Round 12 of the National Premier Leagues NSW season was a weekend of shock results and upsets.
League leaders Sydney Olympic FC suffered their first defeat since Round 2 on Saturday night as a dogged Bonnyrigg White Eagles claimed an incredible win.
The result opened the door for second placed APIA Leichhardt Tigers to cut Olympic’s three point buffer but they were stunned by Manly United in a Grand Final rematch.
Rockdale City Suns started the second half of the season in fine fashion, while Hakoah also tasted victory.
Marconi and Sydney United 58 shared the spoils, while former Socceroos fan favourite Luke Wilkshire snatched a point for Wollongong Wolves as they played out a draw with Blacktown City.
Sutherland Sharks 0 – Rockdale City Suns 1 at Seymour Shaw
Rockdale City Suns have helped get their season back on track with a hard-fought 1-0 win against Southern Sydney rivals Sutherland Sharks at Seymour Shaw on Saturday night.
It was the perfect start to the second half of the season for the Suns as they claimed an early goal and then clung on to secure all three competition points.in a match which got off to a fast start but quickly cooled.
Young winger Bai Antoniou struck in the fifth minute for Rockdale with a fiercely hit shot from the edge of the penalty area after a mazy run through the heart of the Sharks defence.
It would prove to be the match winner as Sutherland struggled to create any cutting chances of their own in the remaining 85 minutes of action.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 1 – Sydney Olympic 0 at Bonnyrigg Sports Ground
Bonnyrigg White Eagles have stunned league leaders Sydney Olympic with a shock 1-0 upset at Bonnyrigg Sports Ground on Saturday.
A 77th minute strike by Bonnyrigg fan favourite Tynan Diaz in his first game back after a two month injury layoff helped snatch the surprise win and inflict Olympic’s first defeat in 10 weeks.
Olympic struggled to get into gear on a difficult Bonnyrigg pitch and the home side took full advantage.
Both sides had their fair share of chances but it was the fast finishing White Eagles who had too much momentum to stop.
The result opens the door for APIA Leichhardt Tigers to cut Olympic’s three point lead at the top of the standings while it has also brought Bonnyrigg back into finals contention.
Sydney United 58 FC 2 – Marconi Stallions 2 at Sydney United Sports Ground
A stunning first-half fightback has helped Sydney United 58 recover from two goals down and snatch a 2-2 draw from Marconi Stallions at Sydney United Sports Centre on Saturday night.
The intense local derby sprung into life in the opening minutes as Marconi quickly raced into a commanding position with early goals from Sean Rooney and Brandon Vella.
A cunning goal from Chris Payne then sparked a stunning revival which was completed by a stunning free kick from Panny Nikas on the half hour mark.
The hosts were then reduced to ten men after 60 minutes when Nick Stavroulakis saw red for a challenge on Peter Pelekanos.
The closing half hour was riddled with half chances yet neither side could muster a decider as the local derby ended with shared spoils.
Hakoah Sydney City East 3 – Sydney FC 1 at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East has kept their finals hopes alive with a 3-1 win against Sydney FC at Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday.
Hakoah outclassed their opponents for much of the contest and never looked like taking any less that three competition points from the contest.
The home side took a 2-0 lead into the interval thanks to clinical finishes from Harry Jones and Amaury Gauthier.
Sydney FC gave the home side a late scare when Jordan Swibel scored in 85th minute, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal when Young Sky Blues defender Patrick Flottmann turned the ball into his own net in the 90th minute to ensure Hakoah the win.
The result moves Hakoah to sixth in the standings only one point outside the top five, while Sydney FC finish Round 12 at the foot of the ladder.
Blacktown City FC 1- Wollongong Wolves 1 at Lily Homes Stadium
Returning great Luke WIlkshire was the saviour for Wollongong Wolves as they fought back to clinch a 1-1 draw against Blacktown City at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
Wilkshire scored his first goal for the Wolves since making his return to the club where he made his breakthrough to deny Blacktown a vital three points.
Joey Gibbs had the home side in the box seat when he hit the back of the net on the 40 minute mark to give his side a 1-0 lead.
However, Blacktown was unable to kill off the fixture and paid the price when the former Socceroos World Cup star struck after 61 minutes to secure a point for a resurgent Wolves.
The result proved costly for Blacktown as Mark Crittenden’s side missed the chance to cut the gap to the top of the table with Sydney Olympic and APIA Leichhardt Tigers both suffering shock defeats..
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 0 – Manly United FC 1 at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt has squandered a glorious chance to overtake Sydney Olympic at the top of the NPL NSW Men’s ladder after suffering a surprise 1-0 defeat at the hands of Manly United at Lambert Park on Sunday.
It was an afternoon defined by missed opportunities for the home side who couldn’t find a much needed goal as Manly took full advantage of the luck on their side to collect all three points.
Despite enjoying the run of play for the best part of the match, the Tigers were unable to make the most of the chances that fell their way, leaving the visitors to edge the game with a single goal from Kieren Paull in the dying moments of the first half.
Shaun Catlin put in an imperious performance in the Manly goal, earning Paul Dee’s men their first win in a month.