Week four of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition is upon us and if last week’s action was anything to go by the season is really starting to heat up.
Wollongong Wolves clung onto top spot despite being held to a draw in round three, but Hakoah Sydney City East is on their tail only one point behind in second spot.
The Wolves will return to action on Saturday in the opening match of round 4 when they take on Sydney FC.
Saturday will also feature Marconi Stallions hosting Manly United at Marconi Stadium.
On Sunday four games will take place with Blacktown City taking on Sutherland Sharks, Rockdale playing Mount Druitt Town Rangers, a clash between Hakoah Sydney City East and Sydney Olympic while Sydney United 58 will wrap up the round’s action against APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
Next Wednesday will also feature midweek football as Mount Druitt hosts Sydney Olympic in a catchup match from their rained out round 2 clash.
Sydney FC v Wollongong Wolves, 7pm Saturday at Lambert Park
Sydney FC will be out to upset the competition leaders on Saturday when they host Wollongong Wolves at Lambert Park.
The Young Sky Blues were given a reality check last round as they suffered a 2-0 loss to Marconi Stallions.
It was a tough day at the office for Sydney FC who struggled to find their way in attack.
They will need to work on their effort in the final third if they are to get the win this weekend.
Once again Marco Tilio was the main outlet in attack but he will need some assistance.
Their opponents this week is a Wollongong side flying high at the top of the table.
New coach Luke Wilkshire has the team excelling and unbeaten in three games.
One of the star players has been striker Thomas James who just can’t stop scoring and added to his tally once again last week against Sydney United 58.
He really has been the talk of the NPL NSW Men’s competition.
Japanese Midfielder Takeru Okada also had a breakthrough performance last round against Sydney United 58 and will be full of confidence for a another big showing.
Wollongong have set the pace this season so far and they will be tough to beat.
However, Sydney’s young players shouldn’t be written off and if they can put in a strong performance they will be in with a shot of pulling off an upset.
Marconi Stallions v Manly United, 7pm Saturday at Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions found their groove last week and will be out to make it two wins on the trot when they host Manly United on Saturday.
Their round three win against Sydney FC was the first victory of the campaign and a return to form for the Stallions.
New recruit Anthony Frangie had his best game in Marconi colours so far which is sure to excite club coach Peter Tsekenis and their fans.
Frangie isn’t the only new recruit at Marconi Stadium making a mark with Girogio Speranza proving to be an inspired acquisition.
With so many talented players on their roster, Marconi will be sure to test any opposition and their opponents this week Manly know they will need to be at their best.
The Northern Beaches based side were held to a 2-2 draw by Mount Druitt last week despite taking an early lead.
It was the second straight draw for Manly who have yet to taste victory this season.
Against Marconi they will look to creative midfielder Brendan Cholakian, who claimed a brace against Mount Druitt, one an absolute pearl of a shot, as well as defensive contributor Kieran Paull.
Desperate for a win, Manly will throw everything at Marconi’s star studded squad.
It is sure to be an exciting match with plenty of goals on the menu.
Blacktown City FC v Sutherland Sharks FC, 3pm Sunday at Lily Homes Stadium
A thrilling draw to Sydney Olympic last week is sure to be a motivator for Blacktown City this week as they host Sutherland Sharks.
Blacktown were forced to settle for a point at Belmore Oval despite taking a 2-0 lead and it is sure to be seen as an opportunity lost for the Mark Crittenden coached side.
Leroy Jennings has been one of the standouts for City this campaign since joining the side in the offseason from Sutherland Sharks.
His contribution in attack, alongside the performances of Blacktown club veterans Matt Lewis, Joey Gibbs and Grant Lynch will be key to their success on Sunday.
Their opponents this week is a young Sutherland Sharks team who have shown plenty of promise.
A round one win against reigning Premiers Sydney Olympic hinted that the Sharks could be a surprise packed this campaign but back to back defeats has seen the buzz settle a bit.
A win against Blacktown would be the perfect tonic for the boys from the Shire as they set out to bounce back to winning ways.
Former A-League defender Marc Warren has taken on the captaincy duty with aplomb for his new club and has been week in and week out Sutherland’s best performer.
If the side’s other high profile additions such as Matteo Poljak as well as Spanish duo Juan Carlos and Raul Beneit Romero are able to hit their top form then the Sharks could be ones to watch out for.
Blacktown will go into the game as favourites but Sutherland has the cattle to spring an upset.
Rockdale City Suns FC v Mount Druitt Town Rangers, 4.30pm Sunday at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City Suns will be desperate to forget last week’s horror defeat and will be determined to bounce back with a big win against Mount Druitt Town Rangers on Sunday.
Despite dominating almost all facets of the game, Rockdale went down 3-0 against Hakoah Sydney City East in what was best described as a smash and grab.
Coach Paul Reid was quick to reassure his players and without a doubt they will be motivated to make up for the shock loss last week.
