponents on Sunday, Blacktown Spartans, have enjoyed an inconsistent month, winning and losing in alternate weeks over the last five rounds – including a 2-1 loss to table-topping Sutherland Sharks last weekend – and will be eager to correct their slide into tenth with a win over Rockdale, who now sit only three points behind in eleventh.
Blacktown City FC v South Coast Wolves FC, 1pm at Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City’s rise up the ladder was quelled somewhat by a 1-1 draw with Parramatta FC last weekend, and they stay third heading into round 12, having previously won six of their last eight matches.
City took a lead into halftime thanks to Nikolas Dimitriadis, but stumbled to a draw after Parramatta equalised in the second, while South Coast Wolves, their opponents on Sunday, fell to a surprising 3-1 win at home to Sydney Olympic. Wolves’ earlier form appears to have deserted them altogether, and after a run of five consecutive wins through April, they have failed to earn a point in any of their last three games.
– By Max Grieve, PS4 National Premier Leagues Grade 20s Reporter