The Premiership race has been blown wide open after Round 9 of the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition.
Shock defeats for Sydney United 58, as well as draws for Sydney Olympic and Marconi, has completely shaken up the top five with Rockdale and Wollongong Wolves now in first and second position.
Rockdale have a two-point lead at the summit of the competition after this weekend’s action as they edged rivals APIA Leichhardt.
Sydney FC powered back into contention with a big win against Mt Druitt, while Blacktown City stunned everyone with their one-sided thrashing of United 58.
With only two matches in the regular season remaining, the premiership and finals places are very much for the taking.
Blacktown City 5 (Jennings 13′, 21′, 61′, Collins 47′, Desilva 50′) – Sydney United 58 1 (Antelmi 25′) at Lily Homes Stadium
Sydney United 58’s Premiership hopes have suffered a significant blow after a Leroy Jennings hat trick lifted struggling Blacktown City to a shock 5-1 demolition of the ladder leaders at Lily Homes Stadium on Friday.
It was an incredible return to form for City with on-fire winger Jennings leading the way against an out of sorts United 58 side who slumped to their worst and most humiliating defeat of the season.
It was one-way traffic from early on in the contest with Jennings striking twice inside the first 20 minutes as United 58 struggled to contain City’s skilful winger.
Patrick Antelmi claimed his seventh goal of the season in the 25th minute to get the visitors back into the contest.
United 58 showed signs of life late in the first half as they pushed for an equaliser, but would go into the interval trailing a fired up Blacktown side 2-1 at the break.
The home side took their game up a level after the restart and punished some sloppy United defending when Daniel Collins headed home Blacktown’s third goal in the 47th minute.
Blacktown delivered a moment of brilliance in the 50th minute courtesy of Rhett Desilva.
The tricky midfielder unleashed an absolute thunderbolt into the top corner of the net from 35 yards out to give City their fourth goal of the match.
Jennings wrapped up the result on the hour mark in style with a header at the far post to claim his hat trick and give Blacktown one of the most spectacular wins of the season.
Marconi Stallions 1 (Jesic 55′) – Manly United 1 (Cholakian 66′) at Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions hopes of playing finals football have taken a significant hit after they were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against Manly United on Saturday.
A second half volley from Manly’s inspirational captain Brendan Cholakian helped the visitors fight back and snatch a point a gusty Marconi Stadium.
The result means the Stallions remain in sixth place, two points outside the top five with only two matches to play in the regular season.
It was a slow start to the match with neither side creating any clear cut opportunities to score.
Manly spurned a gilt-edged chance in the 25th minute when an unmarked Dejan Pandurevic fired over the crossbar with only the keeper to beat from only 9 yards out.
It proved to be the best chance of the opening stanza with the windy conditions hampering the play of both teams as they went into the break locked at 0-0.
Marconi didn’t take long to find the back of the net after the restart with club captain Marko Jesic heading home from close range to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Manly was not to be denied and hit back shortly after with Cholakian volleying home with his left foot after a sloppy defensive clearance from the Stallions to level the score at 1-1.
Cholakian had a chance to steal victory for his side in the dying stages, but Marconi shot-stopper Nenad Vekic expertly saved his stinging effort as both sides were forced to settle for a point.
Sydney Olympic 1 (Gligor 47′) – North Shore Mariners 1 ( Lindsay 31′) at Lambert Park
Sydney Olympic has missed a chance to move into the top spot on the NPL NSW Men’s competition table after they were held to a shock 1-1 draw with bottom side North Shore Mariners on Saturday.
A second-half strike from Hagi Gligor cancelled out North Shore captain Chris Lindsay’s first-half free-kick as the home side were forced to settle for a point.
The draw could prove costly for Olympic’s Premiership hopes as they were unable to make the most of league leader.
After a mostly uneventful opening to the match, the Mariners took the lead after 30 minutes courtesy of Lindsay.
The North Shore captain fired in a sublime curling free-kick from the edge of the penalty area which flew into the top corner to give the visitors a shock 1-0 lead at the break.
