Round Two of the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 competition saw Hakoah Sydney City East, Blacktown Spartans and Manly United all continue their winning starts to the new campaign whilst Sutherland Sharks upset Blacktown City at Seymour Shaw.
The Match of the Round saw Sydney Olympic kick off their season against Manly United at Belmore Sports Ground.
Match of the Round
Sydney Olympic FC v Manly United FC, Sunday 1.00pm at Belmore Sports Ground
A clinical second-half display from Manly United has condemned Sydney Olympic to a 4-3 defeat at a rain-sodden Belmore Sports Ground.
Adrian Vranic’s hat trick wasn’t enough for the home side who were unable to withstand a stunning second-half onslaught from Manly who ruthlessly dispatched four goals in quick succession.
Vranic had fired Sydney in front early on courtesy of a sublime curling finish and although the forward completed a well-taken treble on the verge of full-time the damage sustained during Manly’s lethal 20-minute spell after half-time proved too much to overcome.
It was Sydney’s first match of the season with their Round 1 date with APIA Leichhardt postponed last weekend and the home side seemed to relish being back at Belmore.
Despite a succession of early Manly corners, including one that flew back off the crossbar, it was Sydney that opened the scoring in fine style at the other end.
Following a swift foray into the Manly half the ball arrived at the feet of Vranic who controlled with aplomb on the edge of the box before guiding the ball into the top corner.
Sydney were good value for their opening advantage but Manly were unfazed by the early setback and nearly drew level midway through the first half when Sipan Berti’s cross-cum-shot squirmed wide of the post.
And they thought they had salvaged an equalizer shortly before half-time when Berti slammed home from close range, but the referee correctly ruled that the ball had gone out of play.
Although both sides had exhibited a few signs of early season rust in the first half the match exploded into life in the second with Manly running rampant.
It didn’t take long for Andrew Christiansen’s side to level the scores and it was an equalizer that epitomized the best of Manly’s patient approach play, with defender Todd Balneaves waltzing out of defence and combining with Berti on the left whose cross was coolly volleyed home at the back post by Dylan Whitlock.
Berti then showed his deadliness in front of goal by sending Manly in front with a gorgeous backflicked finish, and it would get even worse for Sydney three minutes after when Edward Rinaldi escaped his marker and cushioned a deft header past the keeper.
Sydney were exposed at the back chasing the two goal deficit with Manly substitute Alexander Partridge adding a fourth for the visitors to put the match out of reach.
And although Sydney restored some pride late on when Vranic completed his hattrick, it was all too little too late for the home side who were left to rue a horrible spell after the interval.
Manly United coach Andrew Christiansen said he was proud of his side’s performance despite the concession of two late goals.
“I thought we played very well in the second half and I’m pleased with the comeback”, said Christiansen.
“It’s still early in the season but we’ll take a lot out of the resilience we showed at the end of the match”.
Manly United host Parramatta FC at Cromer Park next Friday looking to win their third match on the trot whilst Sydney travel to Blacktown City.
Sydney Olympic FC 3 (Vranic 10’, 83’, 88’)
Manly United FC 4 (Whitlock 53’, Berti 57’, Rinaldi 60’, Partridge 78’)
Sunday 20th March 2016
Belmore Sports Ground
Sutherland Sharks FC v Blacktown City FC, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks responded from last week’s 2-1 defeat to Manly United by usurping reigning champions Blacktown City 1-0 at Seymour Shaw.
It could prove to be a big three points for Sutherland and a morale-boosting victory as the side navigate a difficult opening fixture list.
Both sides are in action next Sunday afternoon with Allan Edmonson’s men travelling to Sydney United 58 while Blacktown host Sydney Olympic.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC v Blacktown Spartans, 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Blacktown Spartans made it two wins from two games after coming from a goal behind to defeat Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.
Goals to Michael Konestabo and Leyton Hinton were enough to defeat an unlucky Bonnyrigg outfit who remain winless after the opening two rounds of the season.
Bonnyrigg will have to wait at least another week to get their season up and running with their match against APIA Leichhardt next Saturday postponed, but Blacktown will be licking their lips at the prospect of entertaining first-placed Hakoah Sydney City East next Saturday in Round 3’s match of the round.
Hakoah Sydney City East FC v Rockdale City Suns FC, Saturday 5.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East’s fine start to the season continued after a brace from Richard Blanco helped them to a 4-0 win at home to Rockdale City Suns.
Nicholas Sullivan opened the scoring from the penalty spot with his second of the season before Blanco’s double paved way for a resounding victory for the home side, with Harry Jones adding a fourth late on.
The win cements Les Paikin’s position at the top of the table after the opening two rounds and consigns the visiting Rockdale to their first defeat of the season.
Hakoah travel to Blacktown Football Park next Saturday for a mouth-watering encounter with fellow table-toppers Blacktown Spartans, whilst Rockdale will look to respond at home to Wollongong Wolves.
Sydney United 58 FC v Wollongong Wolves FC, 3.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Wollongong Wolves gained an invaluable point away from home holding Sydney United 58 to a 2-2 draw at Sydney United Sports Centre.
The two sides couldn’t be separated in an entertaining affair that leaves both sides searching for their first wins of the 2016 season.
Sydney United 58 welcome Sutherland Sharks next Monday whilst Wollongong face a trip to Ilinden Sports Centre to face Rockdale City Suns.
Postponed: Parramatta FC v APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, 3.00pm at Melita Stadium
This game was postponed due to the APIA Leichhardt Tigers currently touring Italy and taking part in the Viareggio Tournament.
-By Jacob Windon