Washouts and delays meant only three matches were played across an interrupted Round 2 of the 2019 NPL NSW 20’s competition.
Manly United managed to hold out Sydney FC to come away with a 3-2 win at Cromer Park on Saturday, while Sutherland Sharks got their season off and running with a win over Hakoah Sydney City East.
Blacktown City stay top of the ladder with a handy win over Sydney United 58.
Match of the round: Manly United 3-2 Sydney FC, Sunday at Cromer Park
Manly United picked up their first points of 2019 in dramatic fashion after downing Sydney FC at Cromer Park on Sunday afternoon.
Jack Berte opened the scoring after just three minutes before Sydney FC pegged their hosts back with a goal from the spot from Harry McCarthy. It took until midway through the second half for Manly to break through again, with Maximilian Rogers and William Martin grabbing two in four minutes to put their side out of sight.
Luca Kmet was central to Manly’s opener, turning his marker inside-out down the left flank before cutting a ball inside for the goalkeeper to palm out into a crowded penalty area.
Jack Berte was in the right place at the right time to put his side up 1-0 with only three minutes on the clock.
Sydney FC might’ve equalised soon after going behind when they won a free kick just a few metres outside the area.
Thomas Fay whipped a dangerous ball across the backline which Harry McCarthy met with a diving header, flicking the ball agonisingly wide of the near post.
Fay continued to provide trouble for Manly down the left, and was involved again as the visitors won a penalty with five minutes to halftime.
The winger drove down the flank and cut a pass inside to McCarthy at the top of the box, who kicked the ball up into Sam Wilson’s hand to earn Sydney FC a chance from the spot.
McCarthy smacked his penalty to the keeper’s left and was denied by a fantastic save. Unfortunately for the keeper, the ball could not be cleared before McCarthy was allowed a second opportunity – this time, he made sure his shot hit the back of the net.
Neither side made themselves look particularly dominant in the opening minutes after the break, and it took until midway through the half for Manly to edge in front again.
Maximilian Rogers controlled a quick ball over the top on the right wing, and dropped inside before looping a freakish shot over the goalkeeper and inside the far post.
Sydney pushed to equalise for a second time, and had another great chance from the set piece when Callum Talbot curled a ball in for Tyson Savas at the back post, only for the volley to fly off target.
The visitors might have had designs for a leveller but Manly had other ideas, and scored a third within four minutes of going ahead through Rogers.
Kmet floated a lazy diagonal free kick towards the back post, giving William Martin an age to measure up his header and nod Manly into a 3-1 lead.
Sydney FC had the final say of a see-saw match when Savas flicked a header inside the far post with five minutes remaining, but it was too little, too late for last year’s runners up.
With only a point from their first two games, they will have to wait until Round 3 to remind the competition of their previous form.
Manly United 3 (Berte 3’, Rogers 74’, Martin 78’)
Sydney FC 2 (McCarthy 40’, Savas 86’)
Sunday 10 March, 2019
Cromer Park, Cromer
Sutherland Sharks 2-1 Hakoah Sydney City East, at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks got into their groove in 2019 with a 2-1 win over Hakoah Sydney City East on Saturday afternoon.
Sharks came out firing after a disappointing defeat to Sydney Olympic in Round 1, and were up 2-0 by halftime. The visitors pulled a goal back after the break but were unable to reel their opponents in, and leave Seymour Shaw with nothing to show for their efforts.
Things get no easier for Hakoah next weekend when they travel to Ilinden Sports Centre for a clash with Rockdale, while Sutherland take on APIA in the Tigers’ first game of the season.
Marconi Stallions v Rockdale City Suns, at Marconi Stadium
Mt Druitt Rangers v Sydney Olympic, at Popondetta Park
Blacktown City 4-1 Sydney United 58, at Lily Homes Stadium
Blacktown City brushed aside Sydney United at Lilys Homes Stadium on Sunday afternoon to remain top of the table heading into Round 3 next week.
Adolph Koudakpo notched a brace for the hosts, while Alen Aganovic and Suleyman Bangura also got in on the act as Blacktown put four past the opponents.
Jordan Ivancic pulled one back for Sydney United, who have a week to pick themselves up before they host Wollongong Wolves next weekend.
-By Max Grieve