A blockbuster four days of National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s football action awaits fans this Easter Long weekend.
Round seven gets underway on Good Friday with APIA Leichhardt Tigers gunning for top spot when they take on third placed Blacktown City before Sydney Olympic plays host to Manly United in the day’s late game.
Saturday will feature an in-form Marconi Stallions as they welcome a Sutherland Sharks team battling to fight their way off the bottom of the ladder.
The match action continues on Sunday as Rockdale City Suns hope to recover their season with a win against Sydney FC at Ilinden Sports Centre, while Hakoah Sydney City East face off against league leaders Wollongong Wolves.
Round seven comes to a close on Monday as Sydney United 58 take on Mt Druitt Town Rangers.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Blacktown City, Friday 4pm at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt Tigers will have their eye on taking top spot when they host Blacktown City at Lambert Park this Friday.
The Tigers missed a chance to leapfrog Wollongong Wolves last round after being held to a scoreless draw by Hakoah Sydney City East.
John Calleja’s side won’t to throw away another chance like that and a return to their home ground could be the perfect recipe for APIA to rediscover their potency in front of goal.
A serious knee injury has forced David D’Apuzzo off the pitch for an extended stint but young midfielder Sam McIllhatton has stepped into his role in the centre of the park with aplomb.
However, the biggest selection headache facing Calleja is how he manages his wealth of defensive talent with Paul Galimi’s incredible performances keeping star centre back Josh Symons out of the starting eleven.
Blacktown City come into the contest sitting in third position after a narrow 1-0 win against Sydney FC.
A James Demetriou strike saved the day for City in a match where opportunities where few and far between. Off the bench Demetriou found his modjo and he too took his opportunity hoping to score a start this Friday.
The Mark Crittenden coached side has struggled to create and convert chances so far this season and boast the third worst goal tally in the league. Only bottom side Sutherland Sharks and a struggling Rockdale City Suns outfit have found the back of the net less than Blacktown’s six goals.
Focus on keeping things tight at the back has been the secret to City’s climb up the ladder into third spot, but you would have to think their lack of goals could prove to be an Achilles Heel as the season progresses.
Blacktown’s defence will be up against arguably their toughest challenge of the season so far in an electric APIA attack.
It it sure to be a gripping contest between two sides renowned for pushing all the way until the final whistle.
Sydney Olympic FC v Manly United FC, Friday 4.45pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic will be determined to end their Premiership hangover when they take on Manly United at Belmore Sports Ground on Friday.
It’s been a less than ideal start for the reigning premiers who slumped to yet another defeat last week at the hands of Rockdale City Suns.
Abbas Saad’s side has failed to replicate the brand of football which elevated them to an incredible Premiership and Championship double in 2018.
Saad will likely be forced to make a number of changes to his starting side this week with key players Hagi Gligor and Alex Sanchez succumbing to injury against Rockdale while Nikola Kuleski saw red against the Suns.
It will be a great chance for Olympic’s fringe players, like last week’s goal scorer Dimi Petratos, to make a name for themselves as the club battles to keep their season on track.
Their opponents Manly United have had a solid yet unspectacular start to the campaign but would be happy with their fifth spot on the ladder after six weeks.
Manly have only lost one game this season but have had their fair share of drawn matches and collecting a win on the road could be a turning point for Paul Dee’s side.
Last week’s scoreless draw against a 10-man Sutherland Sharks team will be seen as an opportunity lost by Manly with this week’s game a chance to makeup for the dropped points.
Dee has been fairly set with his starting side so far this season, one player that continues to grow in confidence week by week is attacker Dejan Pandurevic who is hoping he can sting the back of the net this Friday.
Olympic are in desperate need of a win but their struggle to find consistency and a growing injury ward could open the door for Manly to cause an upset on Good Friday.
Marconi Stallions v Sutherland Sharks, Saturday 7pm at Marconi Stadium
Full of confidence and hitting top form, Marconi Stallions will be on a mission to collect nothing less than all three points when they host Sutherland Sharks on Saturday night at Marconi Stadium.
The Stallions put on a show of brilliant attacking football in the first half of their clash against Sydney United 58 last week on the way to claiming an incredible 5-0 drubbing of their local rivals.
Coach Peter Tsekenis will be hoping it is a sign of things to come from his side after a less than perfect start to the campaign which earmarked them as the early favourites to take out the title thanks to a number of high profile off-season signings.
It appears as if the star studded Stallions squad is starting to develop some chemistry with improved performances week after week.
Striker Mirjan Pavlovic’s hot run in front of goal in recent weeks will make him one of the first on the team sheet as Marconi look to climb their way up the ladder. Pavlovic has formed a deadly partnership with Marko Jesic with the two hitting a purple patch at the moment.
Sutherland earned some respite from their horror campaign so far when they claimed a 0-0 draw against Manly United last week.
