It’s round 11 of the National Premier Leagues NSW Competition and the final match of the first half of the season.
Wollongong Wolves suffered their first defeat last week but cling on to top spot for the tenth straight week going into the upcoming fixtures.
The biggest movers have been Rockdale City Suns and after defeating Wollongong last round have the Wolves ladder position in their sights. They travel to bottom team Sutherland in Round 11.
Sydney Olympic open the round on Friday night with a match against Sydney FC.
Sunday features three matches including Sydney United 58’s trip to Cromer Park to play Manly United, Blacktown hosting Hakoah and the final match of the round with APIA Leichhardt Tigers taking on Mt Druitt at Lambert Park.
Sydney Olympic FC v Sydney FC, 8pm Friday at Belmore Sports Ground
Friday night football at its best as NPL NSW Men’s fever hits Belmore Sports Ground.
Sydney Olympic have hit a purple patch of form and will be out to step up their title defence when they host Sydney FC.
Olympic have broken free of the shackles which held them back in the opening weeks and have gone undefeated in their past four matches.
It’s been an impressive turnaround by the Abbas Saad coached side which has helped them to fifth on the ladder and back in the race for finals football.
The return to fitness, and form, of Spanish striker Alex Sanchez has played a big part in Olympic’s recent success and he will once again be a leading light against Sydney FC.
His strike partner Radovan Pavicevic finally got off the mark against Sydney United 58 in round 10 and will be hoping to hit the back of the net on Friday.
Veteran custodian Paul Henderson has also turned back the clock once more producing some fine goalkeeper displays all of which have kept the Blues at bay.
Looking to stop Olympic’s firing front pair will be a Sydney FC side desperate to end a five game run without a win.
For another week they missed out on all three points due to a lapse in concentration and it is surely something coach Jimmy Van Weeren will be looking to sort out sooner rather than later.
Van Weeren was able to include A-League rising stars Luke Ivanovic and Joel King in his team against Sydney FC and their addition is surely something which will only strengthen the Young Sky Blues outfit.
Hamish Lamberton has done a good job covering the striking position since the injury to Jordi Swibel and he was once again on the scoreboard after coming off the bench.
It will be a tough contest for Sydney FC against an inform Olympic team but a full 90 minute performance could be enough for them to claim an upset
Sutherland Sharks v Rockdale City Suns, 6.30pm Saturday at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks are desperately hunting for their first win in ten weeks and they will be in for an almighty challenge when Rockdale City Suns come to Seymour Shaw on Saturday in the local derby of the South.
The Sharks have shown improvement over the past month and have claimed three draws from their past three matches.
The signing of former Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar A-League striker Charles Lokolingoy has given new life to the Sutherland attack which was on display as he helped them snatch a late draw last week.
Lokolingoy will join forces with Marc Warren to provide the Sharks a formidable spine and hopefully improve their performances moving forward.
They face an almighty task against Rockdale City Suns in Round 11.
The Suns are on an incredible five game winning streak which has catapulted them to second on the ladder after last week’s win against league leaders Wollongong.
Star winger Alec Urosevski’s injury woes appear behind him as the star attacker has been in fine form after his wonder strike against the Wolves.
Sutherland will go into this match as underdogs but proved in their 2-2 draw against Wollongong that they can challenge the competition’s front runners.
Marconi Stallions v Wollongong Wolves, 7pm Saturday at Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions will be aiming for a return to winning ways when they host league leaders Wollongong Wolves at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night.
The Stallions have hit the skids in recent weeks and have not won in their past three matches.
Coach Peter Tsekenis is determined to fix his star side’s stuttering performances starting with this clash against the Wolves.
Defence has been a weak spot for the Stallions and the absence of Zach Cairncross last round only made matters worse.
Expect Tsekenis to shake things up at the back this week.
Finally, young gun Yianni Nicolau will be given at least this week off after receiving a red card against Blacktown.
Their opponent Wollongong come into this match after their first defeat of the campaign and will also be pushing to bounce back.
Rockdale found a way to shut out prolific Wolves front man Thomas James and the rest of the Wollongong attack suffered as they were shutout for the first time this season.
Don’t expect too many changes from coach Luke Wilkshire who won’t be too concerned by the dropped points in round 10.
