It’s proving to be a hugely unpredictable PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 season as we near a third of the way through the 2016 campaign.
After notching crucial first wins of the season, Sydney United 58 and Parramatta clash at Sydney United Sports Centre, whilst a resurgent Bonnyrigg White Eagles travel to Sydney Olympic seeking a fourth straight win.
But the match of the round is at Seymour Shaw where Sutherland Sharks take on Hakoah Sydney City East.
Match of the Round
Sutherland Sharks v Hakoah Sydney City East, 4:30pm at Seymour Shaw
There’s only one PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 fixture on Saturday but it’s a match deserving of its lone standing with Sutherland Sharks hosting Hakoah Sydney City East at Seymour Shaw.
Both sides have offered glimpses of significant potential this season and in many ways this is a meeting between two potential dark horses for the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s U20’s crown. Inconsistency however has plagued both outfits in recent weeks with the two teams occupying sixth and seventh position respectively heading into Saturday’s encounter.
Sutherland highlighted there is a steeliness to offset their youthful squad when they notched back to back 1-0 wins over reigning champions Blacktown City and Sydney United 58 in Rounds 2 and 3, whilst Hakoah showed they mean business in winning their first two matches on their return to top flight action.
The visiting side may not have secured a win since Round 2 but Hakoah still boast plenty of goal threat with forwards Emilio Manos and Richard Blanco sharing the goals up front, whilst midfielder Brad Paikin is this round seeking his fourth consecutive goal in as many weeks.
Sydney Olympic v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 1.00pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic had won two in a row prior to last week’s defeat at Parramatta, and Harry Paras’ side must look to avoid back to back defeats against a Bonnyrigg side conversely seeking their fourth straight win.
The White Eagles have registered three wins and claimed the scalps of Blacktown City, Manly United and Sutherland Sharks most recently in Round 6 to rocket into fifth place. They’re the competition’s form team with 10 goals in their last three matches and have been watertight at the back – conceding just five goals in total this season, a league low.
Stephen Sigmund’s side will be wary of a Sydney Olympic outfit capable of mixing it with the best, especially with Adrian Vranic up front whose eight goals in four matches have made him indispensable to the Olympic cause.
However, conceding soft goals remains the problem for the eighth-placed Olympic: only Rockdale (15) have conceded more than Olympic’s 13 this campaign. They will need to amend this trend to put a stop to Bonnyrigg’s momentum.
Manly United v Rockdale City Suns, 1.00pm at Cromer Park
Manly United moved three points clear at the top of the table with a hard-fought victory at Wollongong on Sunday and they will fancy their chances at extending their lead when they host Rockdale City Suns at Cromer Park.
The encounter will see the competitions most potent attack come up against the league’s leakiest defence, with Rockdale shipping 15 goals in six matches so far this campaign.
The side did put three past APIA Leichhardt on the weekend thanks to Tolgay Ozbey’s hattrick, but eventually lost 4-3, a result illustrative of the side’s troubles this season.
With Blacktown City hosting Wollongong Wolves and Blacktown Spartans travelling to APIA Leichhardt, Andrew Christiansen’s outfit could find themselves more than three points clear at the end of the round.
Blacktown City v Wollongong Wolves, 1.00pm at Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City smashed Hakoah Sydney City East 4-1 in Round 6 to reaffirm their status as one of the competition’s teams to beat, and Ben Wright’s side will look to make a statement of similar intent on Sunday when they take on Wollongong Wolves.
Wollongong’s three match winning streak ended last round with Manly United running out comfortable 2-0 winners at WIN Stadium, but Alfredo Esteves’ side have shown enough quality in the opening six rounds to approach this clash at Lilys Football Centre with confidence.
However, in what looks to be an ominous sign for the visitors, Blacktown forward and last season’s golden boot winner Jonathan Grozdanovski appears to be hitting his stride with the striker collecting a brace against Hakoah in Round 6.
Sydney United 58 v Parramatta, 2.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Both Sydney United 58 and Parramatta salvaged their first wins of the season in Round 6 with victories over Blacktown Spartans and Sydney Olympic respectively.
And it was Sydney United 58 who were staring down the barrel of five defeats in six games when they went 2-0 down seconds into the second half at Blacktown Football Park, but Davor Bajsic’s men mounted a remarkable comeback inspired by James Temelkovski and Anthony Vrlic to win 3-2.
Nicholas Chymiak and James Taunton were on hand to give Parramatta their first points of the season over Sydney Olympic and with the table starting to take formation, there could be a six-pointer brewing at Sydney United Sports Centre.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Blacktown Spartans 2.15pm at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt got their first win of the season in last Sunday’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Rockdale City Suns and Danial Cummins’ side will look to make it two wins on the bounce when they host Blacktown Spartans at Lambert Park.
Duncan Stewart and Samuel Gulisano have started brightly for APIA Leichhardt with two goals apiece in three games, and they face a third-placed Blacktown Spartans side who often look vulnerable at the back and have lost two of their last three.
The manner in which Blacktown surrendered their 2-0 advantage over Sydney United 58 in Round 6 will no doubt still be fresh in the minds of Samuel Jacobs’ ranks, who need to deliver a the right response at Lambert Park.