However, Sharks gaffer Terry Palapanis will be hoping for much more from his players as they look to end a five week winless streak.
They will have to do so without key defender and club captain Marc Warren who was sent-off in the dying stages last round.
An injury to Quivi Fowler is also cause for concern for Palapanis with the young attacking midfielder one of a few bright spots for the Sharks so far this season.
Palapanis is hoping his Spanish connection of Juan Carlos Heras Romero and Raul Beneit Romero will spur his side on with the aid of marksman Jeremy Cox.
It could be a tough day at the office for Sutherland if they are below their best this week up against a Marconi outfit flying high and full of confidence.
Rockdale City Suns v Sydney FC, Sunday 4.30pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
A change in coach helped Rockdale return to the winners circle last week and they’ll be hoping to make it two in a row when they host Sydney FC on Sunday.
The Suns were able to bounce back from the sacking of Paul Reid to give new interim gaffer Nick Porrecca the perfect start to his time in the Rockdale hot seat with a 2-1 win against Sydney Olympic.
Porecca resisted the temptation to make wholesale changes last week to a Rockdale side which had failed to score in three games while conceding nine.
Leigh Egger and Aleks Canak returned to the starting team while Khang Hoon Cho was given a call up as the Suns delivered a much improved showing.
The Suns are still without star recruit Panny Nikas who remains sidelined with a knee injury while Alec Urosevski will be looking for a return to the starting team after coming off the bench for the past two games.
Sydney FC suffered a last ditch 1-0 loss last week to Blacktown City in an at times dour contest.
The Young Sky Blues struggled to create chances and paid the price after conceding a winner at the death.
Hamish Lamberton was rewarded with a starting berth after his incredible display seven days early coming on as a substitute. However the young midfielder was unable to replicate his form.
Liam McGing was a standout performer against Blacktown at the heart of defence.
It is sure to be an interesting contest with fans intrigued to see if Rockdale has turned the corner or if they will fall back into bad habits against a hard working and enthusiastic Sydney FC team.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Wollongong Wolves, Sunday 5pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East will be out to unsettle the league leaders when they host Wollongong Wolves at Hensley Athletic Field this Sunday.
Hakoah has had a solid start to the campaign but performances like last week’s 0-0 draw against APIA Leichhardt Tigers is sure to give them the confidence to take it to the competition front-running Wolves.
Bradley Walker’s return to the centre of defence last week was a big addition for Hakoah while Shohei Okuna showed flashes of brilliance playing on the flanks.
The absence of Amaury Gauthier at the point of the attack was felt last week with his replacement Hristijan Tanoski unable to challenge APIA’s back line.
Goals are one thing which has been lacking for Hakoah and if they are to stand a chance against Wollongong they will need to pinch a goal or two.
The Wolves come into the match on a six game unbeaten streak after a late comeback last week helped them avoid defeat in a 1-1 draw against Mt Druitt.
Striker Thomas James has been a revelation for the South Coast side and it was the English-born front man who came to the rescue from the penalty spot in Round six.
Coach Luke Wilkshire is sure to be concerned with how his side allowed Mt Druitt to dictate proceedings despite playing away from home.
Hakoah has shown they have a knack of suffocating opposition attacks especially at their home den and that will be needed if they are to shock Wollongong on Sunday.
Sydney United 58 v Mt Druitt Town Rangers, Monday 3pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58’s season is at a crossroads and nothing less than a win against Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Sydney United Sports Centre this Monday will be enough.
The Reds suffered a humiliating 5-0 drubbing at the hands of Marconi Stallions last week to fall to their second big defeat in three weeks.
It has been a roller coaster season for United 58 who are in desperate need of some consistency from their players.
During a whirlwind opening 30 minutes last week, Miro Vlastelica’s side were torn to pieces by an inspired Stallions team who struck five times to all but secure victory before the end of the opening stanza.
The absence of the injured Yianni Fragogiannis in the heart of defence is being felt with United’s leaky back-line a major cause for concern while club captain Nick Stavroulakis is also making a comeback with his presence sorely missed in last Saturday’s Western Sydney derby.
Defensive woes have also been a problem for opponents Mt Druitt who only two weeks ago conceded 12 goals in three days.
The Rangers bounced back somewhat in a 1-1 draw on the road against league leaders Wollongong Wolves but coach Aidan Desmond is sure to still have his concerns.
One concern sure to be facing Mt Druitt fans is the absence of star winger Toufic Alameddine who has not featured for the side in weeks.
The Rangers have shown that they won’t be a pushover side in the NPL NSW Men’s competition and have been able to hold their own. Alex Boyadjian threw himself about in the match against the Wolves last weekend and he will be out to do the same on Easter Monday.
United 58 will be determined for a big bounce back performance so Mt Druitt could be on the end of another big scoreline if they don’t come prepared.