If anything the match could prove to be a bit of a wake up call to the league leaders who could’ve been starting to coast on their early season success.
Wollongong will be favourites for this match but Marconi has the firepower to take down any side if they’re in the mood.
Manly United FC v Sydney United 58, 3pm Sunday at Cromer Park
A return to Cromer Park could be the perfect tonic for Manly United as the look to snap a win-less streak against Sydney United 58 on Sunday.
The boys from the Northern Beaches have paid the price for lapses in concentration squandering leads in their past two matches.
Coach Paul Dee will be hoping to bring back winger Dejan Pandurevic for this match after he didn’t feature last round as they conceded a goal in the final seconds as APIA snatched a dramatic draw.
Adam Parkhouse could also be returned to the starting lineup after being used of the bench.
Manly’s effort can’t be faulted but they need to curb small mistakes late in the game if they are to make the most of their great starts.
United 58 survived a thrilling clash against Sydney Olympic last round escaping with a draw.
Shot stopper Thomas Manos delivered arguably his best performance of the season to stifle a relentless Olympic attack and help the Reds claim a vital competition point.
Coach Miro Vlastelica continues to rotate his attacking stocks week to week with Patrick Antelmi and Matt Sim both playing off the bench last week with Cristian Gonzales and Tariq Maia given starting berths.
That could easily change this week if Vlastelica instead opts for his more experienced players on the road.
Peter Simonoski has continued his scoring run and will be the centrepiece of the United 58 attack once again.
The return to familiar surrounds could be just the formula for Manly United as they push to break back into the finals spots.
However, United 58 will be tough customers in a match which could go either way.
Blacktown City FC v Hakoah Sydney City East FC, 3pm Sunday at Lily Homes Stadium
Blacktown City has rediscovered their winning edge and will be out to double down when they host Hakoah Sydney City East at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
City claimed a huge victory against Marconi Stallions in Round 10 with that result sure to send morale at the club skyrocketing.
Turning those good feelings into results will be coach Mark Crittenden’s next challenge.
Mani Gonzalez was given the start against Marconi and he repaid his gaffer with the match winner. It’s not the first time Gonzalez has scored an important goal for Blacktown this season so expect to see him feature more and more if he can keep this run up.
Joey Gibbs has had a lean year in the goalscoring stakes so far but he proved against Marconi his skill and work rate plays a major role in any of Blacktown’s successes.
Their opponents Hakoah will be desperate to snap a dire run without a win when they head out to Seven Hills and will surely be targeting Blacktown’s struggles in front of goal.
Ironically, it is the same issues which have held Hakoah back this campaign.
Coach Gavin Rae has tried many different options in attack to little success as strikers Amaury Gauthier, Hristijan Tanoski and Nathan Roberts have failed to make most of their chances.
Harry Jones could be returned to the starting line up this week with the industrious midfielder able to play in a variety of positions and possibly freeing up others going forward.
Both teams possess stifling defences and struggling attacking units so this match could turn out to be quite the dog fight.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Mt Druitt Town Rangers, 3.30pm Sunday at Lambert Park
Chris Payne saved the day for APIA last week but they will need much more than that against Mt Druitt this Sunday at Lambert Park if they are to reclaim second spot.
A slip in form has meant APIA has won only one of their past five matches a stat which is sure to concern coach John Calleja.
Had Payne not found the net in the 94th minute against Manly to snatch a dramatic 1-1 draw it could’ve been worse for the Lambert Park side.
Injuries to David D’Apuzzo (season), Paul Galimi and Corey Biczo as well as the loss of Andre De Jong to South Africa has left the Tigers short of depth and relying on youth.
Nicholas Azzone has played in the past three matches for APIA while Sam McIllhatton has become a permanent fixture in the centre of midfield.
Biczo was able to make a return to action of the bench last round while Galimi is expected to return either this week or next.
Their opponents Mt Druitt had a mighty comeback of their own last round as they snatched their first win in seven rounds.
Alex Boyadijan’s goal gave the Rangers a vital three points and it is sure to boost them moving forward.
Coach Aiden Desmond is sure to be happy with the way his side kept fighting until the final whistle.
Don’t expect to many changes in the starting side for Mt Druitt and they look claim back to back wins.
APIA will be the favourites for this clash but their recent form shows that Mt Druitt are very much in with a shot of an upset.