The shape of the table continues to shift as we pass the midpoint of the 2019 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20s competition, though Blacktown City remain eight points in front of Rockdale at the top of the ladder.
Blacktown take on Mt Druitt Town Rangers in Round 12, while Sutherland Sharks host Sydney Olympic at Seymour Shaw in this week’s Match of the Round. Third-placed Sydney FC return to Lambert Park to face Hakoah Sydney City East, and APIA Leichhardt travel to Marconi Stallions as they look to keep pace in fourth.
Match of the Round: Sutherland Sharks FC v Sydney Olympic FC, 4.30pm Saturday at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks host Sydney Olympic on Saturday afternoon with just two points separating the visitors in fifth place above the hosts in sixth.
As Blacktown continue to streak away in first place, the focus for these two sides will be jostling for the other positions in the top five. It’s a tight pack, making this match all the more important.
Sutherland have picked up just one point from their last three home matches, and come into this match on the back of a 1-0 defeat to Rockdale City Suns here last weekend.
Sydney Olympic travel to Seymour Shaw after a 2-1 loss to Sydney FC; Genki Kohyama’s goal not enough to prevent his side from slipping to its fourth defeat of 2019.
Sydney FC v Hakoah Sydney City East, 5pm at Lambert Park
Sydney FC came away from Belmore Sports Ground last weekend with all three points after beating Sydney Olympic 2-1.
A goals from Patrick Wood put the visitors in front late in the first half before Olympic equalised with fifteen minutes remaining. Sydney FC took the lead back barely two minutes later, as Jake Hollman won a penalty before converting from the spot to give his side the win.
The Sky Blues return to Lambert Park on Saturday afternoon to face Hakoah Sydney City East, who were thrashed 5-0 by Blacktown City last Sunday.
Although that scoreline was perhaps more disappointing than the result given Blacktown’s current form, Hakoah can only hope for improvement in Round 12.
Marconi Stallions v APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 5pm at Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions were pushed all the way by Wollongong Wolves in Round 11, but found an edge in the second half to win 3-2 at Marconi Stadium last weekend.
Lachlan Sepping and Martin Fernandez put Marconi into a 2-0 lead at the break, before Lewis Grimshaw and Tatsuki Nagatsuka levelled the score for the visitors with 20 minutes to go. Marconi were back in front only a few minutes later after a horrific own goal from Wollongong gifted the Stallions all three points.
Marconi will be tested again this weekend by APIA Leichhardt, who arrive at Marconi Stadium after a disappointing 1-0 loss to Mt Druitt Town Rangers in Round 11. The Tigers dropped to fourth place after their third defeat in five matches.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Blacktown City, 5pm at Popondetta Park
Mt Druitt sprung a surprise on APIA Leichhardt at Lambert Park last weekend, coming away with a 1-0 win to send the Rangers up into seventh place.
Mt Druitt’s goal came with three minutes of normal time remaining, as a dangerous ball across the face of the goal was turned in by an unfortunate APIA defender.
Mt Druitt will need luck on their side again on Saturday afternoon as they prepare to host Blacktown City, who now lead the competition by eight points.
Blacktown smashed Hakoah Sydney City East 5-0 last weekend; their biggest win of 2019 to date.
Suley Bangura scored three, while Carlos De Oliviera and Alexander Purves also pitched in as Blacktown stretched their unbeaten streak out to eight matches.
Manly United v Wollongong Wolves, 1pm at Cromer Park
Manly United led 2-0 at halftime against Sydney United 58 last Sunday, but conceded twice in the second half to slip to a 2-2 draw.
United sit in eighth place ahead of the visit of Wollongong Wolves, who are two points behind Manly in tenth.
The Wolves were beaten 3-2 at Marconi Stadium in Round 11, and will be eager to make up for a disappointing result when they travel to Cromer Park this weekend.
Wollongong fought back from 2-0 down last Saturday but a miscommunication in defence saw them concede a horrible own goal just three minutes after drawing level.
Rockdale City Suns v Sydney United 58, 1pm at Ilinden Sports Club
Alexander Malfara scored the only goal of the game to hand Rockdale City Suns a 1-0 win at Sutherland Sharks last weekend; the victory putting Rockdale clear in second place behind Blacktown City.
Rockdale will be hoping to stretch their winning streak out to three matches – and also, no doubt, a slip-up from Blacktown – when they take on Sydney United 58 at Ilinden Sports Club in Round 12.
Bottom-of-the-table United present a more straightforward challenge than last week’s opponents on paper, but have taken four points from their last two matches, with a 3-0 win over Sydney Olympic a few weeks ago followed by a 2-2 draw with Manly last weekend.
-By Max Grieve