Round 18 of the PlayStation®4 NPL NSW Men’s U20 competition saw four wins for the top four, while Blacktown City continued to drop away with a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Wollongong Wolves.
Elsewhere, the finals hopes for Sydney Olympic and Parramatta were all but mathematically extinguished, while Blacktown Spartans may soon be joining them after a 2-1 loss to APIA Leichhardt.
The Match of the Round was at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre where all eyes were on the White Eagles after their 3-1 defeat to Sutherland in Round 17.
Match of the Round
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2-1 Sydney Olympic, Saturday 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
Bonnyrigg midfielder Andre Guzman scored twice as the White Eagles condemned a wasteful Sydney Olympic side to a crushing 2-1 defeat at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre on Saturday evening.
Guzman broke the deadlock midway through the first half in what was the ultimate sucker punch for the travelling Olympic side, who had earlier squandered a slew of opportunities to take the lead and were reduced to ten men when captain James Combes was sent off in the final moments of the encounter.
Before that, it looked as though Bonnyrigg had strangled the visitors out of the contest in a second half highlighted by a lack of composure in front goal for either team, but Olympic found an equalizer with under ten minutes remaining when Aedon Kyra nodded past the excellent Stevan Savicic.
However it was one of the contests standout performers in Guzman who had the final say in a quick-fire response from the home team, keeping his cool in front of goal immediately after Kyra’s equalizer to steal back the win and maintain Bonnyrigg’s championship assault.
Another regretful evening for the Belmore club started promisingly as Olympic adopted an aggressive approach in what was a must win game in order to keep slim finals chances alive.
Michael Loupis flashed a free-kick over the bar early on, while there was a worrying moment for Bonnyrigg when Savicic collected the ball off the toes of the onrushing Nikita Andricopolous who looked in pole position to tuck the ball home.
With the visitors on top, Loupis missed a glorious opportunity to capitalize on Olympic’s dominance when he found himself with only Savicic to beat at the back post, but the attacker saw his tame effort easily handled by the Bonnyrigg goalkeeper.
It was to be a key moment in the context of the result, as the White Eagles took the lead from the resulting transition when Guzman and Harry Bagot combined for the former to place a superb curling effort into the top right corner.
Guzman’s strike came completely against the run of play and provoked another series of chances for Olympic, with Savicic offering the save of the match moments into the second half when he clawed away a swerving half-volley from Loupis.
Returning to the same pitch where the hosts hammered eight goals past Blacktown City three weeks ago, it was an off night for the likes of Asmir Kadric who was uncharacteristically hesitant with his treble of second half chances, although the White Eagles marksman nearly completed a superb solo effort midway through the second half but sent his shot fizzing wide of the goal.
And it looked as though Olympic would punish the competition heavyweights when Aedon Kyra headed Loupis’ corner past Savicic to bring the scores level, but Guzman kept his composure inside the box in the final minutes after good work from Kadric to steer a curling effort past Blues custodian Denver Crickmore and consign Olympic to a hugely disappointing defeat.
It was the most frustrating result of the season according to Olympic coach John Theodoropoulos who lamented his side’s failure to convert their promising approach play into end product.
“We set ourselves a target of 15 points from the remaining five games so it makes it very difficult to make the finals now.
“But we will at least use the end of the season as a platform for next year”.
Bonnyrigg’s Stephen Sigmund praise his side for their resilience but recognised the need for improvement for the White Eagles who face lowly Sydney United 58 next round.
“I’m happy with the way we ground out the result tonight, but we can’t afford to play like this next week.
“It’s these kind of results that we will hopefully look back on at the end of the season.”
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2 (Guzman 23’, 85’)
Sydney Olympic 1 (Kyra 83’)
Saturday 16th July, 2016
Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Bonnyrigg
Bonnyrigg White Eagles: 8 H. Tucker, 11 L. Ivanovic, 14 T. Mcdonald, 20 S. Savicic(GK), 22 H. Bagot, 23 D. Cupac, 24 L. Debrot, 27 A. Guzman, 29 Z. Kolundzic, 30 N. Krljar, 31 M. Lo, 32 J. Rose, 33 A. Mandic, 35 K. Zarafetas, 36 A. Kadric, 49 M. Rowston
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Sydney Olympic: 82 N. Andricopoulos, 71 C. Antoniou, 84 B. Caulker, 9 C. Triantis, 52 M. Loupis, 1 E. Davis, 20 D. Crickmore, 38 S. Athanaseris, 39 M. Nicolaou, 40S. Katsionis , 46 A. Kyra, 48 P. Liaskos, 49 A. Hadjisocratous, 50 J. Combes, 51 S. Malfara
Yellow Cards: 51 S. Malfara 85’
Red Cards: 50 J. Combes 90’
Hakoah Sydney City East 0-3 Sutherland Sharks, 5.00pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Sutherland Sharks continued their impressive charge toward the finals with a routine 3-0 win over Hakoah Sydney City East at Hensley Athletic Field.
It was another impressive showing from Sharks marksman Jeremy Cox who notched a brace against Hakoah following his hattrick against Bonnyrigg White Eagles a fortnight ago, while a goal from Patrick O’Shea completed the comfortable evening for Allan Edmondson’s side.
Sutherland remain in second place while Wollongong’s 2-0 defeat of Blacktown City sees Hakoah drop into seventh place.
Blacktown Spartans 1-2 APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 1.00pm at Blacktown Football Park
APIA forward Duncan Stewart’s 17th goal of the season has guided the Tigers to an important 2-1 win over Blacktown Spartans at Blacktown Football Park.
Alex Mooy put the Spartans ahead at half-time and on course for the win that would keep the finals hopes of the Blacktown club alive but second half goals from Stewart and Christopher Philips sealed the away victory for George Sidis’ outfit.
The triumph places gives APIA Leichhardt a three-point buffer to fifth-placed Wollongong Wolves while the Spartans stay in eighth position.
Parramatta 0-3 Sydney United 58, 1.00pm at Melita Stadium
Sydney United 58 continued their late season revival with a 3-0 defeat of Parramatta at Melita Stadium.
The Reds put further distance between them and last placed Rockdale with the three points, leapfrogging the Eagles into tenth place in the process after a brace from James Temelkovski and Ante Vrlic.
It was a sorry afternoon for Parramatta meanwhile who conceded their slim chances of making the finals after a disappointing showing on home soil.
Rockdale City Suns 0-6 Manly United, 3.00pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Manly United consolidated top spot on the competition ladder with a 6-0 drubbing of lowly Rockdale City Suns at Illinden Sports Centre.
The first-versus-last placed encounter lived up to its billing as the championship frontrunners raced to a 4-0 lead at half-time before adding another two in the second stanza to consign Rockdale to a humiliating defeat.
Mitch Rooke notched a double while Eddie Rinaldi, Aidan Hancock, Hamish Gailbraith and Alex Partridge all got in on the action for Manly as Andrew Christiansen’s side sent out a warning to their closest competitors.
Wollongong Wolves 2-0 Blacktown City, 3.00pm at WIN Stadium
Wollongong Wolves piled further misery on Blacktown City and replaced the reigning champions in the top five in the process with a 2-0 win at WIN Stadium.
It’s now three losses on the bounce for City who were sent back to Seven Hills empty handed after goals from Jack Lombo and Jake Trew helped the Wolves to a crucial three points.
The South Coast side advance past Hakoah Sydney City East and Blacktown City on the competition ladder while City slip out of the finals positions for the first time this campaign.
–By Jacob Windon