Manly United returned to the top of the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 table after securing a hard-fought victory at Seymour Shaw, whilst Rockdale City Suns lifted themselves of the bottom of the table with a big win against Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
The Match of the Round saw Sydney Olympic host traditional rivals APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Belmore Sports Ground with both sides needing a win to further their prospects of a finals finish.
Match of the Round
Sydney Olympic 0-3 APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 1.00pm at Belmore Sports Ground
A resurgent APIA Leichhardt Tigers snapped a four-game winless run in emphatic fashion with Duncan Stewart’s hattrick giving the visitors a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Sydney Olympic at Belmore Sports Ground.
It was a fine collection of strikes from the former Manly United product who scrambled the ball home from a set-piece in the opening half to give APIA the lead before adding an exquisite second on the counter attack minutes after half-time.
Stewart completed the treble before the hour mark to seal a much-needed three points for George Sidis’ side and consign an off-colour Olympic to a disappointing defeat on home soil.
The match featured very few opportunities for either side in what was a scrappy opening affair before the APIA striker eventually broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
Following an APIA set-piece, Stewart reacted quickest among a swarm of players to squirm the ball underneath Olympic gloveman Denver Crickmore, despite the goalkeeper’s valiant attempt to prevent the striker from point blank range.
The visitors were close to doubling their lead following Stewart’s seventh goal of the season when Dominic Cox and Matthew Stewart combined on the edge of the area for the latter to force Crickmore into a good diving save.
Olympic turned to leading goal-scorer Michael Loupis to spark the Belmore side into life and the attacker came close on two occasions to restoring parity late in the opening half; firstly lashing a speculative volley inches past the APIA goal before seeing a cleverly worked set-piece routine blocked on the line by an APIA defender.
It had been a promising finish to an otherwise unseemly first-half showing from John Theodoropoulos’ side but their momentum was quickly scuppered minutes into the second stanza when Stewart fired home his second of the match.
The APIA frontman latched onto Cox’s through ball before stepping back inside on the edge of the box and powering a curling effort into the top left-hand corner.
Olympic had struggled to deal with the quick interplay amongst the APIA forwards and Stewart completed his treble before the hour mark with another intelligent piece of movement, this time ghosting in behind the Olympic defence before confidently steering past Crickmore to seal all three points for George Sidis’ side.
The APIA Leichhardt manager praised the performance of his star striker and his side after a first win in five saw the Lambert Park outfit return to the top four.
“Duncan was an excellent pickup for us this year and he was outstanding again today.
“We’ve been unlucky during the last couple of weeks but to beat a good side like Olympic on their own ground was pleasing.”
John Theodoropoulos humbly conceded that his understrength outfit were convincingly outplayed by their rivals on the day.
“APIA are a great side and were far too good for us today.
“We had a few injuries but still managed to create a few opportunities. We haven’t been playing with a proper number nine all season so hopefully things will turnaround in the coming weeks”.
Sydney Olympic 0
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 3 (D. Stewart 33’, 51’, 60’)
Sydney Olympic: 82 N. Andricopoulos, 71 C. Antoniou, 84 B. Caulker, 9 C. Triantis, 62 M. Loupis, 1 E. Davis, 20 D. Crickmore, 38 S. Athanaseris, 39 M. Nicolaou , 40 S. Katsionis , 46 A. Kyra, 48 P. Liaskos, 49 A. Hadjisocratous, 50 J. Combes, 51 S. Malfara
Yellow Cards: 51 S. Malfara 7’, 40 S. Katsionis 10’
Red Cards: N/A
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1 C. Theuma, 12 D. Cox (C), 17 A. Vlastelica, 25 R. Alassmi, 26 B. Mccarron, 27 J. Rinaldi, 28 M. Cook, 29 C. Phillips, 30 M. Stewart, 31 D. Stewart, 33 P. Bentley, 36 S. Adattini, 37 J. Van Den Berg, 38 S. Gulisano, 39 D. Nasrabadi, 45 B. Tuxford
Yellow Cards: 12 D. Cox 67’
Red Cards: N/A
Sutherland Sharks 0-1 Manly United, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw Stadium
Jamie Glover was the hero for Manly United as the Cromer Park outfit secured a vital 1-0 win away from home against in-form rivals Sutherland Sharks in a fiercely contested second-versus-third encounter.
With Blacktown City only managing a 2-2 draw with cellar-dwellers Sydney United 58, the results sees Manly United return to the top of the table.
Andrew Christiansen’s side had entered a period of struggle four rounds ago with back to back losses prior to crunch matches against leaders Blacktown City and near competitors in Sutherland but two consecutive wins over their closest rivals has restored seen a renewed sense of optimism return to the Manly shores.
Sutherland were aiming for five wins in a row before the top of the table clash but Allan Edmonson’s side will look to respond next Sunday in what will be a highly anticipated clash against competition leaders Blacktown City.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1-3 Rockdale City Suns, 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Rockdale City Suns secured their first win since Round Four after defeating Bonnyrigg 3-1 at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.
There was nothing to separate the two sides at half-time with goals from Rockdale’s Kody Maude and Bonnyrigg’s Alexsander Jovovic, but the visitors hammered home their advantage in the second through James Petkovski and Tolgay Ozbey to secure a vital win away from home.
The win lifts Rockdale off the foot of the table with fellow strugglers Sydney United 58 only managing a point at home against Blacktown City in Sunday’s clash.
Hakoah Sydney City East 1-1 Wollongong Wolves, 5.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East and Wollongong Wolves shared the spoils with a tightly-contested affair at Hensley Athletic field ending 1-1.
Wollongong took a one-nil lead into the sheds at half-time courtesy of Stefan Dimoski but Hakoah restored parity in the second stanza through Nick Sullivan to keep both sides firmly in the finals picture.
Hakoah face Rockdale City Suns next Sunday with a win likely to take the side back into the top six whilst Wollongong will contend with a similar fate when they host Sydney United 58 at WIN Stadium.
Parramatta 2-3 Blacktown Spartans, 1.00pm at Melita Stadium
Three goals in a scintillating 16-minute first half spell was enough to stop the rot for Samuel Jacobs as the Blacktown Spartans left Melita Stadium 3-2 victors over Parramatta in their first victory since Round Five.
David Gullo opened the scoring for Parramatta early on but the hosts were rocked by Michael Konestabo’s quickfire brace and Andre Carle’s first of the season as the Spartans cruised to a much-needed three points.
Alex Boyadjaian netted a late consolation for Mark Zecchin’s men but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Spartans from leapfrogging the Melita Stadium outfit on the competition ladder.
Sydney United 58 2-2 Blacktown City, 2.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
A heroic second half comeback from Sydney United 58 saw Davor Bajsic’s side come from 2-1 down to salvage a 2-2 draw with competition favourites and reigning champions Blacktown City at Sydney United Sports Centre.
Blacktown led 2-1 at half-time and were set to maintain their lead atop the table but United 58 duo James Temelkovski and Josh Briskoski combined to bring the scores level in the second with what could prove to be an important game in the championship race.
The result sees Manly United usurp Ben Wright’s side at the top of the competition ladder but the solitary point for Sydney United 58 was not enough to prevent the side from falling into twelfth position.
-By Jacob Windon