While the season ends for the majority of the sides that contested the PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 1 Grade 20s competition, the real fun is about to begin for the five sides that finished top of the ladder.
Crowned Premiers with a week of the regular season to spare, Blacktown City have earned an extra week off while Sydney Olympic, Sydney United 58, Marconi Stallions and Sutherland Sharks gear up for the first set of Semi Finals.
Both games will be played at Lambert Park, beginning with Olympic v United at 9.30am, followed by Marconi and Sutherland at 12pm.
Sydney Olympic FC v Sydney United 58 FC, 9.30am at Lambert Park
Just a week after beating the same opponent 4-2 at Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney Olympic FC will face Sydney United 58 FC in the first Semi Final at Lambert Park confident of achieving a similar result on Sunday morning.
Olympic strung together seven wins in their final eight matches of the regular season to finish in fourth place, with victories over fellow Semi Finalists Marconi, United 58 and Sutherland somewhat mitigated by a heavy 8-1 loss to eventual Premiers Blacktown City FC.
James Andrew and Michael Trajkovski each scored a brace in Olympic’s 4-2 win last weekend, with Andrew looking particuarly dangerous drifting in from the left wing, as he has all season. Sydney United 58’s Cristian Gonzalez scored his side’s two goals, though only after his side had conceded three times before the break.
Prior to their loss to Olympic, Sydney United 58 were unbeaten in four matches, not having been defeated since going down 4-3 to Bonnyrigg White Eagles in Round 17.
Olympic defenders will be wary of United 58 striker Lachlan Roberts, who scored both last week and in United’s 5-0 defeat of Olympic earlier in the season at Sydney United Sports Centre.
Marconi Stallions v Sutherland Sharks, 12pm at Lambert Park
A stumbling finish to the season meant Marconi missed the opportunity to overtake Blacktown City late on, the Stallions ultimately finishing second after dropping points in four of their last six matches.
They ended the season on a high, however, with a 1-0 win over South Coast Wolves at Win Stadium last Sunday afternoon.
Their opponents on Sunday afternoon, Sutherland Sharks, rode as high as first place for much of the season but experienced an equally disappointing run-in to the finals as Marconi, losing their last three games to the Stallions, Olympic and Premiers Blacktown City. The Sharks’ latest loss was a 3-1 defeat at Lilys Football Centre, with Patrick O’Shea netting the only goal for the visitors.
These sides last met just three weeks ago, with Marconi notching a 2-0 win at Marconi Stadium courtesy of two goals from David Talevski. The Stallions won the reverse fixture 2-1 at Seymour Shaw earlier in the season, too, with goals from Brandon Vella and Zac Sfiligoi cancelling out a Patrick O’Shea strike.
– By Max Grieve, PS4 National Premier Leagues Grade 20s Reporter