BLACKTOWN City took a big step towards the Premiership by taking a scarcely deserved point in the blockbuster Match of the Round against APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
The results leaves Blacktown City three points clear at the top, while Bonnyrigg White Eagles are only three points behind APIA after their win against Sutherland.
Blacktown Spartans are now the nearest challengers to a top five position, sitting three points in arrears of Sydney United 58 FC.
ROUND 16 REVIEW
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1-1 Blacktown City FC, at Lambert Park
The top two teams came together in the Match of the Round at Lambert Park, you would be forgiven for wondering which was which.
The first half was even enough, but fired up APIA battered Blacktown City from pillar to post in the second 45′ minutes and only a super human performance by Blacktown City goalkeeper Nenad Vekic saw his team salvage a point.
Blacktown City took the lead in the first half when Mitchell Mallia used his pace to escape a clutch of APIA defenders before finishing past Ryan Norval.
APIA hit back in the second half as the shots rained down on the Blacktown City goal, with Corey Biczo eventually finding the back of the net after a wonderful run beat three defenders. His finish was accurate, flying past Vekic.
The Blacktown City keeper had the last laugh though, as he made save after save after save, as his side clung on for a point.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3-2 Sutherland Sharks, at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
Bonnyrigg White Eagles continue to march on, and they recovered from an early setback to win against Sutherland Sharks, but the odd goal in five.
Steve Hayes gave Sutherland the lead with barely 120" seconds on the clock, but from there Bonnyrigg set about winning back the points.
Tynan Diaz levelled the score just before half time, and Ray Miller made it 2-1 only 10′ minutes into the second period.
Aaron Peterson put the game to bed with 20′ minutes to go, only for free-scoring defender Jacob Tratt to give Sutherland a glimmer of hope in the dying stages.
Parramatta FC 1-2 Sydney United 58 FC, at Melita Stadium
Sydney United 58 snapped a four game losing streak, doing it the hard way against plucky Parramatta FC.
Panni Nikas opened the scoring from the spot, before doubling his and United’s tally only six minutes later with a close range finish.
The midfielder could have had a hat trick but his second half penalty was saved by Parramatta FC goalkeeper Luke Turnbull.
A diving header from Shayne Ardle gave Parramatta FC some hope with a quarter of an hour remaining, but United 58 held on for a much-needed win.
Rockdale City Suns 2-1 Sydney Olympic, at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City Suns were a man down for the second half but they produced a strong performance to upset Sydney Olympic.
The Suns lost goalkeeper Ivan Necevski after he was sent off a minute before the break, but they made light of the loss.
Alec Urosevski continued his good form, scoring twice, before Harris Gaitatzis gave Olympic a chance with a late goal.
Manly United 4-1 Marconi Stallions, at Cromer Park
Manly United dispensed with hapless Marconi Stallions at Cromer Park, showing no signs of fatigue after their midweek grind against Parramatta FC.
Dejan Pandurevic scored the first for Manly, and from there it was one way traffic.
Sam Gallagher capitalised on a rare error from Marconi keeper Sam Nastic to make it 2-0, before Chris Payne made it three and then Brendan Cholakian made it four.
Jacob Boutoubia’s late penalty got Marconi on the score board, but they have only scored 12 goals in 16 games this season and conceded a scarcely believable 44 goals.
South Coast Wolves 0-3 Blacktown Spartans, at WIN Stadium
Blacktown Spartans moved into sixth place with a convincing 3-0 win in Wollongong.
Shu Sasaki scored twice from the spot within six first half minutes to give Spartans some breathing space heading into the second period.
South Coast Wolves tried to rally and had a penalty of their own, which Peter Simonoski rolled wide of the post.
Then, Josh Tanner iced the cake for Spartans, adding the third in the final minute of the 90.
– by Matthew Lopez, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Editor