The 2016 PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 competition is slowly edging into formation as we approach Round 4.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers are welcomed back into the fold after returning from their Italian tour, whilst frontrunners Manly United and Blacktown Spartans face two tricky tests away from home. Meanwhile, Sydney United 58 travel to Illinden searching for their first win of the season.
This week’s match of the round sees Parramatta return to Melita Stadium for the first time this campaign to host Blacktown City.
Match of the Round
Parramatta v Blacktown City, Saturday 5.00pm at Melita Stadium
The opening month of fixtures hasn’t smiled too fondly upon Parramatta. Mark Zecchin’s side are still looking for their first points of the season after trips to Blacktown Spartans and Manly United saw the Eagles handed 4-3 and 3-0 defeats respectively.
With their Round 2 fixture with APIA Leichhardt postponed, the Eagles’ season has commenced in an unusual stop-start fashion which has inhibited their progress thus far. They were arguably good value for a result on their opening day venture at Blacktown International Football Park only to be denied a point by a sensational late winner by Spartans midfielder Adrian Epifanino, whilst Zecchin’s men kept pace with the competition leaders Manly on Easter Friday before two-second half goals ultimately ended the contest. Parramatta must lift themselves again with the reigning champions on their doorstep.
After opening the season with a dominant 4-2 victory over Sydney United, Ben Wright’s Blacktown City suffered a hiccup against Sutherland in Round 2 where they were defeated 1-0 at Seymour Shaw. But the side looks to have hit their stride after dismantling Sydney Olympic 4-0 at Lily’s Football Centre last weekend and will be eager on establishing some consistency as they pursue their trophy-winning feats of last campaign.
Sutherland Sharks v Sydney Olympic, Saturday 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
After conceding eight goals in the last two matches, including a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Blacktown City on the weekend, Harry Paras’ Olympic face another stern examination with what looks a daunting away trip to face an in-form Sutherland.
Consecutive 1-0 triumphs over Blacktown City and Sydney United 58 have Sutherland Sharks turning heads and Allan Edmonson’s have the perfect opportunity to make it three wins on the bounce when they host Olympic.
Narrowly defeated by Manly United on the opening day, Sutherland have looked impregnable since then and have utilized their defensive organisation to sublime effect. Edmonson’s team are beginning to carve an eminence as potential dark horses and will look to continue their momentum when they host an Olympic side that have looked out of sorts in the last fortnight of action.
Harry Paras’ side have endured a miserable start to the season and missed key forward Adrian Vranic last weekend with the former Dinamo Zagreb U19 prospect promoted to the first team. Should Vranic return, and should Olympic harness the flow and resolve the side displayed in the first half of their Round 2 clash against Manly it should be an enthralling contest at Seymour Shaw.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Manly United, Saturday 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Manly United lead the competition in its early stages and will arrive at Bonnyrigg Sports Club high on confidence after beating Parramatta 3-0 at Cromer Park on Easter Friday.
Andrew Christiansen’s side have made a hugely impressive start to the season and possess a frontline brimming with attacking verve with the likes of Dylan Whitlock and Sipan Berti amongst the goals in the opening rounds. The latter has been rewarded with two call-ups into the first team this season, scoring on both occasions.
Bonnyrigg have endured a frustrating beginning to the campaign with two narrow defeats at the hands of Rockdale City Suns and Blacktown Spartans leaving Stephen Sigmund’s men at the foot of the table.
Their defeat to Blacktown in Round 2 was a particularly bitter pill to swallow after the visitors mounted a late comeback to stun Bonnyrigg Sports Club and escape with the points.
Hakoah Sydney City East v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Saturday 5.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East welcome APIA Leichhardt Tigers back into the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s 20’s fold when the two sides meet on Saturday afternoon at Hensely Athletic Field.
Danial Cummins’ side have spent several months in Italy competing in the Vioreggio Cup, most recently clashing horns with an Inter Milan team but it will be back to business for APIA Leichhardt who will look to kick-start their campaign on a positive note.
League newcomers Hakoah have made a promising start to life in the top flight with convincing wins over Wollongong and Rockdale but were dealt something of a reality check last weekend in a 2-1 loss to Blacktown Spartans.
Hakoah frontman Richard Blanco netted despite the loss, continuing a fine early stint of form that has seen the striker claim four goals in his opening three matches.
Wollongong Wolves v Blacktown Spartans, 3.00pm at WIN Stadium
Having picked up their first win of the season against Rockdale City Suns last weekend, Wollongong Wolves return to the South Coast to entertain a flying Blacktown Spartans side at WIN Stadium.
Alfredo Esteve’s Wolves’ only managed a solitary point from their opening pair of fixtures but the manner in which the side dismantled Rockdale 4-1 away from home should ensure confidence is high coming into Sunday’s blockbuster.
Meanwhile, Blacktown Spartans are beginning to turn heads after three wins on the bounce. Samuel Jacob’s side have managed to come from behind on each occasion to achieve victory and the way the team have found their attacking rhythm so early in the season will delight the Blacktown custodian.
Rockdale City Suns v Sydney United 58, Sunday 3.00pm at Illinden Sports Centre
With just one win between the two sides combined both Rockdale City Suns and Sydney United will be desperate for the points when the teams clash at Illinden Sports Centre.
Rockdale began their campaign with a 1-0 victory over Bonnyrigg White Eagles but since the victory they have conceded eight goals for one reply. Now set for their fourth consecutive match at home, Rockdale need a result to arrest their slide.
Sydney United 58 have also withstood a vexing couple of weeks after surrendering leads at Blacktown City in Round 1 and at home to Wollongong Wolves in Round 2, before succumbing at home to Sutherland on the weekend. With just a single point to their name so far, Davor Bajsic’s side will know the importance of a result here with a blockbuster against Sydney Olympic to come next round.