Having wrestled the competition lead off Blacktown City last weekend, Manly United will look to maintain their advantage at the summit of the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 table when they host Sydney Olympic at Cromer Park.
Elsewhere, Blacktown City host Sutherland Sharks in a highly-anticipated second-versus-third clash at Lilys Football Centre, whilst Rockdale City Suns will attempt to put further ground between them and Sydney United 58 at the foot of the competition ladder when they welcome finals-chasing Hakoah Sydney City East to Ilinden Sports Centre.
But the Match of the Round is at Blacktown Football Park with Blacktown Spartans entertain Bonnyrigg White Eagles chasing back to back victories for the first time since Round Three.
Match of the Round
Blacktown Spartans v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 5.00pm at Blacktown Football Park
With a crucial 3-2 victory away at fellow outsiders Parramatta in Round 12, Blacktown Spartans put a stop to a run of seven matches without a win last Sunday.
The Spartans had claimed a single point during that dire spell of form – a 1-1 draw with competition leaders Manly United at Blacktown Football Park, and the ninth-placed side return home this week with a renewed sense of optimism to face Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
Alex Mooy netted the lone goal on that occasion but has since gone four matches without finding the back of the net, and there hasn’t been a better time for the Spartans figurehead to break the barren spell as his side look for back to back victories.
It won’t be easy against a resolute White Eagles side. Stephen Sigmund’s sixth-placed outfit have found themselves in patchy form of late with two wins from their last five but have proven themselves a genuine championship threat through the course of the season with promising young forward Asmir Kradric and ex-Western Sydney Wanderer Martin Lo leaving Bonnyrigg in a solid position as the campaign nears the business end.
Manly United v Sydney Olympic, 5.00pm at Cromer Park
Manly United returned to the top of the competition ladder last week thanks to a gritty 1-0 victory over Sutherland Sharks at Seymour Shaw, making it two vital victories over their two closest challengers in Blacktown City and Sutherland in as many weeks.
It has been a welcome return of form and morale for Andrew Christiansen’s ranks who have a good opportunity to build on their lead when they host Sydney Olympic on Saturday afternoon.
The Belmore side were humbled 3-0 by APIA Leichhardt on their own turf in Round 12, a match that saw plenty of positive approach play from John Theodoropoulos’ side but also several costly lapses in crucial areas of the field as APIA Duncan Stewart took advantage to net a fine treble.
Olympic will look to avoid a similar performance at Cromer Park in an encounter the side must take points from to end Round 13 in the top six.
Blacktown City v Sutherland Sharks, 1.00pm at Lilys Football Centre
There’s an action packed Sunday fixture list in the PlayStation 4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 competition but all eyes will be on Lilys Football Centre where second-placed Blacktown City host third-placed Sutherland Sharks.
Blacktown surrendered their competition lead last weekend when they were held to a 2-2 draw by lowly Sydney United 58 in an entertaining affair at Sydney United Sports Centre.
Several close observers of City will say it had been coming for the Ben Wright-coached side, who had previously been comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Manly United in Round 11 and held to a 0-0 draw by dark horses APIA Leichhardt a week earlier.
It gives Sutherland Sharks a genuine opportunity to make a big statement of intent when they arrive at Lilys Football Centre. Allan Edmonson’s outfit have kept two clean sheets in their last two matches on the road and will need no motivation in searching for a third straight as they look to topple Blacktown City for a second time this campaign.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Parramatta, 2.15pm at Lambert Park
Having breezed past Sydney Olympic in Round 12 courtesy of Duncan Stewart’s hattrick APIA Leichhardt return to Lambert Park to host Parramatta on Sunday afternoon.
Three exceptionally taken goals in little over half an hour from the prolific forward got the job done for George Pidis’ side who cruised to their first victory in five matches in Belmore.
The result lifted APIA back into the top four, but that position will no doubt come under threat again in Round 13 with Bonnyrigg, Wollongong, Hakoah Sydney City East and even eighth-placed Olympic well placed should APIA falter.
It’s been a season of frustration so far for Parramatta, but a win at Lambert Park this weekend will bring Mark Zecchin’s outfit right back in the hunt.
Rockdale City Suns v Hakoah Sydney City East, 3.00pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City Suns produced a memorable 3-1 victory over Bonnyrigg White Eagles in Round 12, a result that lifted the side off the bottom of the ladder in place of Sydney United 58.
Undoubtedly buoyed by their first win since Round Four, they face a Hakoah Sydney City East side unbeaten in three matches and on the verge of breaking back into the top six on the back of a strong run of form.
Good value in their 1-1 draw away at Wollongong in Round 12, Hakoah will be hoping for a repeat of their Round Two clash with Rockdale in which the Donato D’Agrosa and Patrick Darvill-coached team dismantled their opponents 4-0 to go outright first on the competition ladder.
And while their dream start to promotion has suffered a number of setbacks since, Hakoah will go a long way to returning to the upper echelon of the competition ladder with three points at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Wollongong Wolves v Sydney United 58, 3.00pm at WIN Stadium
WIN Stadium is the venue for the final match of Round 13 with Wollongong Wolves hosting a Sydney United 58 side fresh from holding reigning champions Blacktown City to a thrilling 2-2 draw at Sydney United Sports Centre last Sunday.
Although it was a standout result for Davor Bajsic’s men in the context of the season it wasn’t enough to prevent their fall into twelfth position as a result of Rockdale’s win over Bonnyrigg, but Sydney will take immense confidence to the South Coast as they look to build on a decent spell of results in the last three weeks.
They will perhaps take inspiration from their last performance away from home in which United 58 stunned leaders Manly United 2-1 at Cromer Park, although Wollongong themselves have been in formidable form of late with their draw with Hakoah last week extending the Wolves’ unbeaten run to four matches.
-By Jacob Windon