Another weekend of National Premier Leagues NSW Action is in the books and it is Rockdale Ilinden back on top at the end of Round 4.
The Steven Zoric coached side remain the only undefeated team in the competition with three wins and a draw from their opening matches of the reboot season.
It was also a big round for Manly United who sent off departing coach Paul Dee in style with a great result against Sydney Olympic.
Mt Druitt collected their first win of the campaign and on Sunday Wollongong scored four in a comprehensive return to the winner’s circle to wrap up a huge three days of fixtures.
APIA Leichhardt 0 – Sydney FC 1 (Saracino 26) at Lambert Park
A first-half Antonio Saracino goal has lifted Sydney FC to a narrow 1-0 win against APIA Leichhardt at Lambert Park on Friday.
It was a statement win from the Young Sky Blues who have proven they are contenders for the National Premier Leagues NSW Premiership with three wins from their first four matches.
It was end to end action from the opening whistle with both Sydney and APIA trading efforts of goal.
It took only 25 minutes for the visitors to take the lead when Saracino fired home from an acute angle after a careful build-up for his teammates.
Sydney keeper Levi Kaye made several key stops to deny a determined APIA attack in the early stages of the second stanza.
Michael Kouta went inches away from scoring for the home side when his curling free-kick hit the crossbar.
Chance after chance went wasted by APIA and with time-wasting away it just wasn’t their night as Sydney FC clung on for victory.
It was a tough night at the office for the home side who had skipper Sean Symons, Themba Muata Marlow, Nick Stavroulakis, Corey Biczo and David D’Apuzzo all out with John Calleja hoping to get back some of his stars in the coming weeks.
Manly United 3 (Cholakian 26, Georgaklis 76’, Devries 86’) – Sydney Olympic 2 (Parkhouse 21’,74) at Cromer Park
Departing coach Paul Dee was given a winning farewell by his Manly United side as they claimed a 3-2 win against Sydney Olympic at Cromer Park.
It was an emphatic return to form from Manly who scored their first goals of the season as they came from behind twice to secure victory.
Down 1-0 at the interval after Olympic’s Adam Parkhouse snagged the opening goal after 21 minutes, Manly fought back after the restart and found an equaliser when Brendan Cholakian converted from the penalty spot.
Parkhouse was on hand to haunt his former side when he scored his second of the night in the 74th minute to give Olympic a 2-1 lead.
Manly responded immediately and equalised in style only 90 seconds later when James Georgaklis fired home a stunning volley from 25 yards out.
Momentum was on Manly’s side and with only four minutes to play youngster Jordan Devries volleyed from the edge of the penalty area to claim a dramatic winner for his side.
Marconi Stallions 1 (Sepping 2’) – Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Jordan 60’) at Marconi Stadium
A second-half strike from Rory Jordan has helped Western Sydney Wanderers snatch a 1-1 draw against Marconi Stallions at Marconi Stadium on Saturday.
It was a spirited fightback from the Wanderers who claimed a valuable point against tough opposition.
Peter Tsekenis’ side made a lightning start to the match with young gun Lachlan Sepping giving the home side a 1-0 lead after only two minutes.
Despite conceding early, The Wanderers refused to roll over and responded with a pair of chances of their own.
Marconi went into the break with a 1-0 lead but Western Sydney took only 10 minutes after the restart to find an equaliser.
Jordan displayed his silky dribbling skills to score a brilliant goal for the Wanderers.
A rash challenge from Connor Evans proved costly with the midfielder sent off and reducing the Stallions to 10-men with 20 minutes left on the clock.
Both teams had their efforts in the closing stages but neither was able to break through with the match ending deadlocked.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 4 (Roberts 43’, 63’, Stewart 67’, Jeffries 79’) – Sydney United 58 3 (Clut 48, Bilic 70’, 89’) at Popondetta Park
Mt Druitt Town Rangers roared back into form with a shock 4-3 win against Sydney United 58 at Popendetta Park on Saturday night.
It was Franco Cosentino’s first win since taking over as Rangers boss and the club’s maiden victory since the competition restart.
The home side was able to withstand the windy conditions to take a 1-0 lead into the break after John Roberts converted from the spot.
Sydney United made a rapid start to the second stanza with Devante Clut equalising in the 48th minute.
A quick-thinking Roberts gave Mt Druitt the lead again after 63 minutes when he headed home from close range before Jack Stewart made it 3-1 with a classy finish.
Matthew Bilic then gave United 58 a glimmer of hope notching up in the 70th minute but it was Mt Druitt’s night and Michael Jeffrey wrapped up the points for the home side when he scored to make it 4-2.
Bilic claimed his second, and third of the year, in the dying stages to set up a nervous finish, but the Rangers did enough for a confidence-boosting three points.
Wollongong Wolves 4 (Scott 5’ 92’, Okada 33’, Littler 52) – North Shore Mariners 1 (Frederick 79’) at Albert Butler Memorial Park
It was a return to the winner’s circle on Sunday for Wollongong Wolves who secured a comprehensive 4-1 victory against North Shore Mariners.
Two goals on each side of halftime lifted the Wolves to victory against a tricky Mariners outfit.
Gun striker Lachlan Scott opened the scoring only five minutes into the contest with Wollongong doubling their lead in the 33rd minute courtesy of a Takeru Okada finish.
The home side would take the 2-0 lead into the break and continued to control the match after the restart.
Okada was dangerous for Wollongong and created headaches for the Mariners defence.
Nicholas Littler headed home midway through the second stanza to make it 3-0 for Wollongong.
The introduction of Lawrence Frederick for North Shore gave the visitors a much-needed spark and he found himself on the scoresheet with 10 minutes left to play.
The Mariners should’ve had a second goal not long after but Hayden Durose in the Wolves goal did well to deny them.
With the final seconds ticking down, Scott snagged his brace with a composed finish to wrap up the three points for his side.
It was an important win for Wollongong who stay in the race for premiership only a point behind leaders Rockdale,
There was also good news for the hosts who should be getting ace marksman Thomas James back for next weekend’s match after his stint with A-League finalists Perth Glory had come to an abrupt end.
Rockdale Ilinden 1 (Urosevski 73’)- Blacktown City FC 0 at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale Ilinden has reclaimed the top spot on the ladder after edging Blacktown City 1-0 at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
A clinical finish from Alec Urosevski was the difference as Ilinden stretched their undefeated streak to four games since the competition restart.
It was an even first half with both sides creating chances throughout the opening 45 minutes but neither could find the back of the net.
Rockdale had the best of the action after the resumption of play and caught the Blacktown defence napping in the 73rd minute when Urosevski was put into space behind the defence before he slipped the ball around the advancing keeper.
It was a big goal for the ace attacker who originally was set to take some time off from the rebooted season only to come back just after kick-off due to him missing the game.
A determined City side refused to quit and pushed hard for an equaliser but struggled to create clear cut chances.
Frustration began to get the better of the visitors and they were unable to break through a resolute Rockdale backline who clung on until the final whistle for the win.