Rockdale City Suns sit pretty at the top of the NPL NSW Men’s 20’s ladder, while Sydney United 58 languish at the bottom.
There’s still plenty of opportunity to shape the 20s ladder, with games to make up, and surprising results across the weekend.
Match of the round: Sydney FC 0-0 Marconi Stallions, Saturday at Lambert Park
Sydney FC and Marconi Stallions played out a dour scoreless draw at Lambert Park on Saturday afternoon, with neither side able to find the back of the net in a grinding contest.
Sydney FC settled on the ball, and looked comfortable from the off. Paolo Bonanni stroked his passes across the backline with confidence, and the hosts moved the ball through the midfield with purpose.
Benjamin Koop had the first attempt at goal, taking a swipe at the ball which was easily gathered by the goalkeeper.
Marconi’s Billy Nunes quickly established himself as a nuisance down the left flank, and nearly put his side ahead just before the twenty minute mark when he jinked inside his defender in the box, only to see his shot blocked away.
He followed up with a weak shot on goal after good work in the build-up soon after; again failing to deliver on promising play.
Marconi offered the occasional threat but Sydney took control from the early stages and continued to look more likely to break the deadlock. Callum Talbot took the ball on the right and cut a pass inside to Koop, who hacked a shot away under pressure from the visiting keeper.
By the break, Sydney FC had taken nine shots at goal, with nine finding the target. They picked up in the second half where they left off in the first, with Koop ducking in behind as he looked to take a pass ahead of the Marconi backline, only for the ball to skip off an outstretched foot and out for a corner.
Thomas Fay dropped a shoulder and flicked a pass inside to Harry McCarthy, whose shot was never a threat to the goalkeeper.
McCarthy had another half-chance as the second half wore on, drifting away from his defender in the box only for the ball to run past him and out of play.
It was forty-five minutes of football that would be generously described as entertaining, and recognising as much, the referee blew the final whistle without adding any time. Both sides must wait until Round 4 for their first win of 2019.
Sydney FC 0
Marconi Stallions FC 0
Saturday 24 March, 2019
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Sydney FC: 17. TALBOT Callum, 16. BONANNI Paolo, 14. FAY Thomas, 24. HOLLMAN Jake, 26. AMEY Sam, 27. GURD Aaron, 23. MCCARTHY Harry, 18. KOOP Benjamin, 40. LEVI Kaye, 31. BROWNING Scott, 22. MASCIOVECCHIO Alex
Marconi Stallions: 5. BALDACCHINO James, 13. NICOLAOU Yianni, 38. NUNES Billy, 26. NICOLAOU Kristofer, 28. FERNANDEZ Martin, 35. SOARES Kye, 31. NASCIMBEN Christian, 17. SEKUTKOSKI Kristian, 41. CHIBA Ashour, 36. RAILZ Nicholas, 29. DOSANJH Ethan
Sutherland Sharks 0-0 APIA Leichhardt Tigers, at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks were held to a 0-0 draw at Seymour Shaw by APIA Leichhardt Tigers, and finish the third round of the season in sixth place ahead of a trip to Blacktown City.
APIA, meanwhile, failed to get their delayed season off to a winning start, and can look forward to a clash with Marconi Stallions with ground to make up.
A draw is a disappointing result for the hosts, while APIA can be pleased with a point away to a difficult opponent.
Manly United 1-0 Mt Druitt Town Rangers, at Cromer Park
Manly United edged a 1-0 win at home to Mt Druitt Town Rangers; Luca Kmet scoring the only goal of the game to put Manly in fifth heading into week four of 2019.
Mt Druitt slumped to their second defeat of the year at Cromer, and will look ahead to their match with Rockdale to get their season properly underway.
Manly United will travel to Marconi Stallions in Round 4 as they look to get their footing in the finals place early in the year.
Rockdale City Suns 3-0 Hakoah Sydney City East, at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale sit top of the competition after three weeks, and can feel confident about rounding out the month unbeaten with a home match against Mt Druitt to come.
Leigh Egger, Blake Currey and Jordan Figon scored for Rockdale as they breezed past Hakoah Sydney City East at Ilinden Sports Centre.
Hakoah move onto a Round 4 clash with Sydney Olympic, having been dealt a hefty defeat by one of the biggest contenders in this year’s 20s competition.
Sydney Olympic 3-1 Blacktown City FC, at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic head into their fourth round match against Hakoah Sydney City East in good stead after a smart defeat of Blacktown City at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday afternoon.
Alex Gollan, Ericson Ehiozee and Genki Kohyama netted for the hosts, while Carlos De Oliveira grabbed a consolation goal in the second half after Olympic went ahead in the first.
Olympic travel to Hakoah next week, while Blacktown will look to get back to winning ways when they host Sutherland Sharks.
Sydney United 58 FC 1-2 Wollongong Wolves FC, at Sydney United Sports Centre
Bul Juach scored either side of halftime to give Wollongong Wolves a handy win over Sydney United 58 on Sunday afternoon.
Wollongong stole into fourth place after taking three points at Sydney United Sports Centre, and can be confident of keeping their run going when they take on Sydney FC at Lambert Park next weekend.
Sydney United 58, meanwhile, will look to rebound – and move off the bottom of the ladder – when they host APIA Leichhardt Tigers in Round 4.
-By Max Grieve