Football is back and the opening week of the rebooted NPL NSW Men’s season didn’t disappoint.
It was a perfect return to action for Marconi Stallions, Sydney Olympic, Wollongong Wolves and Sydney FC who all claimed wins.
Blacktown City and North Shore Mariners shared the spoils in their clash, as did Rockdale City and Manly United.
Western Sydney Wanderers Youth were unable to get a win to start their time in the NPL NSW Men’s competition but proved they will be a team to keep an eye on.
Sydney Olympic finish the week sitting on top of the table ahead of Sydney FC and Marconi Stallions.
APIA Leichhardt 1 (Cox 94′) v Marconi Stallions 2 (Jesic 60′ pen, Frangie 72′) @ Lambert Park
Marconi Stallions have restarted their season in emphatic style with a 2-1 win against reigning champions APIA Leichhardt in a feisty encounter at Lambert Park on Friday.
A Marko Jesic penalty and a sublime finish from Anthony Frangie were enough to hold off a fast-finishing APIA side who were reduced to 10-men in the dying stages.
Neither side gave much away in the first half with chances at a premium.
Frangie had the best opportunity of the opening 45 minutes but he fired over the bar from the edge of the penalty area.
Marconi were the stronger side after the interval and were gifted the chance to open the scoring when the referee pointed to the penalty spot after he judged Paul Galimi’s acrobatic clearance attempt as a handball.
Jesic was clinical from the spot to give the Stallions a 1-0 lead, which would become 2-0 only moments later when Frangie hit the back of the net with a sublime finesse finish from the edge of the penalty area.
APIA came home with a wet sail and halved the deficit in added time after a brilliant finish from Jeremy Cox.
However, the home side’s chances were all but dashed when Galimi was sent off in the 96th minute with Marconi holding out for victory with a massive performance by one of its young guns Lachlan Sepping.
Blacktown City 0 v North Shore Mariners 0 @ Lily Homes Stadium
Blacktown City and North Shore Mariners were forced to share the spoils after a thrilling 0-0 draw at Lily Homes Stadium on Friday.
Neither side could find the breakthrough despite 90 minutes of end to end action with plenty of chances.
North Shore would’ve gone home feeling they should’ve taken all three points after they had a goal ruled out in the 29th minute after it was ruled Blacktown City keeper Shaun Catlin was impeded.
Blacktown had their own missed opportunity late in the first half as former Western Sydney Wanderer, Mario Shabow missed an open net after a brilliant bit of play from Leroy Jennings.
The home side had one final moment to snatch the win in the dying stages of added time but Daniel Collins headed a difficult chance over the bar from six yards out.
Manly United 0 v Rockdale City Suns 0 @ Cromer Park
Both sides traded chances in the opening stages in an exciting first 45 minutes.
Manly shot-stopper Dylan Mitchell made a pair of fine saves during the opening stanza to deny two brilliant Rockdale chances as the match remained locked at 0-0 going into the interval.
A deflected free-kick from Nikola Taneski in the 66th minute nearly broke the deadlock, but it sailed inches over the crossbar.
Marley Peterson was inches away from scoring as his lunging attempt to finish a deadly ball into the box was unable to get the touch required.
It proved to be the last real chance of the game as both sides took home a hard-earned point.
Wollongong Wolves 1 (Okada 72′) v Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0 @ Albert Butler Memorial Park
Wollongong Wolves have restarted their NPL NSW Men’s season with three competition points after claiming a very hard fought 1-0 win against Mt Druitt Town Rangers on Sunday.
Takeru Okada scored the only goal of the match deep into the second half as the home side did enough to snatch the win.
However, the goal didn’t come without some conjecture with the referee waving down the flag of his linesman and awarding the goal.
Young Wolves recruit Marcus Beattie was a stand-out performer for the home side and was a handful all afternoon for the Rangers defence.
It was a difficult start to Franco Cosentino’s tenure as Mt Druitt coach, but he will take away several positives into round two.
For Wolves coach Luke Wilkshire he will be impressed with his side’s resilience and ability to snatch victory after the departure of star striker Thomas James.
Sydney United 58 0 v Sydney Olympic 2 (Ferreira 17′, 21′) @ Sydney United Sports Centre
A Fabio Ferreira double has helped Sydney Olympic and new coach Ante Juric to a 2-0 win against rivals Sydney United 58 at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday.
The former A-League star was on song to claim his brace inside 20 minutes as Olympic flexed their muscle early on.
United 58 struggled to match it with the visitors in the opening stanza but managed to claw their way back into the contest in the second half.
However, the home side couldn’t find the back of the net as Olympic cruised to a well-earned win.
Sydney FC NPL 3 (Wood 21′, Hollman 28′, 41′) v Western Sydney Wanderers NPL 2 (Auglah 61′, Nikolic 81′) at Ilinden Sports Centre
Sydney FC Youth have clung on for derby honours defeating Western Sydney Wanderers Youth 3-2 in a thrilling NPL NSW Men’s clash at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
The young Sky Blues raced to a 3-0 lead in the first half through goals from Patrick Wood and a double from Jake Hollman but were forced to hold on as the Wanderers fought back in a big way after the interval with Ali Auglah and Stefan Nikolic setting up a thrilling finish.
Sydney FC dominated the first half and broke the deadlock in the 21st minute when Wood found the back of the net.
Hollman doubled that lead for Sydney in the 28th minute before claiming his second and his team’s third just before the half-time break.
The Wanderers refused to quit and opened their account through Auglah midway through the second stanza.
When Nikolic found the back of the net to make it 3-2 in the 81st minute the game was balanced on a knifes edge as Western Sydney searched desperately for an equaliser.
However, it wasn’t to be as Sydney hung on for a hard-earned three points defeating their arch-rivals.