After Round 13 of the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 competition was cut in half as a result of Sydney’s wild weather, Round 14 will see a full round of action return around the grounds as competition leaders Manly United look to remain in front at the summit.
Andrew Christiansen’s table-toppers face a tricky venture to Melita Stadium, whilst two premiership dark horses clash at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre where Bonnyrigg White Eagles host APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
But the Match of the Round is in Belmore where Sydney Olympic host Blacktown City.
Match of the Round
Sydney Olympic v Blacktown City, Sunday 5.00pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic will be hoping to capitalize on a downtrodden Blacktown City when Ben Wright’s side travel to Belmore to take on Olympic this Sunday.
A 1-0 loss to Sutherland Sharks at home last weekend extended a run of four matches without a win for competition heavyweights, who will be desperate on ending what has been an uncharacteristically poor run of form.
Sutherland leapfrogged the reigning champions into second place with the victory and another loss for Blacktown could see them slide further down the pecking order with Bonnyrigg, APIA Leichhardt and Sunday’s opponents Sydney Olympic all within striking distance.
John Theodoropoulos’ side will be buoyed by an exceptional 4-3 victory over competition leaders Manly United last weekend, a result that heralded the arrival of a crucial gain in the striking department with former Sydney United 58 prospect Adam Voloder netting a hattrick on debut.
With Adrian Vranic seemingly a key part of the first team picture at Olympic, the lack of a goalscoring number nine was seen as the only missing link in the Belmore side’s title charge and the side will welcome Blacktown with a growing sense of momentum.
But the buck has to stop at some stage for City, and Olympic will no doubt be wary of a wounded animal come Sunday evening.
Sutherland Sharks v Sydney United 58, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Allan Edmondson’s Sutherland are continuing to make waves on their charge up the competition ladder and with a remarkable third consecutive away clean sheet in their victory over Blacktown City last Sunday, the Sharks have established themselves as genuine premiership contenders.
No other club is carrying more momentum than second-placed Sutherland with five wins from their last six, who find themselves a solitary point off leaders Manly United. They’ll be looking to put more pressures on the Cromer Park side when they host bottom-placed Sydney United 58 on Saturday afternoon.
Despite their lowly standing United 58 have matched it with the best during their high points so far this campaign. Davor Bajsic’s youthful ranks led Blacktown City 2-0 on the opening day before eventual defeat, beat leaders Manly United 2-1 at Cromer Park in Round 10 before holding City to a 2-2 draw in Round 12.
A side who seemingly raise their performance against the big boys, this will be a potential banana-skin for Sutherland who will go toe to toe with a side containing plenty of flair and nothing to lose.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
It’s fourth versus fifth at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre where Bonnyrigg White Eagles host APIA Leichhardt Tigers on Saturday evening,
Bonnyrigg returned to winning ways after defeating Blacktown Spartans 3-1 at Blacktown Football Park last weekend and although the Stephen Sigmund coached side have been inconsistent in the last month they look to have emerged from this rocky spell still in fourth place and in premiership contention.
That could change when APIA Leichhardt visit Bonnyrigg Sports Centre on the weekend. The Lambert Park outfit will be hoping to avoid a repeat performance in their 1-0 defeat to the White Eagles only a fortnight ago and with striker Duncan Stewart in a rich vein of form George Sidis will hope his charges can break through the Bonnyrigg resolve for a crucial three points.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Blacktown Spartans, 5.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East and Blacktown Spartans meet at Hensley Athletic Field looking to maintain their respective fights for a finals position, but the two sides approach the encounter in radically opposed dispositions.
Blacktown Spartans were consigned to a miserable 3-1 defeat at home to Bonnyrigg last weekend, only a week after Samuel Jacob’s side ended a seven-match wait without a win with a triumph over fellow strugglers Parramatta.
The Spartans will have to turn another corner to remain in finals contention and it won’t be easy against a resilient Hakoah team who sit a point above their rivals with a game in hand.
Hakoah were unlucky to lose out to the Spartans in Round 3’s 2-1 defeat and they will certainly fancy their chances at avenging that particular result and plunging the Blacktown club further down the pecking order.
Parramatta v Manly United, 3.00pm at Melita Stadium
Despite going down 4-3 to Sydney Olympic in last Saturday’s thriller at Cromer Park, Manly United remained on top of the table with Blacktown City faltering for the fourth week in a row.
They will be looking to bounce back to the form that saw Andrew Christiansen’s wrestle the competition lead off City only weeks ago when they travel to Melita Stadium to take on Parramatta.
With his side seven points of sixth position, Parramatta custodian Mark Zecchin might be tempted to brand the visit of the competition leaders as a must win and the sheer unpredictability of results in this year’s campaign makes this a salivating match up – one that could be pivotal in changing the state of play at the top yet again.
Wollongong Wolves v Rockdale City Suns, 3.00pm at WIN Stadium
Rockdale City Suns travel to Wollongong Wolves seeking a win that would further the gap between themselves and 12th placed Sydney United 58 at the bottom of the table.
While a finals finish isn’t completely beyond any of the campaign’s strugglers, Rockdale will need to escape the South Coast with a result in order to start climbing the ladder. There have been steady signs of improvement from the Ilinden side in recent weeks, particularly a 3-1 win away at Bonnyrigg in Round 12 that will need to be the platform for further improvement.
Wollongong meanwhile know a win is crucial to keep the pressure on the current top six and enter the encounter in solid form with zero losses in their last four. Notoriously difficult to break down, Alfredo Esteves’ side will have their eyes set on three points that could see the side settle into fifth position with a game in hand on the teams above them.