TWO matches on Saturday and four on Sunday make up round 13 of the NPL NSW Men’s 1 competition.
Ladder leaders Blacktown City host South Coast Wolves, while second placed APIA Leichhardt Tigers face a tough looking trip to Cromer to take on Manly.
In the Match of the Round, Rockdale City Suns host Blacktown Spartans.
MATCH OF THE ROUND
Rockdale City Suns v Blacktown Spartans, 3pm Sunday, at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City have made marked improvement since Paul Reid took over from Branko Culina, however they will be bitterly disappointed to have thrown away the points against APIA Leichhardt Tigers last weekend.
The Suns held a 3-0 lead shortly before half time, but they let the Tigers back into it by conceding directly before and directly after the half time interval.
Once APIA found a third it was all one way traffic, and the final goal meant the Suns couldn’t even take a point out of the game.
There was much to like about their performance in the first 40 minutes however, and Reid will be keen to capture that spirit for the visit of Spartans.
Ben De Haan’s side went down 5-2 to Sutherland Sharks and seem to be stuck in the mire of a terrible season.
Spartans sit third from bottom and desperately need one of their senior players to step up and try and steady the ship, which is in danger of sinking after the highs of 2014.
ROUND 13 PREVIEW
Sutherland Sharks v Sydney United 58 FC, 7.30pm Saturday, at Seymour Shaw Park
Sutherland is coming off a resounding win, and Sydney United 58 the most resounding of losses.
It is only fitting then, that the two do battle on Saturday night at Seymour Shaw Park.
The Sharks 5-2 win over struggling Spartans was comprehensive and if they take that same form into this weekend’s match they will be dangerous.
Steve O’Connor’s side must beware the wounded Reds though, who will be keen to bounce back after a crushing 6-1 loss at home to ladder leaders Blacktown City last weekend.
United 58 have an embarrassment of riches in attack with Richard Cardozo, Robbie Mileski, Chris Triantis, and Panni Nikas, but they are missing the calming influence and intelligent passing of Nick Stavroulakis in midfield.
Mitchell Stamatellis’ potential return to the starting lineup could add some much needed grunt in the centre of the park.
Sydney Olympic v Parramatta FC, 5pm Sunday, at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic relinquished top spot in the past fortnight with a loss to Sydney United 58 and a draw with South Coast Wolves last weekend.
Indeed they were second best for the opening 45 minutes of last weekend’s match, and only in the second half did they start to look like scoring.
Grant Lee will want his side to return to their clinical best for the visit of Parramatta FC, where a win would keep the pressure on APIA Leichhardt Tigers, who will be at Cromer Park at the same time.
Parramatta’s uninspiring nil-all draw with Marconi Stallions last week was far from a classic, but they will give nothing less than 100 per cent effort in their pursuit of an upset at Belmore Sports Ground.
Manly United v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 3pm Sunday, at Cromer Park
Manly United is one of the competition’s most intriguing prospects.
On their day, they can beat anyone, as wins against Blacktown City and Sydney United 58 prove. But they need to strike some form of consistency if they are to take things further.
Former APIA players Brendan Cholakian, Daniel Bragg, Jamie Lobb, and Travis Oughtred will be keen to make an impression for the visit of their former club.
APIA dug themselves out of a serious hole last weekend, scoring four goals without reply to come back from 3-0 down to Rockdale City Suns and take all three points.
Blake Powell’s 16th goal of the season was the winner, and he will go toe-to-toe with another former Sydney FC hotshot, Chris Payne, in what should be an entertaining encounter.
Blacktown City v South Coast Wolves, 3pm Sunday, at Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City showed they are without doubt competition favourites with a stunning 6-1 win over Sydney United 58 at Edensor Park last weekend.
Mark Crittenden’s side never stop looking for goals, and with Patrick Antelmi, Danny Choi, Joe Gibbs, Travis Major, and the injured Christos Tomaras and Mitchell Mallia to choose from, you can’t blame them for taking that approach.
That form should have South Coast Wolves quaking in their boots, but the side will take plenty of confidence from their 1-1 draw with Sydney Olympic in Wollongong.
Wolves was actually the better side for the opening 45 minutes, but this size of the task here is daunting.
However the club will do it minus coach Nahuel Arrarte who resigned from his post on Thursday.
Marconi Stallions v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 7:30pm Saturday, at Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions will be pushing for all three points in what has been billed as a local derby as the Bonnyrigg White Eagles hit Marconi Stadium on Saturday evening.
Marconi;s coach Jeff Suzor is doing his best with what he has been given, but he is finding results difficult to come by and the once mighty Stallions sit rock bottom of the table.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles by contrast are like a heavyweight boxer, all experience and know-how as they continue to pick up points despite missing bodies through injury.
In Robbie Younis and Aaron Peterson they possess a goal threat as good as any in the competition, and they will rely on one, or both, of them to stream roll them to another win here.
– by Matthew Lopez, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Editor