Round 7 of the 2019 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20s saw little change at the top end of the table, with Blacktown City still leading Sydney Olympic by two points, and Rockdale, APIA, Sutherland and Mt Druitt Town Rangers chasing behind.
Blacktown edged a 1-0 win over APIA at Lambert Park over the Easter weekend, while Sydney Olympic eased past Manly United with a 3-1 win at Belmore Sports Ground. Sutherland Sharks, Wollongong Wolves and Mt Druitt Town Rangers were also among the winners, while Rockdale and Sydney FC settled for a draw at Ilinden Sports Centre.
Match of the Round
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 0-1 Blacktown City FC, 2pm Friday at Lambert Park
Alen Aganovic scored early on Good Friday at Lambert Park to earn a nervous win over APIA Leichhardt Tigers; the leaders holding their ground at the top of the table with a two point gap to second-placed Sydney Olympic.
The visitors began strongly and scored from a corner after just fifteen minutes, but APIA hit back and might well have equalised after going behind. Blacktown rode out the pressure to earn another three points, stretching their winning streak to four matches in a row.
Blacktown came out of the blocks at pace, with Suley Bangura causing problems going forward as he drifted from the right wing into the centre.
They had a decent opportunity to open the scoring from a corner after only a couple of minutes when Josh Bartolotto rose unchallenged in the six yard box, but he couldn’t get over his header and sent the ball flying over the crossbar.
Blacktown were not so wasteful from the next set piece. A cross spun onto the penalty spot found Alen Aganovic, who headed the ball past goalkeeper and into the APIA net.
APIA found an immediate focus after conceding, and began to pile pressure on their opponents as they went looking for an equaliser.
Dom Nasrabadi had an optimistic swipe at goal from range, shortly before Michael Trajkovski closed out the half with a header that sailed just wide of the far post after a terrific cross from Nicholas Azzone.
Yet the hosts struggled to pick up where they had left off after the break, and Blacktown eased into a comfortable rhythm. A goal up, they had little need to commit too many men forward, and were able to sit back and enjoy their time on the ball as APIA chased shadows.
Suley Bangura continued to pose a threat in attack, and drove through the midfield before unleashing a shot which was blocked by an APIA defender.
Jackson Bandiera was brought down on the edge of the box after a strong run down the left flank, giving Josh Bartolotto the chance to double Blacktown’s lead in the closing stages of the game. He sent the set piece curling just wide of the far post but Blacktown were able to hold on for another win, keeping them top of the ladder for at least another week.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 0
Blacktown City FC 1 (Aganovic 16’)
19th April, 2019
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC: 42. ABOUCHAAYA Camil, 32. AZZONE Nicholas, 38. DOLLIN Bradley, 43. FIORESE Gian, 17. GULISANO Samuel, 19. NASRABADI Dominion, 33. NICHOLS Peter, 40. PRISUDA Zeke, 34. REGAN Zander, 39. SPARACINO Anthony, 20. TRAJKOVSKI Michael
Blacktown City FC: 20. NISKI Dylan, 25. INGRAM Mason, 26. AGANOVIC Alen, 27. PURVES Alec, 28. BARTOLOTTO Josh, 30. KOUDAKPO Adolph, 34. BANGURA Suley, 32. DE OLIVERA Carlos, 35. DESILVA Rhett, 36. BANDIERA Jackson, 40. CAMPBELL Lachlan
Sydney Olympic FC 3-1 Manly United, 2.30pm at Belmore Sports Ground
Sydney Olympic bounced back from their first loss of the season to beat Manly United 3-1 at Belmore Sports Ground on Good Friday, and hold second place behind Blacktown City.
James Antoniou scored twice for Olympic, while Kamran Qayumi also found the back of the net to give his side the edge over Manly. Maximilian Rogers had given the visitors the lead in the first half, but Olympic roared back in the second half to take all three points.
Manly United drop a place to ninth after their fourth defeat in six games.
Marconi Stallions 0-2 Sutherland Sharks, 5pm at Marconi Stadium
James Temelkovski and Thomas Papa scored at Marconi Stadium to give Sutherland their second win in as many weeks, putting the Sharks up into fifth place after a slow start to 2019.
Marconi, meanwhile, remain tenth after their third loss of the season. A heavy defeat to Rockdale City Suns mid-week might have given the Stallions an extra motivation in this match, but they were comfortably dealt with by an improving Sutherland side.
Rockdale City Suns 1-1 Sydney FC, 2.30pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City Suns smashed Marconi mid-week to move up into third place, but were held by Sydney FC in Round 7 as they continue to look to reel in Sydney Olympic and Blacktown City above them.
Jake Trajkovski scored the only goal for Rockdale as they held their place ahead of APIA and Sutherland Sharks below them, while Sydney FC continue their indifferent run of form with their fourth draw of the season.
Sydney FC slip to eighth ahead of their Round 8 clash with eleventh-placed Sydney United 58.
Hakoah Sydney City East 1-3 Wollongong Wolves, 3pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East remain winless in 2019, and were dealt their fourth loss in seven games in a 3-1 defeat at home against Wollongong Wolves on Sunday.
Bul Juach continued his scoring run with his fifth of the season against Hakoah, while Brandon Stojcevski and Jordan Nikolovski also pitched in to help Wolves to all three points – their first win in four matches.
Wollongong move onto a Round 8 clash with Sutherland Sharks next Saturday, while Hakoah face Manly United at Cromer Park.
Sydney United 58 1-3 Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 1pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Mt Druitt Town Rangers defeated Sydney United 58 3-1 in Round 7 to move to fifth on the ladder.
The Rangers’ third win of the season stretches their unbeaten run to five matches, and keeps them in touch with the pack behind the leaders.
Sydney United, meanwhile, are struggling to keep themselves from slipping to the bottom of the pile. United picked up four points from their previous two games to offer hope of a revival, but a 3-1 loss to the competition’s newest team is another disappointing result ahead of a difficult match away to Sydney FC next weekend.
-By Max Grieve