A wild Round 12 in the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20s sees Blacktown City hold their eight-point lead at the top of the table, with a few extraordinary results making for a thrilling weekend of football.
Blacktown were held to a 2-2 draw by nine-man Mt Druitt, while Rockdale City Suns and Sydney United 58 also shared the points in a 3-3 draw at Ilinden Sports Centre. Sydney FC beat Hakoah 2-1 in the Match of the Round, and Sutherland Sharks slipped past Sydney Olympic with a 1-0 win at Seymour Shaw.
Match of the Round: Sydney FC 2-1 Hakoah Sydney City East, 5pm Saturday at Lambert Park
Sydney FC were made to work for their win as they beat Hakoah Sydney City East 2-1 at Lambert Park on Saturday night; goals from Thomas Fay and Harry McCarthy helping the Sky Blues hold third place on the ladder at the end of Round 12.
Fay opened the scoring with a header to give Sydney FC the lead at halftime, before Dominic Cox equalised for the visitors within sixty seconds of the restart. Sydney looked to finish strong, and it was little surprise when McCarthy eventually scored after looking threatening all night.
Both sides played the ball around with confidence in the game’s early stages, but neither could find a way through at the back to properly threaten either goalkeeper.
Thomas Fay combined well with Harry McCarthy on the left flank as Sydney began to establish some dominance in possession, though some slick passing through the midfield kept breaking down in front of a resolute Hakoah defence.
Hakoah had similar struggles when they went forward: Jay Hirschowitz and Hesan Soufi looked dangerous down the right as they half wore on, but a final ball continued to go missing.
Daniel Salinas should have opened the scoring with the clearest opportunity of the half-hour played when he was picked out by Dominic Cox at the back post, but he sent the ball spinning over the bar when it should have been nestling in the back of the net.
Just as Hakoah were beginning to unsettle their opponents, Sydney hit them on the break. Jaiden Kucharski tore down the wing before holding the ball up and clipping a cross to the back post for Thomas Fay to head past Max Ephraim.
Hakoah’s disappointment lasted through the halftime break, though not much longer than that. Some sloppy play from the Sydney midfield saw the visitors charge into the penalty area, with Dominic Cox in the right place at the right time to sweep home an equaliser.
Sydney looked to hit back immediately, and Harry McCarthy might have taken back the lead when he was put clean through on goal if not for some desperate defending to give away a corner. Aaron Gurd had a flying header tipped over the bar from the set piece, as the hosts began to pile on the pressure
McCarthy had his head in his hands a short time later as Ephraim pulled out a spectacular save to keep his side level; the Sydney striker’s curling shot clawed away from the top corner at the last moment.
There was little Ephraim could do about McCarthy’s next effort, however. Kucharski danced down the left wing before cutting a pass inside to McCarthy, who was held up at the top of the box with five Hakoah shirts around him. Taking a touch towards goal, the striker breezed past one defender and got his shot away before anyone else could get close. It was no less than Sydney – and certainly McCarthy himself – had deserved.
Sydney FC 2 (Fay 44’, McCarthy 82’)
Hakoah Sydney City East FC 1 (Cox 46’)
25th May, 2019
Sydney FC: 30. PAVLESIC Adam, 23. MCCARTHY Harry, 33. KUCHARSKI Jaiden, 32. MAIN Thomas, 14. FAY Thomas , 34. NIEUWENHOF Calem, 54. MLINARIC Anton, 82. PEUPION Cameron, 27. GURD Aaron, 17. TALBOT Callum, 57. TRENKOSKI Jayden
Hakoah Sydney City East FC: 5. KATSIONIS Steven, 43. MICHEL Ariah, 25. EPHRAIM Max, 32. SALINAS Daniel, 27. TURRALL Peter, 26. HIRSCHOWITZ Jay, 36. BELLOS Ellis, 6. COX Dominic, 28. SOUFI Hesan, 14. KOTON Jordan, 57. SZYSZKA Cameron
Sutherland Sharks 1-0 Sydney Olympic, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland squeezed past Sydney Olympic at Seymour Shaw on Saturday afternoon with a 1-0 win that takes the Sharks up to fifth at the end of Round 12.
Alexander Lopez broke the deadlock just past the half-hour mark after Olympic gave away a penalty, giving Lopez a golden opportunity to put his side into the lead.
Olympic were unable to hit back in the second half as they suffered their fourth loss in five matches to slip to sixth place – one point behind Sutherland – ahead of their Round 13 fixture at home to Mt Druitt.
Marconi Stallions 1-1 APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 5pm at Marconi Stadium
Marconi and APIA were held to a stalemate in Round 12, with Paolo Laxamana and Zeke Prisuda trading goals in a 1-1 draw at Marconi Stadium.
Laxamana opened the scoring in the first half before Prisuda helped peg the Stallions back with a goal of his own after the break.
Marconi continue to jostle for position in mid-table, and now sit tenth after this result – four points from the bottom, and five from the finals places – before their Round 13 game against Rockdale.
APIA, meanwhile, remain fourth as they look ahead to next week’s match away to Wollongong Wolves.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 2-2 Blacktown City, 5pm at Popondetta Park
A wild game at Popondetta Park saw Blacktown City held to a 2-2 draw by nine-man Mt Druitt Town Rangers on Saturday night.
Blacktown’s unbeaten streak stretches to nine matches now, but the competition leaders will be disappointed that they weren’t able to capitalise on their advantage.
Blacktown led 1-0 at the break courtesy of a goal from Dale Howarth, before Mt Druitt’s Sallu Kamara was sent off after an hour.
The game turned on its head when Emmanuel Peters equalised shortly before Ali Dulleh put Mt Druitt in front, but there was to be a final twist.
Peters earned his second yellow card to leave Mt Druitt with nine, before Blacktown were awarded a penalty as the last kick of the game. Suleyman Bangura converted from the spot, keeping Blacktown eight points clear at the top of the ladder.
Manly United 1-2 Wollongong Wolves, 1pm at Cromer Park
Liam Wille and Lewis Grimshaw were on target as Wollongong Wolves edged a 2-1 win over Manly United at Cromer Park on Sunday afternoon.
Wollongong sit just one win outside the top five after three points on the road here, but are also precipitously close to the lower end of the ladder. The Wolves snapped a three-match losing streak with the win over Manly, and can look forward to a match at home against APIA Leichhardt next weekend as they continue to push for a higher position.
Manly United’s sixth defeat of the season sees them trail Wollongong by a point at the end of Round 12. They will go hunting for their first victory in just under a month when they travel to play Sydney FC in Round 13.
Rockdale City Suns 3-3 Sydney United 58, 1pm at Ilinden Sports Club
Rockdale City Suns might have closed the gap between themselves and leaders Blacktown to six points with a win in Round 12, but they were held to a 3-3 draw by a determined Sydney United on Sunday afternoon.
Two goals from James Cakovski’s and one from Noah Botic were cancelled out by strikes from Ivan Bratjanscak, Marcus Bimbilovski and Anthony Pedavoli, with the score locked at 2-2 at halftime before another stalemate in the second half.
Rockdale remain second; eight points off top spot ahead of a match against Marconi Stallions in Round 13.
Sydney United 58, meanwhile, are a point adrift at the bottom of the table, and will need to be on top form again next week as they look ahead to a match at home against Blacktown City.
-By Max Grieve