Round 3 of the PlayStation(R)4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 competition kicks off on Friday as Manly United host Parramatta, whilst Blacktown Spartans entertain Hakoah Sydney City East at home and Sutherland travel to Sydney United 58 in what promises to be an entertaining Easter weekend of football.
We head straight to the top of the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 table for this week’s match of the round where second-placed Blacktown Spartans host Hakoah Sydney City East on Saturday afternoon at Blacktown Football Park.
Match of the Round
Blacktown Spartans FC v Hakoah Sydney City East FC, Saturday 5.00pm at Blacktown Football Park
It might only be Round Three but both Blacktown Spartans and Hakoah Sydney City East have wasted no time in nailing their respective premiership ambitions to the mast with two wins from their opening two matches.
Although the two sides have avoided some of the league’s traditional heavyweights so far there’s still plenty to like about both teams, particularly Hakoah who are thriving under Les Paikin in their return to the top division of the NPL NSW.
Saturday’s visitors to Blacktown Football Park are yet to concede in their two matches so far and with Richard Blanco and Nicholas Sullivan both in fine goalscoring fettle Hakoah are well positioned to make it three from three on the weekend.
Meanwhile, Blacktown have registered two late, come-from-behind victories in a row against Parramatta FC and Bonnyrigg White Eagles which has seen Samuel Jacob’s side maintain a perfect record at the start of the season. Blacktown have looked exciting on the transition with the likes of Michael Konestabo and Alex Abdullah offering plenty of pace and guile on the flanks whilst Alex Mooy and Adrian Epifanino have patrolled the middle of the park diligently.
With equal second-placed Manly United in action the night before this encounter will be important for both sides in maintaining their winning start to the season and has all the ingredients to be a classic end to end affair.
Manly United FC v Parramatta FC, 5.00pm at Cromer Park
Manly United have the chance to establish an early competition lead when they host Parramatta FC at Cromer Park on Easter Friday. The match takes place 24 hours before Hakoah Sydney City East and Blacktown Spartans meet in Rooty Hill which should give Manly incentive to continue their winning streak.
Andrew Christiansen’s side have enjoyed a great start to the season playing a measured brand of patient football and they built on their 2-1 win over Sutherland in Round One by thoroughly dismantling Sydney Olympic in a four-goal second half romp in Round Two.
Although Sydney trimmed Manly’s lead back in the final minutes from 4-1 to 4-3 the visitors had comprehensively dominated their hosts prior to letting their guard down with Sipan Berti and Dylan Whitlock enjoying a field day in the final third. Berti in particular has been in scintillating form in the opening two games with three goals to his name, including a sumptuous flicked effort against Sydney last Sunday.
Having had their Round 2 clash with APIA Leichhardt postponed Mark Zecchin’s Parramatta will be itching to make amends for their 4-3 loss at the hands of Blacktown Spartans on the opening day. After going behind early the Eagles eventually found themselves 3-2 up late in the second half before conceding two late goals.
Although that particular defensive lapse proved costly for Zecchin’s side, they demonstrated an abundance of attacking flair on the day with the partnership between fleet-footed playmaker Matias Da Silva Santos and imposing centre-forward Nicholas Chymiak one that will worry defenders all around the league.
Blacktown City FC v Sydney Olympic FC, 1.00pm at Lily’s Football Centre
Blacktown City suffered a shock 1-0 loss against a resurgent Sutherland Sharks last weekend and will look to bounce back at home when they entertain Sydney Olympic on Sunday afternoon.
The reigning champions have endured an indifferent start to the season after coming from behind in impressive fashion to beat Sydney United 58 3-2 on the opening day, but their defeat at Seymour Shaw last weekend highlighted there’s still plenty of work to do for Ben Wright’s side.
It was a bad first day at the office for Sydney last Sunday where a second-half capitulation saw Olympic defeated by Manly United. Although the manner in which Sydney conceded four quick-fire goals will alarm manager Harry Paras, there were several positive elements to take away from the match, not least the sublime performance of forward Adrian Vranic who netted a fine hattrick.
The former Dinamo Zagreb U19 prospect was in scintillating form against Manly and might have added a fourth to his name but for the crossbar’s intervention: Blacktown City will need to marshal Vranic with special attention to avoid a second defeat in a row.
Rockdale City Suns FC v Wollongong Wolves, 3.00pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
After slumping to a 4-0 defeat to Hakoah Sydney City East last round Rockdale will look to go back to basics when they entertain Wollongong Wolves at Ilinden Sports Centre.
The clash looms as an intriguing one with both sides offering glimpses of potential in the opening two rounds and this affair provides both with a good chance to shake off some early season rust.
Rockdale got their campaign up and running after seeing off Bonnyrigg White Eagles in the opening round but the side turned in an under-par performance against Hakoah and will need a return to form with Wollongong on their doorstep.
After snatching their first point of the season in a 2-2 draw with Sydney United 58 last weekend, Alfredo Esteves’ Wolves will fancy their chances of opening their account on the road.
Sydney United 58 FC v Sutherland Sharks FC, 3.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
It promises to be an Easter Monday special at Sydney United Sports Centre where Sydney United 58 entertain Sutherland Sharks.
The visiting Sutherland demonstrated they can mix it with the best in the opening the rounds of the season after falling late to Manly United in Round One and toppling reigning champions Blacktown City in a resilient and hard-fought victory at Seymour Shaw last weekend.
Allan Edmonson’s side look a well-organised and canny unit but that will be put to the test against a Sydney United 58 team that boast a significant amount of attacking prowess with the likes of James Temelkovski and Anthony Trimboli already finding their finishing touch in front of goal.
Postponed: APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC
This match is due to be played at 7.30pm on Wednesday the 25th of May due to APIA Leichhardt’s recent tour in Italy and involvement in the Viareggio Tournament.
-By Jacob Windon