After every round of the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Men’s season Team of the Week brings to focus the best players from that weekend.
A 3-0 trouncing at the hands of Sutherland put a dent in Bonnyrigg’s finals hopes, with Sharks midfielder Jack Press producing a classy performance. Sutherland ran riot in the opening exchanges, catching the Bonnyrigg defence napping as they launched raid after raid. After firing one over the cross bar, Press made amends in the 13th minute when he guided a beautiful cross into the back of the net. In his first year with the Sutherland franchise, Press continued to link up well with the midfield as he kept the pressure on Bonnyrigg. Press almost had a brace but could only watch as his strike hit the woodwork.
APIA held on to defend a slender lead against Rockdale in a tight affair. Despite being in control for much of the game, the Suns couldn’t trouble the scoreboard. A swift move from a throw-in saw striker Tasuku Sekiya latch onto a great ball to slam home the opener in the 8th minute. The Japanese goal machine continued to menace the Suns as he searched for his second but couldn’t find the net. Team mate Corey Biczo was solid on the left edge, foiling the Rockdale attack and making some probing runs to keep the home side back pedalling. Sekiya’s goal proved to be the match winner as his side escaped with a 1-0 victory.
The Manly attack continued to show no mercy, recording an entertaining 3-1 win over Wollongong at Cromer Park. Scoring their 17th goal in 4 weeks, the Manly outfit looked full of confidence playing in front of their home crowd. A lacklustre first half was broken open by Adam Parkhouse, with a sharp run down the left wing and a brilliant pass to Brendan Cholakian who slotted home. However an equaliser brought the Wolves back into the game. Ace striker Richie Cardozo then turned back the clock with a sublime overhead goal showing both skill and athleticism. The 30-year-old soon had a second after some slick passes saw him score from just 3 yards out. For the visitors, Darcy Madden shined in a resilient performance, defending courageously as he attempted to spark his team.
Sydney Olympic kept the belief of a finals appearance alive with an easy 3-0 win against Parramatta. Harris Gaitatzis was unstoppable up front for Olympic, bagging an impressive hat trick. The experienced striker was everywhere, proving to be a thorn in attack for the Parramatta defence. After pouncing on a Parramatta mistake for his first goal, Gaitatzis showed excellent skill to hold up the defence and sneak home a second goal. His hat trick was complete in the 91st minute after providing great support to strike into an open net. Defender Mitchell Stamatellis was solid at the back, putting immense pressure on Parramatta to deny them any sniff at goal.
Blacktown City survived a scare from Hakoah to break a winless run that stretched back to early June. In an improved performance after last week’s shocking defeat, Hakoah looked dangerous as they pressed relentlessly around the City goal. But for the most part, goal-keeper Nenad Vekic had the upper hand with some fantastic saves. Having been declared the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 1 goal-keeper of the year in 2015, Vekic returned to his scintillating best, denying Hakoah when goals looked certain. His fellow 2015 Team of the Year member Danny Choi lead the City attack superbly with some fine touches, scoring himself in the 14th minute. Choi was on fire on the left flank for much of the match but couldn’t unleash a killing blow as Hakaoh kept themselves in touch until the final stages, eventually going down 3-2.
Sydney United rolled on to another clinical win, downing Spartans 3-1 at home. Once again, it was a strong defensive showing that built the foundations for United’s victory, as Tomislav Uskok continued where he left off last week with an excellent performance at centre back. Displaying his classy A-League experience, Uskok rallied his team well as the Spartans attacked with renewed energy that had been missing for much of the season. Holding a 2-1 lead heading into the second half, Sydney United had to stave off some attacking raids from the visitors before clicking into gear late in the second half to cruise to a win that consolidates their comfortable lead at the top of the ladder.
GK – Nenad Vekic Blacktown City
LB – Darcy Madden Wollongong Wolves
CB – Tomislav Uskok Sydney United 58
RB – Mitchell Stamatellis Sydney Olympic
LM – Corey Biczo APIA
CM – Danny Choi Blacktown City
CM – Jack Press Sutherland Sharks
RM – Adam Parkhouse Manly United
ST – Richie Cardozo Manly United
ST – Harris Gaitatzis Sydney Olympic
ST – Tasuku Sekiya APIA