Sydney Olympic are the new league leaders of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20’s competition after the Blues drew 1-all against Mt Druitt Town Rangers in Tuesday’s rescheduled fixture.
There are a number of big matches on display this weekend with Blacktown City travelling to Sydney FC in Round 6 of the 2019 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20s, while Marconi Stallions and Sydney United 58 will each be desperate for a result as they look to move up the table.
Elsewhere, Sutherland Sharks take on Manly United as they continue to wait to get their season rolling, and Sydney Olympic will look to hold top spot when they face Rockdale City Suns on Sunday afternoon.
Match of the round: Sydney FC v Blacktown City, 5pm at Lambert Park
Sydney FC welcome Blacktown City to Lambert Park on Saturday afternoon in a rematch of last season’s first semi-final, a game won 2-0 by this week’s hosts.
Sydney sit six points behind Blacktown City coming into this one, following a disappointing 2-2 draw with Mt Druitt Rangers in Round 5.
Blacktown City, for their part, recorded a 3-0 win over Manly United at Cromer Park.
Both sides should view this match as an opportunity to stake a claim to the finals positions, even this early in the season.
Sutherland Sharks FC v Manly United, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks were held to a scoreless draw by Sydney United 58 last weekend, extending their winless run to three matches.
Nick Dimovski concedes his side haven’t started as well as he might have hoped, but says he expects a few key players to come back into the fold this week after early injuries.
Sutherland sit eighth, while their opponents this weekend are only a point above them in sixth place.
Manly United have started inconsistently in 2019, winning two matches in a row before slipping to a second defeat of the season to Blacktown City last week.
The visitors won 1-0 when these sides met at Seymour Shaw last year.
Marconi Stallions v Sydney United 58, 5pm at Marconi Stadium
Marconi head into their Round 6 clash with Sydney United 58 in eleventh place, after a 3-3 draw with Hakoah last weekend gave them their second point of 2019 – in fairness, the Stallions have played only three matches so far this season and have two to make up.
The hosts are still winless ahead of their match against United this weekend, but can be hopeful of a result as they welcome an opposition in similarly stuttering form.
Sydney United 58 have won just once and lost on three other occasions, though most recently held Sutherland Sharks to a 0-0 draw at Seymour Shaw.
Wollongong Wolves v Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 1pm at Win Stadium
Wollongong Wolves suffered their third defeat in a row when they were beaten 1-0 by Sydney Olympic last weekend, and remain winless since their Round 2 victory over Sydney United 58.
Wolves sit seventh after their first five games but will like their chances of getting a result against their opponents this weekend, as they host Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Win Stadium.
The competition’s newest side is in ninth heading into Round 6, with both their losses coming in fixtures away from Popondetta.
Still, Mt Druitt are unbeaten in three games, having beaten Rockdale and drawn with Sydney FC before being held by Sydney Olympic in Round 5.
Rockdale City Suns v Sydney Olympic, 2.30pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City Suns come into their Round 6 match with Sydney Olympic in fifth spot after a 2-1 loss to APIA Leichhardt last weekend; their second defeat in as many games.
Needless to say, Rockdale will be looking to get back to form when they take on Sydney Olympic at Ilinden Sports Centre this weekend, but the hosts can’t expect an easy ride against one of the competition’s strongest sides.
Sydney Olympic are behind Blacktown City in second place on goal difference, but crucially have a game in hand. On a four-match winning streak – the latest a 1-0 win over Wollongong Wolves – Olympic pose a significant threat.
Hakoah Sydney City East v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 3pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah managed a 3-3 draw away at Marconi Stadium last weekend, but still remain bottom of the ladder after their first five matches.
Last week’s draw snapped a three-match losing streak, with Hesan Soufi netting a double to earn Hakoah’s second point of 2019. He will need to be in top form again this Sunday, when his side face APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Hensley Athletic Field.
APIA have hit the ground running after returning from an international tournament in preseason and are in third with ten points, having opened up a four-point gap between themselves and Sydney FC in fourth.
Last weekend, they beat Rockdale City Suns 2-1 at Lambert Park.
-By Max Grieve