Alec Urosevski was a standout performer against Hakoah and was very unlucky not to find himself on the scoresheet.
Finishing in front of goal and making the most of chances will be a key topic at training this week for Rockdale.
Their opponent this week is a Mount Druitt side who is making the most of their new found top tier status after winning promotion from NPL 2 at the end of last season.
The Aidan Desmond coached side has held their own so far and none more so than an impressive fightback against Manly to snatch a 2-2 draw last week.
This week’s game will have extra meaning for winger Toufic Alameddine who faces off against his former Rockdale teammates for the first time.
Rockdale will not want a repeat of last round’s loss so expect them to be firing from the outset.
Mount Druitt showed they aren’t lacking any fighting spirit so they will be out to push their highly favoured opponents all the way.
Hakoah Sydney City East FC v Sydney Olympic, 5pm Sunday at Hensley Athletic Field
A third consecutive win will be the objective for Hakoah Sydney City East when they host Sydney Olympic at Hensley Athletic Field this Sunday.
The Eastern Suburbs side is flying high in second spot on the ladder and still flying under the radar after three rounds thanks to back to back wins against Sutherland Sharks and Rockdale Sydney City East.
Last week’s 3-0 win against Rockdale was a brilliant display of Hakoah’s patience and resilience as they weathered a storm of attack and limited possession to claw out a brilliant victory.
It will take a similar performance this week against the league’s reigning champions and coach Gavin Rae will surely have his troops fired up for another big showing.
Ryan Norval has been in amazing form in recent weeks and he is set to be a vital piece of the puzzle in this week’s matchup with the goalkeeper set for another busy outing between the sticks.
Amaury Gauthier up front and Adison Sayan in the middle of the park have also been impressive while Nathan Roberts has also provided a solid contribution.
Their opponents Sydney Olympic will be out to see if Hakoah are the real deal.
An incredible 3-3 draw last round against Blacktown City showed that Olympic have plenty of fighting spirit as they battled back from 2-0 down to secure a vital point.
Jason Madonis was the standout for the Abbas Saad coached Blues with his high energy performance.
Star striker Alex Sanchez is returning to top form and will be a handful for the Hakoah defence.
Olympic has not enjoyed the start to the season they would’ve envisioned but remain favourites for this clash.
Hakoah has shown they can hold their own and more against anyone and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they replicate their victory from a week early.
One thing for sure is Hensley Athletic Field is set for a blockbuster this Sunday
Sydney United 58 FC v APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, 5pm Sunday at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58 is set to face off against rivals APIA Leichhardt Tigers on Sunday at Sydney United Sports Centre in a blockbuster match.
United 58 ended Wollongong Wolves winning streak last week with a 2-2 draw at home and are beginning to find their grove.
Miro Vlastelica’s side remain unbeaten with two draws and a win from the first three games to put them in striking distance of top spot.
The departures of Panny Nikas and Chris Payne has seemingly not been felt too heavily by The Reds with Patrick Antelmi one player to have taken on a more central role.
Antelmi will need to be at his best to challenge a battle tested APIA defence but he has the skill to turn a game at any moment.
Another player really finding his element with the Reds is young gun Tariq Maia. He along with Jordan Roberts were the unsung heroes in their side’s 2-2 draw against the Wolves last Sunday.
The Tigers come into the match on the back of a 2-1 win against Sutherland and proved that their 3-0 loss against Wollongong the previous week was a mere lapse.
Payne returns to take on his former club this week in what is sure to be an interesting subplot
The striker claimed a brace against the Sharks and will be out to get one against United 58.
Corey Biczo has been another player in fine form and his speed and trickery on the ball could provide headaches for the Sydney United 58 defence
Matches between these two sides are always full of excitement and this one is sure to be no different.
Mount Druitt v Sydney Olympic FC, 7.30pm Wednesday 3rd April at Popondetta Park
A second game in four days is sure to test Mount Druitt Town Rangers when they host Sydney Olympic FC in a rescheduled Round 2 clash at Popondetta Park this Wednesday.
The Rangers have not looked out of place in NSW’s top tier since winning promotion but this match, especially backing up for a second game in a few days, will be one of their biggest tests.
Carlos Saliadarre has really savoured his return to the NPL NSW Men’s competition and has been in red hot form between the sticks.
Coach Aidan Desmond has prepared a well disciplined unit which showed off plenty of fighting spirit in their Round three clash to claw their way back for a draw against Manly united.
They will need more of the same if they are to take home the points against Sydney Olympic.
Olympic come into the game in less than top form but have shown flashes of what they’re capable of.
The Abbas Saad coach side will also need to deal with the challenges of playing back to back games with squad depth sure to be tested.
Haji Gligor has made an impressive return from injury this season and will be expected to marshal the midfield in this match.
This match will be a big test for both sides and a win would give either team a major confidence boost early in the season.