Round 2 saw the Wollongong Wolves emerge as the early pace-setters of the NPL NSW Men’s competition recording a resounding 3-0 away victory against the APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
The result sent shockwaves around the competition with Luke Wilkshire’s men pushing their cause that they mean business in 2019.
Sydney United 58 also caught the headlines thanks to a wonderful Matthew Sim free-kick as they proved too strong for Blacktown City with a 1-0 win while there were wins for Rockdale City Suns and Hakoah Sydney City East away from home.
Cromer Park played host to a 1-1 draw between Manly United and Sydney FC while the Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Sydney Olympic match was washed out due to Popondetta Park being deemed unfit after rainy conditions hit Sydney over the weekend.
Blacktown City 0 v Sydney United 58 FC 1
Goalkeeper Thomas Manos saved the day for Sydney United 58 in their National Premier Leagues NSW Mens match away to Blacktown City at Lily Homes Stadium won by a wonder-striker Matthew Sim free-kick.
Manos made three saves in the closing stages to deny City a point after a sublime curling dead ball from Sim secured the spoils.
Patrick Antelmi, the former City player, almost returned to haunt his former club in the opening moments only for gloveman Tristan Prendergast to turn the ball away.
City initially responded by mounting pressure on their rivals however goal scoring opportunities were a rare commodity as the match bogged down in midfield and became a battle of attrition.
Neither side was at it’s best in a lethargic opening opening half and it was no surprise the teams hit the sheds still locked in stalemate.
It wasn’t until the second period the game sprang to life and an early free-kick on the edge of the box was the catalyst.
Sim placed the ball and curled a left-footed shot teasingly up into Prendergast’s left hand corner that gifted all three points to Miro Vlastelica’s men in a match which also saw the debut of former Central Coast Mariner Josh Macdonald.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 0 v Wollongong Wolves 3
APIA Leichhardt Tigers fell to their first defeat of the season on Sunday afternoon as Wollongong Wolves’ Englishman Thomas James ran rampant on a slick surface at Lambert Park hitting a hat-trick with a 3-0 victory.
The hosts started slowly, and were ultimately undone by individual mistakes which were duly punished by a striker in form.
James opened the scoring midway through the first half, before adding a second and a third to complete his hat trick with twenty minutes remaining.
APIA pushed in the closing stages but couldn’t apply a finishing touch to encouraging build-up work, and are left with work to do at the end of the second week of the season.
It’s been a promising start for Luke Wilkshire’s troops who after two rounds have been the talk of the league hoping that they can further their victories with a tricky away trip to Sydney United 58 in round 3.
Manly United 1 v Sydney FC 1
Manly United and Sydney FC were forced to settle for a share of the spoils following a tense 1-1 stalemate at Cromer Park on Sunday afternoon.
National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s football returned to Cromer Park with a bang, with both sides scoring in the 15th and 16th minutes respectively.
The opener arrived courtesy of an impressive Sam Gallagher header, which nestled in the far corner of Thomas Hewerd-Bell’s net.
Sydney FC then fired back instantly, as Hamish Lamberton left the Manly backline in his wake, weaving his way through on goal before poking the ball through the outstretched legs of Dylan Mitchell.
Despite the game initially shaping to be a goal-fest, the frequency of opportunities created by both sides progressively declined as the contest endured.
Sydney fcgrew to dominate the latter stages of the first half, culminating in Lamberton striking the crossbar with a well-timed rocket in additional time.
Manly then took the game to their youthful opponents in the second half, however ultimately failed to gather a clinical touch in the final third.
Marconi Stallions 1 v Rockdale City Suns 2
Rockdale City Suns took out its first victory of the 2019 NPL NSW Men’s campaign and condemned the Marconi Stallions to its second successive loss with a come from behind 2-1 victory at Marconi Stadium on a soggy Saturday evening in Sydney’s West.
The game oscillated in the first half and in the 7th minute, after a scramble near the box, Anthony Frangie had the ball in the back of the net for Marconi, but it was disallowed for offside.
Marconi opened the scoring from virtually nothing in the 22nd minute.
A free-kick made its way forward until it reached Richie Cardozo who beautifully chipped the goalkeeper off his line much to the delight of the home crowd.
Rockdale City Suns got their equaliser in the 68th minute when the ball drifted across to Panny Nikas who was unmarked and the prolific scorer showed that he had lost none of his midas touch as he drilled home and opened the scoring for the visitors.
It sparked a revival for Paul Reid’s men as they found a winner late in the second half.
In the 85th minute the Suns rocked the Stallions when an Alec Urosevski cross from the right reached an unmarked Lecce who, with a powerful diagonal header, beat all and sundry to give the visitors the lead much to the frustration of the Marconi bench.
It proved to be the winner much to the delight of the traveling Suns fans as the Stallions spectators looked on in despair.
Sutherland Sharks 0 v Hakoah Sydney City East 1
A solitary Jack Green strike proved the difference for Hakoah Sydney City East against Sutherland Sharks in a tight encounter at Seymour Shaw on Saturday night.
In an end-to-end contest that could well have produced more goals, both sides were at times wasteful in the final third.
The defining moment of the night arrived six minutes into the second half as Hakoah fullback Jack Green won the ball back on halfway and marauded into the Sharks’ penalty area, before lashing home a thunderous half-volley at the front post.
Whilst the hosts tried as they might to conjure a response, they were repeatedly denied thanks to an outstanding display from their former shot-stopper Ryan Norval.
The result signaled a turnaround in fortunes for both clubs: the hosts were ultimately unable to replicate the form that saw them topple reigning premiers Sydney Olympic last time out, while Hakoah recorded their first victory of the campaign following a disappointing Round 1 display against Sydney FC.