It was a wet weekend of football in what was an exciting PlayStation4 NPL NSW Men’s 20 competition as the Match of the Round saw a thrilling 2-2 take shape at Lambert Park when both the APIA Leichhardt Tigers and Hakoah Sydney City East shared the spoils.
Match of the Round
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2-2 Hakoah Sydney City East, Sunday 2.15pm at Lambert Park
Two goals in the final twenty minutes saw Hakoah Sydney City East come from behind and a man down to hold a wasteful APIA Leichhardt Tigers team to a thrilling 2-2 draw.
Leading APIA marksman Duncan Stewart continued his fine vein of form with a goal either side of half-time to put the hosts 2-0 up but Hakoah Sydney City East struck late through Harry Jones and Emilio Manos to hold out for a priceless point in the Lambert Park rain.
It was a match that yielded few openings of note as both sides slogged out a combative and fiercely contested opening half.
And although the hosts had offered the visiting Hakoah Sydney City East side a few glimpses on goal through a series of early turnovers, they quickly began to assert their dominance on the game as the half went on.
In what was one of the matches’ finest moments of quality, Hakoah gloveman Cameron Kemp produced an outstanding acrobatic save to deny Matthew Stewart’s audacious volley from outside the box.
The chances began to flow for APIA and Duncan Stewart would soon find himself in the thick of the action after spurning two golden opportunities to break the deadlock; first sending his effort trickling past the post after racing in behind the Hakoah rear-guard, and secondly from the penalty spot after a scuffle inside the box.
But having palmed Stewart’s weak penalty to safety, Kemp was unable to prevent the former Manly United forward for a third time in quick succession. Found at the back post by APIA captain Dominic Cox, Stewart struck both posts via a valiant parry from the Hakoah keeper with the ball finally dribbling over the line for the opening goal.
The in-form APIA goalscorer doubled his tally and the lead for the Lambert Park outfit following the half-time interval after surging past the Hakoah defence from the left and out-foxing Kemp at the near post.
But APIA dropped into cruise control after Stewart’s eleventh of the season and a spirited Hakoah side needed no invitation to retaliate, pulling a goal back through Jordan Koton after Tigers goalkeeper Blake Tuxford could only parry Domenic Cutri’s free-kick in front of the onrushing Hakoah offensive.
The visitors’ quest to restore parity looked to have hit a premature end when Ilan Kessler received his marching orders for a second bookable offence, but Hakoah continued to rally in stirring fashion and drew level late on when Emilio Manos tapped home at the back post following Jones’ flick on.
Both sides traded golden chances in an end to end finale to the affair. Tuxford looked to outshine his opposite number with a diving save to deny Josh Bandur’s fizzing drive, while at the other end, Kemp needed to be at his bravest to block Ramy Alassimi’s last ditch effort.
But there would be no separating the two competition outsiders after ninety minutes and no change for either on the competition ladder, with the seventh and sixth-placed outfits missing the chance to push out of the mid-table logjam after the conclusion of Round 15.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2 (Stewart 42’, 50’)
Hakoah Sydney City East 1 (Koton 70’, Manos 84’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1 C. Theuma, 3 P. Galimi, 8 B. Bartels, 12 D. Cox(C), 17 A. Vlastelica, 25 R. Alassmi, 26 B. Mccarron, 29 C. Phillips, 30 M. Stewart, 31 D. Stewart, 32 D. Travia, 35 C. Stephan, 36 S. Adattini, 37 J. Van Den Berg, 38 S. Gulisano, 50 B. Tuxford(GK)
Yellow Cards: 25 R. Alassimi 89’
Red Cards: N/A
Hakoah Sydney City East: 1 J. Sayle, 2 R. Wolanski,15 J. Bandur,19 D. Cutri, 21 I. Kessler, 22J. Koton, 24 R. Blanco, 26 J. Dimopoulos, 28 A. Karabatsos, 29 H. Jones, 30 C. Kemp, 32 E. Manos, 34 B. Paikin, 35 L. Rovers, 36 L. Thomas, 39 N. Sullivan
Yellow Cards: 22 I.Kessler 7’, 80’
Red Cards: 22 I. Kessler 80’
Blacktown Spartans 1-0 Wollongong Wolves, 5.00pm at Blacktown Football Park
Sallu Kamara’s winner gave struggling Blacktown Spartans a much needed 1-0 win over Wollongong Wolves at Blacktown Football Park in Round 15’s lone Saturday encounter.
The winger netted his second goal of the season to give Samuel Jacob’s side just their second win in ten games to keep their hopes of finals football alive.
The 1-0 upset over the South Coast side breaks a five match unbeaten spell for Wollongong who will lament a missed opportunity to encroach further upon the top four, although Alfredo Esteves’ side still have a game in hand.
Sydney Olympic 2-2 Sutherland Sharks, 1.00pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Competition leaders Sutherland Sharks were held to a thrilling 2-2 draw at Belmore Sports Ground in a result that keeps Allan Edmonson’s side one point ahead of second-placed Blacktown City.
It was a match that lived up to its pre-match billing with Stephen Athanaseris and Peter Liaskos amongst the goals for John Theodoropoulos’ Olympic who join APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Hakoah Sydney City East and Wollongong Wolves on 21 points.
Patrick O’Shea and Ryan Blakeley netted for Sutherland to maintain the Sharks’ position at the summit of the competition ladder with Blacktown City held to a 1-1 draw at home by Parramatta.
Manly United 0-2 Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 1.00pm at Cromer Park
Bonnyrigg White Eagles moved up to third place and level on points with second-placed Blacktown City with a dominant 2-0 win over Manly United at Cromer Park.
It was another statement of intent from the championship dark horses who made it three wins from three courtesy of the victory.
Martin Lo and Andre Guzman struck for Stephen Sigmund’s side consigning Manly United, competition frontrunners only four rounds previous, to their second defeat in their last three matches.
Blacktown City 1-1 Parramatta, 1.00pm at Lilys Football Centre
The spoils were shared between Blacktown City and Parramatta who played out an entertaining 1-1 draw at Lilys Football Centre.
Having returned to winning form against Sydney Olympic last weekend, it was another frustrating setback for Ben Wright’s side who surrendered the opportunity to return to the top of the table with Sutherland dropping points at Belmore.
It could have been worse for the reigning champions when Parramatta’s Josh Symonds opened the scoring late on but George Firth restored parity for Blacktown with his third goal in two weeks.
Sydney United 58 0-2 Rockdale City Suns, 2.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Tolgay Ozbey’s double helped Rockdale City Suns defeat Sydney United 58 as the Ilinden side ran out 2-0 victors at Sydney United Sports Centre.
With both sides languishing at the foot of the table it was an important victory for the visitors who open up a four point gap on bottom placed United 58 as a result of the triumph.