Blacktown City remain top of the pile heading into Round 7 of the 2019 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20s, with a two point lead after Sydney Olympic lost their first match of the season.
A week after beating Sydney FC, Blacktown return to Lambert Park to face APIA Leichhardt Tigers in the Match of the Round. Sydney Olympic will try to find lost form when they take on Manly United in the other match on Good Friday, while Hakoah and Wollongong Wolves face off at the other end of the ladder.
Match of the Round: APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Blacktown City FC, 2pm Friday at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt are in solid form ahead of their Good Friday clash with competition leaders Blacktown City, having lost just once in their first six games to head into Round 7 in third place.
Last week the Tigers came from behind to claim a 2-2 draw with Hakoah Sydney City East, while Blacktown City edged past Sydney FC at Lambert Park.
The leaders return to Leichhardt this week as they look to capitalise on Sydney Olympic’s loss to Rockdale, and put some distance between themselves and the rest of the chasing pack.
Sydney Olympic FC v Manly United, 2.30pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic suffered their first defeat of 2019 in Round 6, and have dropped points in each of their last two games. They might have been top of the competition had they won their game in hand, but instead sit two points behind Blacktown City heading into their match against Manly United on Friday.
Still, five dropped points is hardly disastrous given Olympic remain second. This week, they take on Manly United, who arguably present less of a challenge than Rockdale did last weekend.
The visitors travel to Belmore Sports Ground in eighth place, having only narrowly lost to Sutherland Sharks last Saturday. With a game in hand after a washout a few weeks ago, a win here could put Manly in a very promising position as the season progresses.
Marconi Stallions v Sutherland Sharks, 5pm at Marconi Stadium
Marconi are in tenth place after picking up their first win of the season in Round 6, and could yet rocket up the ladder with two games in hand.
Andrew Holder and Martin Fernandez gave Marconi the edge in a comeback win over Sydney United 58 last weekend.
This week, the Stallions host Sutherland Sharks, who moved up into sixth place with a 3-2 win over Manly United in Round 6. The Sharks have been inconsistent in the opening weeks of the season, and will need to find form soon if they are to establish themselves in the finals positions.
Rockdale City Suns v Sydney FC, 2.30pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City Suns swept aside Sydney Olympic last weekend to move up into fourth place, arresting a slide after two defeats in the weeks prior.
A brace from Alexander Malfara and a goal from Gabriel Contigiani gave Rockdale a 3-0 win over Olympic, and they will be keen to repeat the trick when they take on Sydney FC at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday afternoon.
Sydney FC lost 1-0 to Blacktown City last weekend, and are yet to find their rhythm in 2019 despite encouraging signs of progress. An extra motivation for the visitors this week is that they would overtake Rockdale if they were to win at Ilinden.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Wollongong Wolves, 3pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East remain at the foot of the table after a 2-2 draw in their Round 6 clash with APIA Leichhardt; goals from Harry Jones and Nathan Roberts not enough to get the edge over the Tigers.
This week, Hakoah face Wollongong Wolves at Hensley Athletic Field, with the visitors in similarly form to their hosts. The Wolves have lost each of their last four matches, and sit only three points ahead of Hakoah in ninth place.
Wollongong should be especially keen to pick up a result in this match, with tougher fixtures against Sutherland and Blacktown City to come over the next few weeks.
Sydney United 58 v Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 1pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58 sit just a point off the bottom of the ladder after recording their fourth loss of the season to Marconi Stallions last weekend.
This week they host Mt Druitt, who have taken to life in the first division with ease, moving up to fifth after a 1-0 win over Wollongong Wolves at Win Stadium last weekend.
Christian Long scored against a ten-man Wolves team to give Mt Druitt their second win of their season, stretching their unbeaten run to four games. The Rangers will surely view their Round 7 clash at Sydney United Sports Centre as a real opportunity to keep that run going for at least another week.