Olympic raced out of the blocks after the interval and was able to equalise less than 90 seconds after the restart when Chris Gligor poked the ball home from close range after the Mariners were unable to clear a corner kick off their line.
Tempers frayed through the second-half as frustrations got the better of both sides.
Olympic pushed for a winner late in the contest, but it wasn’t to be as the Mariners clung on to claim a hard-earned point which felt like a victory for Joe Hayward’s side who stung Ante Juric’s highly talented squad.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 0 – Sydney FC 5 (Swibel 11, 59′, Fay 12′, 36′, 89′) at Popondetta Park
A quality Thomas Fay hat-trick has helped revive Sydney FC’s Premiership hopes as the Young Sky Blues claimed a dominant 5-0 drubbing against a hapless Mt Druitt Town Rangers outfit at Popondetta Park on Saturday.
It was a sensational bounce-back performance from Sydney after their 4-0 loss last week as they move back into the top five, only four points behind ladder leaders Rockdale.
A fast start to the match had the visitors on top early with Jordi Swibel converting from the penalty spot and Fay claiming his first goal of the game to give Sydney a 2-0 advantage inside the opening 15 minutes.
Fay claimed his third minutes out from the interval with Sydney in complete control of the contest.
It was more of the same in the second stanza with the visitors stretching their lead from the penalty spot in the 60th minute as Swibel claimed a brace in his first start of the season.
Mt Druitt had a few moments of their own late in the second half but was unable to make the most of their chances.
In the last minute of the match, Fay wrapped up his hat trick with a simple tap in at the back post to secure the 5-0 win for Sydney FC.
Wollongong Wolves 1 (Bingham 32′) – Western Sydney Wanderers 0 at Albert Butler Memorial Park
A first-half goal from Josh Bingham was all it took for Wollongong Wolves as they claimed a 1-0 win against Western Sydney Wanderers at Albert Butler Memorial Park on Sunday.
The result moves Wollongong into the second spot on the ladder, two points behind first-placed Rockdale Ilinden with two games left in the season.
Josh Bingham opened the scoring for the home side on the half-hour mark with Wollongong taking their 1-0 lead into the break.
Western Sydney fought back in the second stanza but could not break down a composed Wolves defence.
Despite a spirited performance from the Wanderers, it wasn’t enough as Wollongong clung on to claim all three competition points.
Rockdale Ilinden 3 (Neill 44′, Casella 63′, Urosevski 89′ ) – APIA Leichhardt 2 (Galimi 52′, Diaz 74′ ) at Ilinden Sports Centre
In what appeared to be the game of the round thanks to all the heart stomping action, Rockdale Ilinden has jumped to the top of the NPL NSW Men’s competition ladder after a dramatic final minute goal from ‘the baker’ Alec Urosevski has helped them to a 3-2 win against rivals APIA Leichhardt.
Ilinden now sits two points clear of second-placed Wollongong Wolves and are in pole position to take out the premiership with only two matches left in the regular season.
Urosevski’s goal capped off a thrilling contest and helped Rockdale claim a rare victory against their bogey side APIA.
APIA took the game to their opponents from the opening whistle and had the best chances of the opening stanza.
However, it was the home side who would take the lead on the cusp of half time.
A rasping shot from Tomoki Wada clanged off the woodwork before falling at the feet of Michael Neill who tapped home from only a few yards out.
APIA hit back almost immediately after the restart with Paul Galimi heading home from a corner kick to level the score at 1-1.
Rockdale would take the lead once again in the 62nd minute when Jaden Casella finished a counter-attacking move from the home side.
It was an end to end match, and both sides refused to roll over.
APIA found an equaliser courtesy of Tynan Diaz in the 74th minute when the veteran winger finished a flowing move with a composed shot past the keeper
With the game headed for a draw, Rockdale delivered a final twist with Urosevski claiming a dramatic late winner firing past Luke Turnbull with his second effort to snatch the win and all three competition points.