Week 14 of the National Premier Leagues NSW competition is in the book and it was a round with a few shock results to shake up the race for the premiership.
Wollongong Wolves suffered only their second loss of the season as Sydney United 58 stunned the competition front runners in their own back yard.
While the Wolves cling onto top spot for a 14th straight week, the chasing pack moves closer and sets up a thrilling final eight weeks of the regular season.
Rockdale City Suns powered back into form with a big win against Hakoah, Manly was stunned by Mt Druitt, while Sutherland continue their seven week unbeaten run with a comeback 2-2 draw against APIA.
The battle at the top of the table is only going to closer as the season reaches its apex.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 2 – Manly United 1 at Popondetta Park
Mt Druitt Town Rangers backed up their midweek FFA Cup heroics to upset Manly United 2-1 at Popondetta Park
Aidan Desmond’s men fought gallantly and never gave up even though Manly struck first via a Travis Oughtred header as a Toufic Alameddine penalty and John Roberts strike were enough to see the boys from Mt Druitt claim maximum points at home.
Alameddine netted from the spot in the final minute of the first-half to level the scores after Oughtred opened the scoring in the 34’ minute when meeting a corner to head home.
But it wasn’t enough as Roberts netted what turned out to be the winner in the 54’ minute with a sweetly struck shot that flew past Dylan Mitchell.
Blacktown City 1 – Sydney Olympic 1 at Lily Homes Stadium
Blacktown City and Sydney Olympic have shared the spoils after an exhilarating 1-1 draw at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
It was a thrilling end to end encounter with Olympic unlucky not to snatch an unlikely victory in a frantic final minutes.
Joey Gibbs fired home for Blacktown midway through the second half, but it was quickly cancelled out when Olympic equalised only two minutes later through Radovan Pavicevic.
Both sides traded chances in crazy closing ten minutes but neither could find the breakthrough as they took only a point away from an enthralling contest.
Marconi Stallions 5 – Sydney FC 2 at Marconi Stadium
A Mitch Mallia hat trick has helped Marconi Stallions to a dominant 5-2 win against Sydney FC at Marconi Stadium on Sunday.
Mallia was at his devastating best scoring twice in the first half and again in the third as the Stallions scored five goals for the second straight week.
The former Blacktown City star gave Marconi a perfect start with goals in the 16th and the 36th as they claimed a 2-0 lead at the interval.
The home side went from strength to strength in the second stanza as Mallia snatched his third before James Andrew and Damian Tsekenis also found the back of the net.
Sydney FC claimed two goals in the second half but they proved to be mere consolation as a rampant Marconi outfit claimed their second win in as many weeks.
Wollongong Wolves 1 – Sydney United 58 2 at WIN Stadium Wollongong
A stoppage-time strike from Matthew Sim helped Sydney United 58 take all three points from league-leading Wollongong Wolves in a 2-1 victory at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Sim scored in the final moments of the fiery clash – which saw nine yellow cards and the dismissal of Sydney United 58’s Patrick Antelmi – to secure the win for the visitors after Tariq Maia’s first half strike was cancelled out by Wollongong’s Thomas James.
It was a massive result for Sydney United who join Blacktown City and APIA Leichhardt Tigers in a three way tie for second spot.
Wollongong cling onto first place but they now only hold a six point advantage ahead of the chasing pack.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2 – Sutherland Sharks 2 at Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt’s Premiership hopes took a major blow at Lambert Park on Saturday as they we held to a 2-2 draw by a resurgent Sutherland Sharks.
Up 2-0 inside twenty minutes, the Tigers blew their lead to slip to a disappointing draw at home.
Chris Payne scored from the spot soon after kickoff before Tynan Diaz added a second barely ten minutes later, but Dominic Cox and Charles Lokolingoy were on hand to help Sutherland storm back in the second half.
After Wollongong’s loss to Sydney Olympic earlier in the afternoon, APIA might have finished the round within three points of the leaders, but instead sit five points off top spot – and with a few challengers behind them.
Hakoah Sydney City East 0 – Rockdale City Suns 4 at Hensley Athletic Field
Rockdale City Suns re-entered the NPL NSW top five and heaped more misery on rock-bottom Hakoah Sydney City East with a 4-0 win at Eastgardens on Sunday.
Nick Porreca’s side had dropped out of the finals positions following their five-goal collapse against Marconi Stallions a week ago but returned at the expense of Manly United after strolling past the luckless Hakoah at Hensley Athletic Field.
Jordan Figon and Leigh Egger fired in scrappy first-half goals before Suns striker Figon sealed his double and put the visitors in the clear five minutes after the interval.
Alec Urosevski added a fourth late on, consigning Hakoah – who lost ex-A-League star Predrag Bojic and his replacement James Combes to injury inside the space of 34 first half minutes – to their eleventh defeat of the campaign.
It leaves Gavin Rae’s side seven points adrift of eleventh-placed Mt. Druitt Town Rangers at the foot of the ladder.