A much anticipated Round 6 of the 2016 PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 competition takes place over the coming weekend and given the unpredictably entertaining nature of the league so far it’s difficult to pick winners in all six contests.
Fresh from their 4-0 rout of reigning champions Blacktown City, Bonnyrigg White Eagles host Sutherland Sharks at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre, whilst there’s a top of the table clash on the south coast where an in-form Wollongong Wolves host competition leaders Manly United.
But this week’s match of the round is at Blacktown Football Park where the high-flying Blacktown Spartans entertain a Sydney United 58 side still searching for the first win of the season.
Match of the Round
Blacktown Spartans v Sydney United 58, 5.00pm at Blacktown Football Park
Second-placed Blacktown Spartans have enjoyed a fine start to the season and welcome strugglers Sydney United 58 to Blacktown Football Park in Saturday afternoon’s match of the round.
Samuel Jacob’s men have been in formidable form at home so far, netting nine goals in three matches whilst notching victories over Parramatta, Hakoah Sydney City East and Rockdale City Suns and with first-placed Manly United facing a difficult away venture to Wollongong Wolves on Sunday, Blacktown could find themselves atop the competition ladder with victory on Saturday.
They face a Sydney United 58 outfit who have struggled thus far this campaign and having suffered their fourth loss of the season to Sydney Olympic at Sydney United Sports Centre last weekend, Davor Bajsic’s side will be desperate for the points at Blacktown Football Park.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Sutherland Sharks, 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg produced a sensational 4-0 away win against Blacktown City last weekend, a result that sees the White Eagles entering their home clash with Sutherland on the back of two morale boosting victories.
It comes in stark contrast to Bonnyrigg’s opening two matches of the season where defeats to Blacktown Spartans and Rockdale City Suns left Stephen Sigmund’s side at the foot of the table, but two huge victories over premiership heavyweights Manly United and Blacktown City will no doubt have the rest of the competition turning heads.
Although the side are on the precipice of breaking into the top six for the first time this campaign, Sigmund’s Bonnyrigg must confront the threat of Sutherland Sharks who steadied the ship themselves following last fortnight’s loss at home to Sydney Olympic with a 2-1 victory over Parramatta.
Allan Edmonson’s Sutherland came from behind against Parramatta to register their third win of the campaign and with midfield duo of Thomas Papa and Pat O’Shea in particularly impressive nick for the Sharks, in addition to the considerable goal threat of Jack Press who has claimed three in his past two, it’s sure to be a fascinating encounter at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Blacktown City, 5.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Blacktown City’s demise against Bonnyrigg will have sent shockwaves through the competition and Ben Wright’s team know they must seek a strong response against Hakoah Sydney City East when the two meet on Saturday afternoon.
The reigning champions face a Hakoah Sydney City East side who are now winless in three having most recently succumbed 3-2 to Manly United at Cromer Park, and despite a strong start to the season the Dino D’Agrosa coached side are in danger of slipping out of the top six should their winless stint extend this weekend.
Hakoah’s Brad Paikin and Emilio Manos have contributed to Hakoah’s last four goals scored and after a shambolic afternoon at the back against Bonnyrigg, Blacktown must remain wary of the goal scoring threat Hakoah provide – who have yet to be shut out so far this campaign.
Parramatta v Sydney Olympic, 5.00pm at Melita Stadium
Parramatta were denied their first point of the season by Sutherland’s 84th minute winner last weekend, a goal which spelled a fourth consecutive defeat for Mark Zecchin’s luckless side who remain rooted to the bottom of the table.
Returning to Melita Stadium to host a Sydney Olympic side fresh from consecutive wins over Sutherland Sharks and Sydney United 58 presents Parramatta with another good chance to get off the mark if they can finally capitalise on a catalogue of opportunities created thus far this season.
However, it won’t be easy against an Olympic side who have hit form following a rocky start to the campaign that saw eight goals conceded in their opening two matches. Harry Paras’ men were a much improved defensive unit in their 2-1 victory over United last Sunday and with star striker Adrian Vranic netting another two goals (his sixth and seventh of the season),
Parramatta must keep a close eye on Olympic’s pair of fleet-flooted attackers in Michael Loupis and Sebastian Malfara who have been a regular source of attacking profit for the visitors.
Rockdale City Suns v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 3.00pm at Ilinden Sport Centre
Rockdale City Suns host APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Ilinden Sport Centre with both sides looking for wins to prop up their stop-start campaigns.
APIA Leichhardt have been given a pair of tricky assignments on their return to action with a draw with Hakoah Sydney City East and a loss against Wollongong Wolves puncturing Danial Cummins’ side’s start to the season.
But they will fancy their chances against a Rockdale City Suns side who have leaked eleven goals in five matches and are coming off the back of a 3-0 away defeat against Blacktown Spartans.
Wollongong Wolves v Manly United, 3.00pm at WIN Stadium
The season may still be young but Wollongong Wolves’ third-versus-first clash with Manly United at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon is one that feels every inch a finals battle.
Since opening day defeat at home to Hakoah Sydney City East, Alfredo Esteves’ Wolves have won three and drawn one in a run of fine performances that has seen the Wollongong side climb to third in the table.
Manly have meanwhile staked an early claim as the competitions team to beat with a loss to Bonnyrigg in Round 4 the only blot on Andrew Christiansen’s side’s books. The likes of Dylan Whitlock and Edward Rinaldi have made an impressive start to the campaign and with the chance to move further ahead at the top, the visitors will surely be vigilant against the in-form Wolves.
-By Jacob Windon