Round six of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition is in the books, and it was another massive weekend of action around the grounds.
There is a new team in the top spot as Sydney Olympic leapfrogged Sydney FC to move into first place after a dramatic late win against Marconi Stallions on Saturday.
The Premiership race looks like it could be the closest in history with as many as five teams all in contention with only five rounds left to play.
Sydney United 58’s big win under new interim coach Anthony Crea against Sydney FC catapulted them into fourth place but only one point behind the league leaders.
Western Sydney Wanderers under their new manager in Patrick Zwaanswijk secured their first win in NSW ‘s top flight after they stunned the previously undefeated Rockdale Ilinden.
At the same time, It was another tough week for APIA and Blacktown City fans as the traditional powerhouses slumped to defeat yet again.
Manly United 5 (Kmet 10′, Pandurevic 33′, Cholakian 36′, Devries 45′, Cardozo 79′) – APIA Leichhardt 2 (S Symons 62′, Cox 74′) at Cromer Park
Manly United have revived their stuttering season with a 5-2 drubbing of reigning National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s Champions APIA Leichhardt.
There were goals galore at a wet Cromer Park on Friday as Manly put on an attacking masterclass to despatch an underperforming APIA outfit.
The match was all but decided before the half-time break as the home side scored four in the opening 45 minutes.
Young gun Luca Kmet found the back of the net for the second time in as many weeks after only 10 minutes, while star winger Dejan Pandurevic broke his duck with his first goal of the campaign after a woeful keeping error from APIA’s Daniel Sadaka.
Captain Brendan Cholakian tripled the lead in the 36th minute from the penalty spot with his second for the season, and young gun Jordan Devries claimed a goal, his second of the year, in the dying stages of the first half, his second in three matches.
APIA provided a bit more resistance after the interval and opened their account 15 minutes after the restart courtesy of a deflected goal for Sean Symons.
APIA showed signs of life when Jeremy Cox scored in the 74th minute, but it would prove to be a mere consolation as Manly made it 5-2 thanks to a clinical finish from veteran striker Richie Cardozo.
The win keeps Manly in touch with the battle for the top five only one point behind fifth-placed Wollongong, while APIA remains languishing towards the bottom of the table in ninth.
Marconi Stallions 1 (Own Goal Parkhouse 49′) – Sydney Olympic 2 (Madonis 86′, Ferreira 94′) at Marconi Stadium
A dramatic last-minute strike from Fabio Ferreira has helped Sydney Olympic snatch a 2-1 comeback win against Marconi Stallions at Marconi Stadium on Saturday.
Trailing 1-0 with less than five minutes left on the clock, Olympic scored two quickfire goals against a shocked Stallions outfit to claim an unbelievable victory.
Marconi started the stronger of the two sides and dominated the early proceedings with Mitch Mallia in almost unstoppable form.
It was a moment of Mallia brilliance which opened the scoring in the 48th minute after the mercurial midfielder’s skilful turn helped him beat a defender before firing in a dangerous cross which was deflected into the back of the net by Olympic.
Mallia hit the post in the 77th minute, and it proved to be a turning point in the match with Olympic grabbing their lifeline and turning the game on its head.
The visitors were rewarded for their efforts in the 85th minute when they were awarded a penalty for handball which captain Jason Madonis cooly converted from the spot to level the score at 1-1.
There was yet another twist in the tale, and it came deep into added time with Ferreira hitting the winner from only a few yards out after a sensational run and cross from Go Hayama to secure all three points – It was his third of the year and a memorable that could prove huge at the tail end of the rebooted season.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 1 (Jeffrey 78′) – North Shore Mariners 1 (Smith 49′) at Popondetta Park
A late Michael Jeffery strike has helped Mt Druitt Town Rangers stretch their unbeaten run to three games with a 1-1 draw against North Shore Mariners.
The Mariners took the lead early in the second half courtesy of Mitchell Smith and appeared to be on their way to an unlikely win.
However, Mt Druitt had other ideas and stung the visitors with a rapid counter-attack to nab the equaliser.
