After another big weekend of football Marconi Stallions have stayed atop the National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition ladder.
With only three rounds to go it’s do or die for our top seven teams and the excitement is building as fans wait to see if their team can secure a hotly-contested finals position.
Manly United FC v Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC
7:00pm, Friday 15th July, Cromer Park
Manly United will be looking to gain valuable points on Friday night as they continue their campaign in the race for finals football.
With everything to play for, Manly will be fired up in front of their home crowd and will be looking to redeem themselves after they suffered a huge 6-1 loss to Blacktown City in Round 19.
Alen Aganovic equalised for the home side in the 17th minute of their Round 19 clash, while the consistently impressive James Oates scored an own goal for the visitors.
On the other side of the pitch, Mt Druitt are coming off a huge 4-3 victory over Wollongong in Round 19 and a midweek catch up loss to Northbridge, which will make backing up for Friday a difficult task.
Will Manly United be able to bounce back with a win to keep them in finals contention?
Wollongong Wolves FC v Marconi Stallions FC
7:30pm, Friday 15th July, WIN Stadium
Wollongong will host the league leaders on Friday night as Marconi make the trip to WIN Stadium to fight to keep the top spot.
A win over Sydney United 58 saw the Stallions stay in first place in the league and another win would give them a crucial three points that will likely keep them on top for another week.
Wollongong, who’s finals hopes have been slashed, suffered a narrow defeat to Mt Druitt in Round 19 but would surely enjoy nothing more than knocking Marconi off their pedestal.
Without Charles Lokolingoy Marconi will have to depend on the likes of Marko Jesic and Domenic Costanzo for their attacking efforts in the clash, while Lachlan Scott will likely be one to watch for the Wolves after his brace in Round 19.
It will surely be a hard-fought battle as the top spot hangs in the balance for the Stallions.
Northbridge Bulls FC v Rockdale Ilinden FC
3:00pm, Saturday 16th July, Sydney United Sports Centre
Northbridge will back up from their Tuesday night make-up clash when they host Rockdale on Saturday afternoon.
While the Bulls’ season is all but over, the young talents will be eager to continue to develop as they try to knock Rockdale out of finals contention.
The visitors are on the edge of the finals race but will have a fighting chance if they can collect three points from the league’s 11th-placed team.
Alec Urosevki will be one to watch in the clash as he races for the golden boot, coming off a brace in their Round 19 clash, while consistently impressive defender Mitchell Stamatellis scored the other of the match and will cause problems for the Bulls’ attacking efforts.
A narrow win over Mt Druitt on Thursday may give the young Bulls a bit of momentum, but will it be enough to silence Rockdale?
Sutherland Sharks FC v Blacktown City FC
3:30pm, Saturday 16th July, Seymour Shaw
A reinvigorated Blacktown City will be hoping to continue their dash for the Premiership as they take on Sutherland on Saturday afternoon.
A huge 6-1 victory over Manly will have the Blacktown boys buoyed as they head into this encounter looking to make a big impact.
With Travis Major back in the mix for Blacktown and the looming return of Danny Choi, they will certainly be a force to be reckoned with considering their already impressive side.
The bottom of the table Sharks don’t have finals to fight for, but with a big 2023 on the horizon they’ll be looking to finish their season on a high and a win over a heavyweight team like Blacktown would do wonders for their morale.
Sutherland managed to hold out APIA Leichhardt to a draw in their midweek clash, which will surely give them some confidence to take on another league heavyweight.
As every point matters in the final stage of the season, who will come out on top?
Sydney FC v Sydney United 58 FC
11:25am, Sunday 17th July, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre
The high-scoring young sky blues will come up against Sydney United 58 in an unusual morning match at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
Football fans will have the chance to watch some daytime football to fill in their Sunday and it will be a big match as Sydney FC fight for finals against the experience of Sydney United 58.
United 58 managed to hold out a dangerous Sydney Olympic side to a scoreless draw on Wednesday night and will need to do the same to a young and vivacious Sydney FC.
While finals are off the table for the visitors, they will still put up a good fight as they look to dash the hopes of Sydney FC.
With their first win last week after a string of draws, Sydney FC will be hoping to continue their winning ways and start a streak heading into the end of the season as their finals football hopes hang in the balance.
APIA Leichhardt FC v Sydney Olympic FC
4:00pm, Sunday 17th July, Lambert Park
In a historic battle, APIA Leichhardt will host Sydney Olympic at Lambert Park to wrap up the Round 20 action on Sunday afternoon.
With a wealth of talent and experience across both teams it’s sure to be a high-calibre football match as both teams fight for absolutely crucial finals points as a win could see one team knock the other out of finals contention.
Having both played midweek catch up games their fitness will likely play a major part in the result.
APIA’s midweek draw with the Sharks won’t have them with too much extra confidence heading into the clash but they’ll be looking to perform where it counts on Sunday.
Olympic’s scoreless draw with Sydney United 58 will leave them hungry for some goals as they take on their long-time rivals and they’ll need to draw on Roy O’Donovan to lead their attacking phase.
In a high-stakes match it’s do-or-die for these two teams as the race to finals has well and truly heated up.
The question is have the wheels fallen off at APIA? All will be revealed as Danial Cummins’ side need a victory to keep them in the finals series hunt.