Round 17 of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition is in the books and it was a week of action headlined by yet another dominant Wollongong Wolves display.
The South Coast based side stretch their time in first place to 17 weeks after a 4-1 win against Mt Druitt on Saturday and move a step closer to securing the premiership.
Sunday was a blockbuster day with five matches taking place including a huge win by Sutherland Sharks as they make an unlikely finals berth seem more likely.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers made light work of bottom side Hakoah, while Blacktown City eased past Sydney FC thanks to some Joey Gibbs acrobatics.
In the final match of the round, Sydney Olympic moved into the top five for the first time in months with a hard fought win against Rockdale City Suns.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 – Wollongong Wolves 4 at Popondetta Park
A whirlwind second half performance has helped Wollongong Wolves fightback from an early deficit to clinch a comprehensive 4-1 win against Mt Druitt Town Rangers at Popondetta Park on Saturday night.
After a below par first 45 minutes, the Luke Wilkshire coached Wolves hit top gear after the break to end Mt Druitt’s four game winning streak and stretch their lead at the top of the competition to eight points
Mt Druitt thought they were a chance of a shock upset when Mirjan Pavlovic struck after 18 minutes to give the home side a shock 1-0 lead.
But it was a different story after the interval with Wollongong striking twice through Darcy Madden and Thomas James to take a 2-1 lead only 12 minutes into the second half.
A bizarre brain snap from Rangers defender Blake Thompson meant the home side were forced to fight on with only ten men and the Wolves took full advantage with former Western Sydney Wanderers front man Lachlan Scott scoring a brace to wrap up a 4-1 win.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 3 – Hakoah Sydney City East 0 at Lambert Park
A Franco Parisi master class has helped APIA Leichhardt Tigers to a dominant 3-0 win against competition strugglers Hakoah Sydney City East at Lambert Park on Sunday
The veteran midfield maestro scored and set up another as second placed APIA cut the gap between them and league leaders Wollongong Wolves to five points.
Parisi gave the home side the perfect start when he headed home only three mintues in and then showed plenty of finesse with a deft through ball which helped Dom Nasrabadi double the Tigers lead in the 28th minute.
Chris Payne wrapped up the win for the John Calleja coached side late in the contest when he found the bottom corner of the net.
Manly United 0 – Sutherland Sharks 5 at Cromer Park
The Sutherland Sharks cruised to a 5-0 demolition job of a ten-man Manly United outfit at Cromer Park on Sunday afternoon.
The hosts were shocked by a straight red card shown to defensive linchpin Travis Oughtred just six minutes in, which brought rise to a significantly one-sided contest.
Raul Romero converted the ensuing penalty, before a delightful Mateo Poljak chip and fierce Jeremy Cox drive put the visitors well and truly in the ascendancy by the interval.
Despite the numerical disparity, Paul Dee’s men forged some golden opportunities throughout the first period that could have added some additional spice to the contest.
However, their failure to convert resulted in a rather tame second period where Sutherland eventually compounded Manly’s misery courtesy of tidy strikes from Jerry Skotadis and Romero.
The emphatic result secured a crucial three points for Sutherland in the ever-intensifying race for the top five.
Blacktown 3 – Sydney FC 1 at Lily Homes Stadium
A spectacular Joey Gibbs bicycle kick has helped Blacktown City claim a dominant 3-1 win against Sydney FC at Lily Homes Stadium on Sunday.
The highlight reel moment from the veteran striker wrapped up the win for Blacktown with a little more than ten minutes left on the clock in a match where they always held the upper hand.
Dakota Askew opened the scoring for Blacktown after only twenty minutes but the visiting Young Sky Blues evened the ledger from the penalty not long before the interval.
However, it was always going to be Blacktown’s day with Askew, and then Gibb’s incredible overhead finish wrapping up a clinical win for the Mark Crittenden coached side.
The result means City clings onto third spot on the ladder while Sydney FC are left languishing only one spot above the bottom in eleventh.
Sydney United 58 0 – Marconi Stallions 0 at Sydney United Sports Centre
A gutsy 10-man Marconi Stallions has clung on to claim a 0-0 draw against Sydney United 58 at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday.
Reduced to 10 men on the cusp of half-time, the stallions dug in to stem the tide of a relentless United attack and snatch a vital point against the odds.
The home side had chance after chance to find a winner but lacked the finishing touch required to break the deadlock.
It was a result which keeps Marconi in the finals race while for United 58 it was yet another opportunity lost.
Sydney Olympic 1 – Rockdale City Suns 0 at Belmore Sports Ground
An 11th minute Jason Madonis penalty was all it took as Sydney Olympic clung on for a hard fought win against rivals Rockdale City Suns in a physical clash at Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.
The win was Olympic’s first win against Rockdale since 2015 and catapults the reigning premiers into the top five for the first time since the opening weeks of the season
Madonis was clinical from the penalty spot early in the contest to give the home team a lead they would be forced to defend for more than 80 minutes in what was a torrid and chippy encounter.
For Rockdale the loss is another heartbreaking result and is sure to heap more pressure on interim boss Nick Porecca.