North Shore had their chances in the dying stages but was unable to find the back of the net.
The result means The Rangers move within one point of the top five while North Shore move off the bottom of the table.
Wollongong Wolves 2 (Bingham 8′, Beattie 40′) v Blacktown City 0 at Albert Butler Memorial Park
Wollongong Wolves have cruised to a 2-0 win against Blacktown at Albert Butler Memorial Park on Sunday.
It was Blacktown’s fourth straight defeat and left them slumped to the bottom of the table, while Wollongong kept their Premiership defence on track with their fourth win of the season.
It took only eight minutes for the Wolves to take the lead courtesy of a cool finish from striker Josh Bingham who chipped the keeper after a slick through ball.
Wollongong was on top throughout the first half with Blacktown struggling to cling on.
The home side doubled their lead with only five minutes left in the half as Marcus Beattie found the back of the net after linking well with Tatsuki Nagatsuka.
City looked better after the break and tried to fight their way back into the contest.
Rhett Desilva tested Wollongong shot-stopper Luke Kairies with a rasping shot which was parried wide with a diving save.
Despite the visitor’s efforts, Wollongong was in complete control of the fixture holding out until the final whistle for all three competition points.
Rockdale Ilinden (Casella 3′) 1 – Western Sydney Wanderers (K Grozos 9′, Jordan 70′, P Grozos 90′) 3 at Ilinden Sports Centre
Western Sydney Wanderers have pulled off a stunning upset to shock an undefeated Rockdale Ilindend 3-1 at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
It was an inspired second-half performance for the Wanderers handing new coach Patrick Zwaanswijk his first win in charge as they punished an out of sorts Rockdale side.
It didn’t take Rockdale long to open the scoring with Nikola Taneski pinching the ball in midfield before setting up Jordan Casella for his maiden NPL NSW goal in only the third minute of the match.
Despite conceding, The Wanderers refused to retreat and were rewarded only moments later when Rory Jordan won his side a penalty after a mazy run into the box.
Kostas Grozos stepped up to the mark and fired home his penalty to score and break Rockdale’s five-game clean sheet streak.
The match would remain deadlocked at the break with Rockdale unable to break down a resilient Wanderers defence.
Rockdale paid the price for a defensive lapse in the 70th minute when Ali Auglah found a wide-open Rory Jordan in the box who then curled his shot around the outstretched arms of the keeper to make it 2-0.
Wanderers keeper Oliver Kalac pulled out a sensational diving save ten minutes from time to deny a thunderous driven shot from Brayden Sorge.
Despite’s Rockdale’s efforts, it would be the Wanderers who would come out on top with Peter Grozos wrapping up the win with a sublime finish after a pass from his brother Kostas.
The result was Western Sydney’s first win in the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition and moves them up to ninth ahead of APIA, while losers Rockdale drop down two places to fifth.
Sydney United 58 (Sim 4′, Trifiro 13′, Antelmi 29′, 83′) 4 – Sydney FC (Mostofi 52′, Wood 88′) 2 at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58 has put their Premiership credentials on display with an impressive 3-1 win against ladder leaders Sydney FC at Sydney United Sports Centre on Sunday.
A three-goal salvo to start the first half from the home side had the Young Sky Blues on the back foot early as new interim coach Anthony Crea saw his side flex their attacking muscles in what was a dominant performance.
It was a rapid start from the home side who took the lead after only four minutes as veteran Matt Sim found the back of the net.
Glen Trifiro doubled the lead less than ten minutes later with a sublime curling free-kick from the edge of the penalty.
Sydney FC had no answers for United 58’s ferocious attack, and by the 30th minute, the Reds were up 3-0 after a clinical one-touch finish from Patrick Antelmi.
The Young Sky Blues found their feet after the interval and managed to open their account through Aidan Mostofi’s finish from inside the penalty area.
However, it was Sydney United’s day, and they wrapped up a win from the penalty spot with Antelmi firing into the back of the net to claim a brace.
A late goal from Patrick Wood closed the deficit, but it wasn’t enough to stop United 58 from victory and all three competition points.