It was a penultimate weekend to savour in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20’s with a late Sydney United 58 FC goal setting up an intriguing three horse race for the premiership next weekend.
Match of the Round
Sydney United 58 v Manly United, Sunday 2.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58 have blown the 2016 Men’s 20’s Premiership race wide open after young promising forward Liam Ivancic struck a dramatic late equalizer in a thrilling 2-2 draw with Manly United.
Ivancic pounced on a quickly taken free-kick from Reds defender Daniel Dias and coolly lobbed Manly shot stopper Shaun Catlin with what was the last kick of the game to ensure the premiership will go down to the wire next Sunday.
While Manly remain top on goal difference ahead of their crunch match with Blacktown City next weekend, it was nevertheless a bitter blow for Andrew Christiansen’s side who were 2-0 up and cruising courtesy of Sipan Berti’s first-half strike and Nathan Separovic’s penalty minutes into the second stanza.
Results on Saturday night saw second-placed Sutherland Sharks and third-placed Bonnyrigg White Eagles maintain the pressure on the competition leaders with a pair of routine victories.
Understandably feeling the pressure, it was a nervous start from the visitors who struggled to muster the formidable poise and cohesion that has been omnipresent in their premiership tilt to date.
Conversely, the eleventh-placed Reds distributed the ball with impressive verve and should’ve taken the lead after just ten minutes when United 58 marksman James Temelkovski raced clear on goal only to thrash his effort over the crossbar.
It was an uncharacteristically wild finish from Temelkovski, the youthful forward being a bright spot in a meagre 2016 campaign for Davor Bajsic’s side, and after failing to capitalize on their promising start Manly punished the visitors in clinical fashion.
Travis Cooper surged down the right and saw his cutback deflected into the path of Berti who guided the visitors ahead with the easiest of finishes.
Manly consolidated their position with an early second half penalty. Cooper was again involved after beating Trent Sierra down the right before his cross was illegally handled inside the box as the Reds fullback attempted to recover.
Nathan Separovic doubled the lead despite the best efforts of United 58 custodian Gabriel Koliomihos, who managed to get a firm hand on the forward’s penalty but could only push it into the side netting.
The spot kick was unconvincing from Separovic, but Manly settled and maintained control of the contest, nearly adding a third when Julian Rinaldi hit the underside of the post after breaking free down the right, while Koliomihos made a solid intervention to prevent a fiercely struck effort from Mitchell Rooke.
But the encounter turned upon the introduction of Reds livewire Jonah Caragher. Injected into the contest late, the United 58 substitute pulled a goal back for Davor Bajsic’s side after tricking his way past a slew of desperate Manly challenges inside the box before finding the bottom corner.
The substitute went agonizingly close to clinching a brace and a timely equalizer minutes later after another wonderful turn inside the box but saw his effort sail inches past the post.
With Manly holding on for dear life, there was time for one last attack for the hosts and with Dias spotting space in behind the visitors’ backline, Ivancic hared after the defenders ball and lifted it over Catlin for what could be the most important strike of the 2016 season.
Sydney United 58 2 (Caragher 74’, Ivancic 90’)
Manly United 1 (Berti 32’, Separovic 47’)
Sunday 7th August, 2016
Sydney United Sports Centre, Edensor Park
Sydney United 58: 38 J. Caragher, 29 D. Dias, 27 M. Donatiello, 40 G. Koliomihos, 25 J. Markovic, 34 T. Patroulias, 39 T. Sierra, 15 J. Stewart, 36 J. Temelkovski, 35 A. Vlismas, 31 A. Vrlic, 26 K. Vlismas, 1 L. Pervan, 32 M. Rizovski, 9 L. Ivancic, 33 A. Trimboli
Yellow Cards: 15 J. Stewart 34’, 29 D. Dias 85’
Red Cards: N/A
Manly United: 26 C. Baker, 16 S. Berti, 20 S. Catlin, 23 H. Galbraith, 12 H. Gallagher, 24 A. Hancock, 27 B. Lemay, 25 A. Partridge, 35 J. Rinaldi, 28 M. Rooke, 36 N. Separovic, 33 R. Spiers, 1 M. Syron, 32 M. Zanon, 13 S. Balderson, 7 T. Cooper
Yellow Cards: 28 M. Rooke 78’
Red Cards: N/A
Sutherland Sharks 2-0 Blacktown Spartans, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks ensured the 2016 premiership fate would be sealed on the final weekend of the regular season with a routine 2-0 victory over ten-man Blacktown Spartans at Seymour Shaw.
Needing a win to maintain pressure on competition leaders Manly United, Allan Edmondson’s side cruised to a comfortable home win with marksman Jeremy Cox continuing his fine late season form with his sixth goal in five matches, while Matias Da Silva Santos enjoyed his first goal in Sutherland blue to round off the win.
Another disappointing evening for Blacktown Spartans was capped by the dismissal of Connor Powers and with Samuel Jacob’s side missing out on crucial club championship points, the Spartans look destined for relegation unless they can pull off a series of results in next week’s fixtures against Sydney Olympic next week.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3-0 Hakoah Sydney City East, 5.00pm at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg White Eagles ensured themselves an outside chance at grabbing the premiership next weekend with a 3-0 drubbing of Hakoah Sydney City East at Bonnyrigg Sports Club.
Stephen Sigmund’s side were far too clinical for a badly out of form Hakoah outfit with goal from Hayden Tucker, Luke Ivanovic and Dalibor Malesevic consigning the league newcomers to their sixth straight defeat.
The White Eagles will need to take all three points against Wollongong on the South Coast next week and hope both Manly United and Sutherland slip up in their respective matches in order to maintain their premiership tilt.
Parramatta 2-1 Wollongong Wolves, 5.00pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Parramatta ended the finals aspirations of Wollongong Wolves with a gritty 2-1 victory at Sydney United Sports Centre.
Goals from Christo Hanna and Michal Rydzewski continued the impressive late season resurgence of the Eagles who leapfrog Wollongong into seventh place as a result of the win.
Justin Ivanovic’s third of the season wasn’t enough for Alfredo Esteves’ outfit to keep their season alive, although Wollongong will still have plenty to play for in the form of vital club championship points in next weekend’s clash with Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
Blacktown City 1-2 APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 1.00pm at Lilys Football Centre
Duncan Stewart’s 20th goal of the season led APIA Leichhardt Tigers to a crucial 2-1 win over Blacktown City as the Lambert Park outfit sealed their position in the top four.
Goals from Stewart and Matthew Cook proved enough for Blacktown City who netted a consolation through Riku Sasaki.
The reigning champions received a further blow with the dismissal of Jonathan Grozdanovski, and with Ben Wright’s side still yet to confirm their place in the top five they will need to get a result against competition leaders Manly United in next week’s showdown at Cromer Park.
Sydney Olympic 1 v Rockdale City Suns 0, 5.00pm at Seymour Shaw Park
Sydney Olympic kept its slim chances of making the top five after securing a gritty 1-0 victory over the Rockdale City Suns at Seymour Shaw on Sunday.
The only goal coming courtesy of Adam Voloder who gifted the Blues the three precious points leaving them three points adrift of fifth placed Blacktown City FC.