The PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 could not be any tighter at the half-way point of the 2016 season with Sutherland Sharks in hot pursuit of Blacktown City and Manly United at the top of the competition ladder.
It was first versus second in the Match of the Round, where Blacktown City hosted Manly United in a hugely anticipated clash at Lilys Football Centre.
Match of the Round
Blacktown City 1-3 Manly United, 1.00pm at Lilys Football Centre
A resurgent Manly United ran out deserved 3-1 winners over Blacktown City at Lilys Football Centre in a result that sees Andrew Christiansen’s side draw level on points with their opponents at the top of the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 ladder.
Having suffered back to back losses against APIA Leichhardt and Sydney United 58 it was an emphatic response from the Cromer Park outfit who put the competition frontrunners to the sword in their own backyard.
Shervin Adeli nudged the visitors ahead early on only for Nikita Andricopoulos to restore parity seconds after half-time but Manly were not to be denied a deserved triumph with Nathan Separovic and Eddie Rinaldi finishing the job late on.
A sleepwalking Blacktown City side offered their weakest showing of the 2016 season so far and could’ve been punished further had the visitors pounced more clinically on the slew of favourable opportunities gifted their way, with Manly defender Todd Balneaves missing from the penalty spot in the first half.
The writing was on the wall for Blacktown early on when Adeli neatly tucked Dylan Whitlock’s cutback into the bottom corner for his first goal of the season.
Alexander Partridge had previously spurned a golden chance to break the deadlock when he fired over from close range but the midfielder made amends shortly after when he was bundled over inside the area by Blacktown’s Jake Mamone.
Tristan Prendergast denied Balneaves from the spot with a good save to his right and the penalty save along with a half-time grilling from Blacktown coach Ben Wright provoked a reaction from the competition leaders who drew level seconds after half-time when Andricopoulos volleyed home Jake Borremeo’s cross.
The equalizer sparked more urgency from Blacktown who enjoyed their best spell of the game after restoring parity but were still missing their usual fluency and cohesion with the ball.
Similarly, the City rearguard were abnormally unorganised at the back which invited waves of penetrative counter-attacking football from the visitors, who once again lamented a lack of cutting edge in front of goal.
But the chances continued to flow for a persistent Manly outfit who restored the lead through Nathan Separovic after some lacklustre set-piece defending from Blacktown.
And the visitors sealed the three points minutes later when Rinaldi finished off a classic counter-attacking move at the back post to consign Blacktown to their second defeat of the season.
Manly face third-placed Sutherland on Saturday afternoon’s Heritage Round fixture while Blacktown City travel to lowly Sydney United 58 on Sunday.
Blacktown City 1 (Andricopoulos 46’)
Manly United 3 (Adeli 20’, Separovic 73’, Rinaldi 77’)
Sunday 22nd May 2016
Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City: 1 N. Vekic (GK), 23 J. Borromeo, 25 Z. Speth, 26 M. Ireland, 27 N. Andricopoulos, 28 G. Panayi, 29 L. Fraser, 30 A. Koudakpo, 31 L. Beumie, 32 J. Dodds, 33 J. Grozdanovski, 34 D. Askew, 35 I. Elkhaldi, 36 I. Dandan, 37 G. Firth, 40 L. Gallo
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Manly United: 1 M. Syron (GK), 12 H. Gallagher, 16 S. Adeli, 25 A. Partridge, 26 C. Baker, 28 M. Rooke, 30 T. Balneaves, 31 D. Whitlock, 33 R. Spiers, 34 E. Rinaldi, 36 N. Separovic
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Sutherland Sharks 3-2 APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks moved up to third on the competition ladder after edging APIA Leichhardt Tigers in a 3-2 thriller for their fourth win in a row.
Chris McStay opened the scoring early on for Allan Edmondson’s side who drove home their advantage through Judd Duncan and Nathan Roberts.
Julian Rinaldi opened his account for the season with Christopher Phillips also netting a late consolation for APIA, who drop into fifth position having been leapfrogged into third by Saturday’s victors.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1-3 Wollongong Wolves, 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg White Eagles slipped out of the top six for the first time in four weeks after going down 3-1 to Wollongong Wolves at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.
In fifth and sixth placed respectively prior to kick off, the victory places Alfredo Esteves’ Wollongong into fourth position whilst the White Eagles slide into eighth – with only two points separating the two finals hopefuls at the conclusion of Round 11.
Goals from Brett Wilson, Justin Ivanovic and Jack Lombo claimed all three points on a grand away trip for Wollongong who are now unbeaten in three weeks.
Asmir Kradric was the lone scorer for Stephen Sigmund’s side who return to Bonnyrigg Sports Club in Heritage Round looking to take maximum points off bottom-placed Rockdale.
Sydney Olympic v Blacktown Spartans, 1.00pm at Belmore Sports Ground
A fine hat trick from an in-form Michael Loupis condemned Blacktown Spartans to another defeat as Samuel Jacob’s side went down 3-2 to Sydney Olympic at Belmore Sports Ground.
Having served a one week suspension in Round 10 the return of Loupis proved instrumental for Olympic who enter a crowded top six on goal difference.
Leyton Hinton and Michael Konestabo were on the scoresheet for the Spartans but it wasn’t enough to halt another worrying display from Blacktown, who have failed to register three points since Round 5.
It sets up a crucial match date with Parramatta in next week’s Heritage Round, whilst Olympic host APIA Leichhardt looking to string together back to back wins to further their prospects of a top six finish.
Parramatta v Rockdale City Suns, 1.00pm at Melita Stadium
A rampant first-half performance from Parramatta paved way to a routine 4-0 win over cellar-dwellers Rockdale City Suns at Melita Stadium.
Mark Zecchin’s side struck four times in the opening 45 minutes with a Lawrence Hannah brace and goals to Nicholas Chymiak and Mitchell Davidson piling on the misery for the visiting Rockdale.
The win moves Parramatta closer to striking distance of the top six ahead of a crucial encounter with Blacktown Spartans next weekend, whilst Rockdale know only a win against Bonnyrigg will keep their dwindling finals hopes alive.
Sydney United 58 v Hakoah Sydney City East, 2.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
An incredible second-half turnaround from Hakoah Sydney City East defeated Sydney United 58 4-2 at Sydney United Sports Centre in the final match of Round 11.
Davor Bajsic’s Sydney were desperate to build on last round’s big upset over Manly United and were on course for back to back wins for the first time this campaign when they led 2-0 at half-time courtesy of Jonah Caragher and Jack Stewart.
But Hakoah came storming back in the second with Emilio Manos firing in his sixth and seventh goals of the season while Harry Jones and Jordan Swibel completed the rout.
-By Jacob Windon