Blacktown City were kept to a draw for the third time in four weeks but still hold a ten-point lead over Sydney FC at the top of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 20s after an interrupted Round 15.
Mt Druitt and Rockdale shared a barely believable thirteen goals in this week’s Match of the Round, while Manly United crept closer to the top five with a win over Marconi Stallions despite ending the match with ten men. Sydney Olympic’s match with Hakoah City Suns was washed out on a dismal Sunday afternoon, as was APIA Leichhardt’s fixture against Sydney United 58.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 5-7 Rockdale City Suns, 5pm Saturday at Popondetta Park
Mt Druitt Town Rangers scored five goals against Rockdale City Suns on Saturday afternoon; a performance that would normally ensure a comfortable three points at home.
Yet Rockdale came to Popondetta Park and scored seven, Noah Botic matching Jordan Gomez to score a hattrick for his side, with a brace from Alexander Malfara also proving crucial to the final result. With the visitors leading 2-1 at the break, few could have predicted the goalfest that would follow in the second half.
Fitting for a game featuring thirteen goals, Rockdale opened the scoring early. Nathan Manno split the Mt Druitt defence with a pass through the midfield for Noah Botic, who broke clean through on goal before chipping the goalkeeper as he came out.
The hosts equalised just a few minutes later when Andre Cavallero found room to move on the wing before clipping a ball across goal for Jordan Gomez to make it 1-1.
Botic very nearly scored again from the restart after running free of the defence again, but Nikolovski was on hand to rush and clear the danger. The goalkeeper was decidedly more sluggish a few minutes later when he shanked a pass out from the back straight to Botic, before bringing the striker down as he wrestled for the ball. Botic placed the ball on the spot, and coolly put his side back in front.
Mt Druitt looked to level before the break, and Jacob Botic was forced to deal with a series of corners at the Rockdale end as the hosts rolled forward in search of an equaliser.
They didn’t have to wait long after the restart, in any case, as Sallu Kamara won the ball on the halfway line before curling a pass crossfield for Ali Dulleh in the middle. The striker took the defender out with his first touch before setting himself and passing the ball past Botic in the Rockdale goal.
The visitors had their lead back just minutes later, as a long ball from the midfield found Noah Botic in space on the left. With only the goalkeeper ahead of him and a hattrick beckoning, the Rockdale man made no mistake, clipping his shot inside the far post to give his side the lead.
Mt Druitt took five minutes to not only equalise again, but to go in front for the first time in the match. Their third goal of the afternoon came courtesy of another Gomez strike: a set piece from an awkward position deep on the left flank missed everyone before somehow slipping inside the near post. Two minutes later, Gomez was on hand to swing in a free kick for James Kolic to head in at the back post.
Mohamed Ahmed was next to get his name on the scoresheet as the balance of the match swung back towards Rockdale; taking advantage of a controversial corner award to get in front of Mathew Nikolovski and poke the ball home to level at 4-4.
Jordan Gomez would complete his own hattrick midway through the half, sending a stunning freekick over the wall and into the top right corner to make it 5-4 to the hosts. Jacob Botic might have done better with Gomez’s first effort from the set piece, but there was little he could do about a strike as good as this.
Rockdale had the best of the final twenty minutes, roaring into life as they looked to come from behind for the second time in the match. Alexander Malfara was brought down by the goalkeeper as he looked to wriggle through the penalty area, giving the Rockdale man the chance to equalise from the spot.
Shortly after dispatching his penalty, Malfara won the ball on the left before poking a pass down the wing James Cakovski, who dipped inside his man before sending a spectacular shot looping over Nikolovski.
Rockdale would wrap up their win just a few minutes later with another goal from Malfara, who followed up a freekick from Alexander Fadel to give his side a two-goal cushion. Though nothing could be certain in a game featuring thirteen goals, the visitors were able to see out the rest of the match in relative comfort.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 5 (Gomez 13’, 55’, 67’, Dulleh 47’, Kolic 57’)
Rockdale City Suns 7 (Botic 8’, 16’, 51’, Ahmed 62’, 81’, Malfara 73’, Cakovski 78’)
15th June, 2019
Mt Druitt Town Rangers: 25. NIKOLOVSKI Mathew, 28. CAVALLARO Andre, 40. DULLEH Ali, 31. ELLEM Riley, 41. GOMEZ Jordan, 37. KAMARA Sallu, 35. CROSSLEY Matthew, 32. KOLIC James, 42. SINGH Alvin, 38. WEBB Samuel, 34. PRASAD Shane
Rockdale City Suns: 35. BOTIC Noah, 30. MANNO Nathan, 39. FADEL Alexander, 31. HAMDACHE Mouhamed, 38. SHAINFELD Samuel, 16. MALFARA Alexander, 32. AHMED Mohamed, 42. CONTIGIANI Gabriel, 26. JENICEK Joshua, 34. BOTIC Jacob, 33. CAKOVSKI James
Sutherland Sharks 1-1 Blacktown City, Saturday 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks and Blacktown City couldn’t be separated at Seymour Shaw on Saturday afternoon; the 1-1 draw doing little for either side as they look to consolidate their respective places in the top five.
Charlie Jones opened the scoring for the Sharks in the first half, before Henry Davies levelled in the second to keep Blacktown ten points ahead of Sydney FC at the top of the table. Blacktown have now drawn three of their last four matches, but a lack of consistency from the teams below has allowed them to maintain a significant advantage over the chasing pack.
Sutherland, meanwhile, sit fifth after a solid result at home to the best side in the competition; two points behind Rockdale and just a point clear of sixth-placed Manly United.
Manly United 3-1 Marconi Stallions, 1pm at Cromer Park
Manly United finished with ten men but managed to secure the win over Marconi Stallions at Cromer Park on Sunday afternoon, courtesy of goals from Maximilian Rogers, Tallon Zahra and Jordan Segreto.
Goalkeeper Mackenzie Syron saw red for Manly while Lachlan Sepping scored the only goal of the game for Marconi, but the hosts were able to hold in the second half to see out an important win over a difficult opponent.
With three points from Sunday’s game, Manly United move within a point of fifth-placed Sutherland Sharks ahead of a daunting fixture away to Blacktown City in Round 16.
Marconi remain in ninth place, with five points separating the Stallions from the Sharks.
Wollongong Wolves FC 1-2 Sydney FC, 1pm at Win Stadium
Sydney FC moved up into second place behind Blacktown City after a 2-1 win over Wollongong Wolves at Win Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Jaiden Kucharski scored twice to give the Sky Blues a halftime lead, while Jacob Gjorsevki’s strike will register as little more than a consolation goal given the final result.
Sydney are not one of three teams level on 24 points behind Blacktown, but find themselves top of the pile having scored more goals than APIA Leichhardt.
Wollongong, meanwhile, continue their slide with their fifth defeat in seven matches, and now find themselves in eighth – four points off the top five – having previously been in the finals places after a good start to the season.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers v Sydney United 58, 1.15pm at Lambert Park – WASHED OUT
Sydney Olympic v Hakoah Sydney City East, 1.45pm at Belmore Sports Ground – WASHED OUT