Manly United continue to lead the way as we near a third of the way through the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 competition.
The table-toppers were too good for a valiant Rockdale City Suns side, whilst there were also big wins for APIA Leichhardt and Sydney Olympic.
The match of the round saw Sutherland Sharks entertain Hakoah Sydney City East with both sides desperate for a win to break out of their mid-table stupor.
Match of the Round
Sutherland Sharks 0-1 Hakoah Sydney City East, 4:30pm at Seymour Shaw
Hakoah Sydney City East has secured its first win since Round 2 after Richard Blanco’s first-half winner saw the side edge an off-colour Sutherland 1-0 at a chilly Seymour Shaw.
Blanco struck with the last kick of the first half to edge Hakoah into the lead and although they could have made the score line more comfortable in the second stanza the Patrick Darvill and Donato D’Agrosa-coached outfit were rarely threatened as they cantered to an important three points.
Heavy rain lashed the Shire throughout the day and there was an atmosphere of subdued bleakness at Seymour Shaw when the two sides took to the field.
The encounter would mirror the hostile conditions, and with both sides conceding a combined seven goals in Round 7, the two outfits lingered on a conservative and unadventurous approach.
The visitors started the better and Sutherland were relieved to see Hakoah centre back Ilan Kessler fire wide from an early corner.
Hakoah opened the scoring on the stroke of halftime.
After a succession of Hakoah corners, a poor clearance from Sutherland fell to Richard Blanco who dispatched a swerving half-volley underneath Sharks goalkeeper Luke Kairies.
It was the midfielder’s fourth goal of the season and first since netting against Blacktown Spartans in March, and the eventual match winner had offered few standout moments in an otherwise drab opening period.
Sutherland were desperately unfortunate not to restore parity after the half-time break when Michael Kouta’s superb free-kick rang against the crossbar.
The frustration from the fullback summed up the afternoon for the home side, and one an afternoon where Allan Edmonson’s men struggled for creativity Kouta’s effort was one a moment of high calibre.
A Hakoah second looked more likely than a Sutherland equalizer, and the visitors were close to doubling their advantage when Liam Thomas was found unmarked on the penalty spot.
The midfielder’s shot was met with conviction but Kairies, making just his second start of the campaign, pulled off a miraculous reflex save to push the goal bound effort over the bar.
Sutherland continued to toil in their search for an equalizing goal but a miserable afternoon turned sour for the hosts when substitute James Markovic received his marching orders for dissent.
The result sees Allan Edmonson’s side slip out of the top six for the first time since Round 1, and the Sutherland boss admitted his side did not produce enough quality with the ball to salvage a point on the afternoon.
“It was a tough game, Hakoah were fantastic in the way they defended and to concede a goal right before half-time was disappointing.
“They pressed us all over the park and we couldn’t build possession at all today.”
Hakoah Sydney City East coach Patrick Darvill praise his side’s attitude in holding Sutherland at bay.
“We’ve been leaking goals the last couple of weeks and we’ve really worked on that at training
We held the centre of the defence very well, worked hard physically and concentrated really well”.
Sutherland Sharks 0
Hakoah Sydney City East 1 (Blanco 45’)
Saturday 23rd April 2016
Sutherland Sharks: 7 J. Press, 8 C. Mcstay, 18 J. Benham, 20 M. Farmer, 27 N. Roberts, 29 D. Krkovski, 30 C. Antoniou, 31 R. Watson, 33 T. Papa, 34 J. Markovic, 37 C. Fabiano, 38 J. Duncan, 40 M. Kouta, 41 M. Beattie, 42 L. Kairies
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: 34 J. Markovic
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1 J. Sayle, 3 C. Shaddock, 8 P. Orgad, 17 D. Curti, 21 I. Kessler, 22 B. Karpin, 24 R. Blanco, 27 J. Hayhurst, 28 A. Karabatsos, 29 H. Jones, 30 C. Kemp, 32 E. Manos, 34 B. Paikin, 36 L. Thomas, 38 D. Poulsen, 40. R. Blumberg
Yellow Cards: 34 B. Paikin, 21 I. Kessler
Red Cards: Nil
Sydney Olympic 2-1 Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 1.00pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic made it three wins on the bounce after accounting for Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2-1 at Belmore Sportsground.
Michael Loupis netted an impressive brace for new coach John Theodoropoulos’ team who continue their impressive recent string of form by marching into the top six.
Bonnyrigg came into the encounter as the competitions form team but found themselves outplayed by a resurgent Olympic side, although the one bright spot for Stephen Sigmund’s men was the performance of Asmir Kadric whose consolation goal continues a hot streak for the White Eagles forward.
Manly United 3-1 Rockdale City Suns, 1.00pm at Cromer Park
Manly United remain top of the table after notching their sixth win of the season against Rockdale City Suns.
The competition frontrunners ran out comfortable 3-1 winners at Cromer Park with Nathan Separavic’s brace and an Eddie Rinaldi strike keeping Andrew Christiansen’s side three points ahead of second-placed Blacktown City.
Alexander Lekoski was the scorer once again for Rockdale who remain outside the top six and with work to do in order to improve their finals chances.
Blacktown City 3-1 Wollongong Wolves, 1.00pm at Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City stay hot on the heels of Manly United after Ben Wright’s side defeated Wollongong Wolves 3-1 in a heavily anticipated affair at Lilys Football Centre.
The reigning champions proved to be too strong for Wollongong with Jonathan Grozdanovski’s double and Nikita Andricopolous’ second goal in as many weeks helping the side to an important win.
James Brodnik found himself on the scoresheet for Wollongong but the loss sees Alfredo Esteves’ men slip down to fifth as the logjam for the finals positions tightens up.
Sydney United 58 FC 1-1 Parramatta, 2.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
There was nothing to separate both Sydney United 58 and Parramatta with the competitions two bottom sides sharing the spoils after an intense ninety minutes at Sydney United Sports Centre.
Jaydon Taunton set the visitors on track for a priceless victory when he opened the scoring in the first half but Sydney United 58 restored parity with Alex Vlismas producing a timely equalizer with ten minutes remaining.
The draw does little to improve the respective positions of the competition cellar dwellars, although with both outfits now registering a win and a draw in their last two matches there is plenty for both Davor Bajsic and Mark Zecchin to mull over.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 3-2 Blacktown Spartans 2.15pm at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt made it two wins in a row with a thrilling 3-2 victory over Blacktown Spartans at Lambert Park.
Involved in a 4-3 goalfest with Rockdale City Suns only a week earlier, Danial Cummins side are beginning to turn heads in the competition with a swashbuckling style bringing results in recent weeks.
Dominic Cox’s brace proved to be the telling contribution for APIA who sealed the win through Christopher Phillips.
Blacktown’s Alex Mooy struck a double to raise his goal tally for the season to six in six matches but it wasn’t enough to rescue a result for Samuel Jacobs’ side who have now suffered back to back defeats.
–By Jacob Windon