It is Round 13 and with only ten weeks to go in the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition the pressure is mounting for all twelve teams.
Goal difference is the only thing which separates first placed APIA Leichhardt Tigers from second placed Blacktown City FC, while five teams battle it out for the remaining three playoff spots.
This week’s match of the round features Bonnyrigg White Eagles going head to head with Manly United FC.
Match of the Round
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC v Manly United FC, 7pm Saturday at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg White Eagles will set out to add more misery to Manly United FC’s recent run of poor form when they host the Warren Grieve coached side on Saturday.
Bonnyrigg will be out to bounce back from their 4-1 loss to Sydney Olympic and get their season back on track.
The Brian Brown coached side started to find their groove at the start of the month but have once again lost their way in recent weeks.
A struggling Manly United could be the perfect opposition for the competition’s sleeping giants.
For Manly, a loss could put their finals aspirations out of range.
The visitors will need to live up to their billing and put in a big performance against a fired-up Bonnyrigg team.
Sutherland Sharks v Blacktown City FC, 6pm Saturday at Seymour Shaw
Grant Lee notched his first win as Sutherland Sharks coach last round but will face a much bigger challenge this week when Blacktown City comes to Seymour Shaw.
The Sharks shocked Manly United at Cromer park with Tomohiro Kajiyama and Nathan Elasi scoring twice in the second half to clinch the upset victory
Visiting side Blacktown will not want to give away much at all so the Sharks will need to give no less than their best to snatch another three points
Kajiyama will again be a key component in the Sharks attack with the midfielder in impressive form.
If he and the rest of the Sharks attack combine as they did last week they are in with a good shot to take points away from the clash.
Hakoah Sydney City East FC v APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, 7pm Saturday at Hensley Athletic Field
It was a return to reality for Hakoah Sydney City East against Blacktown CIty last round but that won’t stop Gavin Rae’s side from attempting to stop league leaders APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
The 2-0 loss at Lilys Football Centre ended a four-game unbeaten streak for Hakoah and the boys from Hensley Athletic Field will want to return to that form when they host APIA.
Anthony Bouzanis has been a great addition to the Hakoah backline while the return of Andre DeJong has provided them with extra quality at the other end of the park.
APIA come into the game without conceding a goal in their past three games and firing on all cylinders.
Danial Cummins side has their eyes firmly planted on winning the premiership and should deliver another strong performance.
Hakoah has been a tough customer for the competition’s top sides so this match might not be as cut and dry as it appears for APIA.
Sydney FC v Parramatta FC, 7.45pm Saturday at Lambert Park
Sydney FC will be determined to replicate it’s five goal haul against Parramatta FC from Round 2 when they host the bottom of the table side on Saturday.
They young Sky Blues fought back from 2-0 down in that match to run away convincing winners and coach Robbie Stanton will have his sights set on a much-improved performance this time around.
Coming into the match on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Rockdale City Suns, Sydney FC will need to rediscover their winning ways with midfielders Chris Zuvela, Christian Gonzales and Nikola Kuleski all expected to be key contributors.
For Parramatta the match is a chance to rebuild morale after what has been a difficult season to date.
A win on Saturday night would do wonders for the confidence of Parramatta FC’s players as they battle to avoid relegation.
Wollongong Wolves FC v Sydney Olympic FC, 3pm Sunday at WIN Stadium
Wollongong Wolves have a chance to put their topsy turvy season on the straight and narrow with a win against third placed Sydney Olympic.
Jacob Timpano’s Wolves team has not been able to match expectations so far this season but with 10 rounds to play their is still plenty of time.
What better way to prove you’re a finals contender than to beat a top four side.
With the addition of former Central Coast Mariners and Sheffield United midfielder Nick Montgomery, combined with the impressive form of former Japan international Yuzo Tashiro, Wollongong have the pieces to make a late season finals run.
Sydney Olympic on the other hand have been collecting quality results to sit only three points behind the competition leaders.
With so many teams fighting it out for finals positions they will need to keep their winning ways to ensure they are there when the post season gets underway.
Keep an eye out for Yu Kubuki who has quietly made a name for himself as a danger man in the Olympic attack.
Sydney United 58 FC v Rockdale City Suns, 4pm Sunday at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58’s incredible eight game winning streak may have come to an end but by no means will the Reds drop their guard with rivals Rockdale CIty Suns coming to town.
Last week’s tough 1-0 defeat at the hands of APIA was a bitter pill to swallow for United 58 and they will be set out to put the record straight by claiming all three points against Rockdale.
While Panny Nikas has been in good form for the Reds, the challenge is on his teammates to match the mercurial midfielder’s efforts.
The club has moved swiftly in signing 2016 Golden Boot award winner Chris Payne who recently finished up playing professionally in India in a six month stint.
Rockdale collected the win when the two sides faced off earlier this season and Paul Reid will hope that result gives his team a psychological edge.
Despite a recent run of poor form during the month of May, Rockdale appear to have returned to their winning ways, as appeared to be the case against Sydney FC last round.
Matches between these two teams are always high quality and will surely have fans on the edge of their seat.