AFTER washouts disrupted last weekend’s fixtures, round sixteen of the Grade 20s competition looks set to be played out in full over the weekend, with three matches on both Saturday and Sunday.
This week’s match of the round sees Rockdale City Suns host sixth-placed Sydney Olympic, with both sides coming into the clash rested after their round fifteen matches were washed out.
Match of the Round
Rockdale City Suns FC v Sydney Olympic FC, Sunday 3pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Both Rockdale City Suns and Sydney Olympic had their matches washed out last weekend, against Marconi Stallions and APIA Leichhardt respectively, setting up an interesting match on Sunday afternoon at Ilinden Sports Centre, with both sides’ rested and eager for points as the season moves closer to finals.
Second-to-last-placed Rockdale won just their second match of the season in the week before their washout, a 1-0 victory over Manly United, and earned a 2-2 draw with Olympic at Belmore Sports Ground earlier in the year. Olympic’s form in the last few weeks has particularly impressive after suffering consecutive losses in late May, with seven points from their last three matches to move up to sixth place on the ladder.
Parramatta FC v Sydney United 58 FC, 3.30pm at Melita Stadium
Coming into round sixteen in eighth place on the table, Parramatta currently sit closer on points to Bonnyrigg at the bottom than to Marconi at the top, though that could change should they manage to beat Sydney United 58 at Melita Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Parramatta would move within three points of United with a win, though the visitors are no easy opposition; unbeaten since April 12.
Both of United’s defeats this season have come at home, and they have won four and drawn two of their six matches away from Sydney United Sports Centre in 2015 – their most recent success on the road coming in the form of a 3-2 win against South Coast Wolves last week at Win Stadium. Parramatta suffered defeat to Sutherland Sharks last week, and remain winless since mid-May.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC v Sutherland Sharks FC, 5.30pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg White Eagles welcome Sutherland Sharks to Bonnyrigg Sports Club on Saturday afternoon, a week after their 3-1 loss to Blacktown City.
Despite the final scoreline, Bonnyrigg were impressive in attack and largely dominated the first half of the match, though a failure to capitalise on their opportunities allowed a sharp Blacktown side back into the game after the break. Bonnyrigg coach Steve Sigmund will be hoping for better finishing from his strikers against second-placed Sutherland Sharks, fresh from a 3-1 win over Parramatta FC; their third win in four games.
Sutherland ran out 3-0 winners when Bonnyrigg travelled to Seymour Shaw in round five, with goals from Daniel Loe, Patrick O’Shea and Jeremy Cox.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC v Blacktown City FC, 5.30pm at Lambert Park
With their match away to Sydney Olympic washed out last weekend, APIA Leichhardt Tigers will be well-rested for the visit of Blacktown City FC, the most prolific side in the Grade 20s competition with 43 goals in 14 games.
Three of these 43 came in last week’s defeat of Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Lilys Football Centre, from regular scorers Sam Perre and Juan Zapata. Blacktown’s opponents on Saturday afternoon, APIA, earned their last point in the last week of May in a 2-2 draw with Rockdale City Suns, and have not won since round 10, a run of form which has seen the Tigers slip to ninth on the competition ladder.
Manly United FC v Marconi Stallions, 1pm at Cromer Park
After consecutive losses to Rockdale City Suns and Blacktown Spartans over the last two weeks, Manly United will be desperate for a win over table-topping Marconi Stallions to help arrest their slide down the table.
Where wins in those matches might have seen Manly pushing to catch Blacktown City, Sutherland Sharks and Marconi above them at the league summit, they now face a battle to stay in the top half of the table, having fallen to fifth place coming into round sixteen.
Marconi, meanwhile, are unbeaten since their 5-1 defeat to Sydney United 58 at Marconi Stadium in round 10, having won three of their past four games. The Stallions’ match against Rockdale City Suns was washed out last weekend.
South Coast Wolves FC v Blacktown Spartans FC, 1pm at Win Stadium
South Coast Wolves were undoubtedly the Grade 20s form side through April, with five wins in five matches seeing them rise as third on the ladder.
Now, ahead of the visit of Blacktown Spartans, they sit in seventh, having failed to pick up a single point since May 10 and on a run of six straight defeats.
The Wolves will attempt to revive their finals hopes with a win over the tenth-placed Spartans, who recorded an unlikely 3-1 victory over Manly United last weekend for their third win in five games, with Domenic Dileo, Aaron White and Sallu Kamara all on the scoresheet.
– By Max Grieve, PS4 National Premier Leagues Grade 20s Reporter