Blacktown City continue to lead the 2019 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20s, but there’s a full field of teams looking to reel them in.
The leaders host Marconi Stallions in Round 10, while second-placed Sydney Olympic take on a struggling Sydney United 58.
Rockdale, APIA and Sutherland all sit level on 14 points behind the top two, and any of the three could move into second place at the end of this weekend should Olympic somehow lose at Sydney United Sports Centre.
Match of the Round
Blacktown City FC v Marconi Stallions FC, 1pm Sunday at Lily Homes Stadium
Blacktown City are five points ahead of Sydney Olympic in first place ahead of their match with Marconi on Sunday afternoon, and should be confident of maintaining that lead at the top of the table when they welcome the Stallions to Lily Homes Stadium in Round 10.
Blacktown put three past Wollongong Wolves last weekend, giving them their fifth win in six games.
This week, they take on a Marconi side in tenth place after their Round 9 draw with Sydney Olympic. The Stallions came from behind in the first half, with James Baldacchino finding the back of the net to level the score at 1-1.
Wollongong Wolves v Rockdale City Suns, 4pm at Win Stadium
Wollongong Wolves come into their Round 10 clash with Rockdale City Suns in eighth place after a 3-0 loss to league leaders Blacktown City last weekend.
Rockdale are unlikely to prove an easier opponent, despite a poor run of form which has seen them pick up only two points in the last three rounds.
The visitors travel to Win Stadium in second place following a 3-2 defeat to Manly United in Round 9, with Noah Botic’s double not enough to earn a result as goalkeeper Jacob Botic saw red.
Rockdale could move as high as second place should they win, and Sydney Olympic lose. Wollongong, meanwhile, could rocket up a congested table with a win, depending on results elsewhere.
Sutherland Sharks v Sydney FC, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks are settling into the upper half of the table after a difficult start and recorded their third win in four games with a 3-2 victory over Mt Druitt Town Rangers in Round 9.
Charlie Jones, Finley Hayhurst and James Temelkovski scored for Sutherland at Popondetta, meaning the Sharks come into their match with Sydney FC on Saturday afternoon in fourth place, and with second potentially in reach.
Sydney FC sit just a point behind Sutherland in fifth ahead of their clash at Seymour Shaw and travel south after a 2-0 win over APIA Leichhardt in Round 9, courtesy of goals from Tyson Sava and Patrick Wood.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Manly United, 5pm at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt Tigers will be looking to rebound from Round 9 defeat to Sydney FC when they take on Manly United at Lambert Park on Saturday afternoon.
APIA’s 2-0 loss to the Sky Blues was their second in three matches, and the Tigers have been struggling for consistency after a solid start to the season.
They sit in fourth place ahead of their Round 10 match with Manly United, who travel to Lambert Park on the back of an impressive 3-2 win over Rockdale City Suns in Round 9.
In seventh place and on a three-match unbeaten streak, Manly could move past APIA on the ladder should they manage to win on Saturday.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 3pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East pulled off a 2-0 victory over Sydney United 58 last weekend, moving off the bottom of the ladder with their first win of 2019.
Dominic Cox and Steven Chester found the back of the net for Hakoah as they moved within two points of Marconi Stallions in tenth place, and four points of their Round 10 opponents, Mt Druitt Town Rangers.
Mt Druitt have wobbled after a good run of form, losing their last two games after a three-match unbeaten streak.
Last weekend they were beaten 3-2 by Sutherland Sharks at Popondetta, with goals from Leonard Abdo and Cooper Coskerie not enough to earn a result.
Sydney United 58 v Sydney Olympic, 3pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58 sit alone at the bottom of the table after their defeat Hakoah Sydney City East last weekend, their fourth defeat in a row.
United went down 2-0 to Hakoah at Sydney United Sports Centre, and will be hard pressed to bounce back immediately with a Round 10 match against second-placed Sydney Olympic looming.
Olympic were held 1-1 by Marconi Stallions in Round 9 and will be eager to take advantage of a match against a struggling side as they look to close the gap with Blacktown City ahead of them.
-By Max Grieve