There were some big results over the weekend in round 13 of the NPL NSW Men’s 20’s as big wins followed both Manly United and Marconi Stallions.
Meanwhile, competition leaders Sutherland Sharks slumped to consecutive losses for the first time in a 12 months.
Match of the Round
Sydney FC 3-1 Sutherland Sharks, 5.45pm at Lambert Park
Marco Tilio delivered a performance to remember as Sydney FC defeated Sutherland Sharks 3-1 at Lambert Park on Saturday evening to return among the premiership contenders.
The Sky Blues midfielder clinched a superbly taken double and set up a goal for Hamish Lamberton as Giancarlo Italiano’s side ended an indifferent run of form with an invaluable victory over the runaway competition leaders.
Sydney had registered just one win in their last five fixtures prior to their date with Sutherland and entered the contest knowing a defeat to the first-placed Sharks would likely spell the end of their title ambitions.
But a determined, organized and committed 90 minutes from the Sky Blues, led by the mesmerizing brilliance of their pocket-sized playmaker, ensured that Sydney end the weekend firmly back in the premiership running.
Sydney are now five points away from the 2017 double-winners with nine fixtures remaining and will now turn their attention to another top of the table encounter with Wollongong Wolves next Saturday on the South Coast.
The Sky Blues will regard their triumph over Sutherland as a suitable template in which to take on the Wolves and indeed build on for the rest of their campaign. Having been crushed 6-1 by Nick Dimovski’s side in the reverse round two fixture at Seymour Shaw, Sydney knew a high-octane start was required and the home side had the visitors reeling after twenty minutes.
Tilio opened the scoring after racing onto a pass from brother Guiseppe before whipping a superb left footed effort back across Sutherland goalkeeper Nikolas Loe to hand the hosts a deserved lead.
And it got even better for the Sky Blues when Lamberton doubled the lead four minutes later. Tilio was this time the architect: holding off an array of challenges before clipping a perfectly weighted pass into Lamberton who grabbed his 13th of the campaign with a diving header.
Sutherland left the pitch at half time shell-shocked but responded well in the second half and crafted several opportunities to score. Sharks top scorer James Temelkovski saw the best chance arrive early in the second stanza but saw his stabbed effort on the penalty spot saved by Sydney goalkeeper David Malishev.
The visitors survived a few nervy moments of their own as Lamberton and Daniel Blachura went close for Sydney before pulling a goal back through Thomas Papa’s header after the midfielder timed a late run into the box to meet Adam Massoud’s deep cross from the right.
Papa’s effort arrived with 22 minutes remaining and should’ve bolstered Sutherland’s chances of grabbing an equalizer, however the Sharks were unable to properly sustain an assault and saw Sydney’s two-goal buffer restored by Tilio’s second five minutes later.
The Sky Blues playmaker received an incisive pass from Lamberton before applying an emphatic driven finish from the edge of the area to quell any hopes of a Sutherland fightback.
The defeat for the competition leaders follows a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Rockdale City Suns the previous Saturday, and while the Sharks have several sides starting to breathe down their necks coach Nick Dimovski said he isn’t overly concerned.
“I think it was a game of two halves,” he said.
“That first half Sydney were out of the blocks quickly and full credit to them. It’s a loss that we’re going to have to swallow and move on from.”
Dimovski’s Sharks have entered the second half of the league campaign with targets over their heads as the side aims to complete back to back premiership and championship doubles, but the Sutherland stalwart says there’s no shortage of quality in the title race and urged his players to regroup swiftly.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for the Wollongong team, I think they’re a good team that are only going to get stronger,” he said.
“Blacktown City and Sydney United 58 are both dark horses, and we’ve got an extremely hard game next week against Hakoah.
“We’ll be alright, we’re not going to push any alarm bells.”
Sydney FC 3 (Tilio 18’, 73’, Lamberton 21’)
Sutherland Sharks 1 (Papa 68’)
Saturday 2nd of June 2018
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Sydney FC: 21. Finn Ballard Mcbride (32. Evan Tsaskos 88’), 24. Daniel Blachura, 28. Paolo Bonanni, 29. Thomas Fay, 27. Hamish Lamberton (18. Benjamin Koop 83’), 40. David Malishev, 5. Patrick Scibilio, 19. Giuseppe Tilio, 17. Marco Tilio, 22. Harry Van Der Saag (31. Ryan Teague 60’), 26. Ben Van Meurs
Substitutes not used: 1. Mitchell Evans, 25. Daniel Maskin
Yellow cards: Scibilio 36’, Van Der Saag 40’, Blachura 85’
Red cards: N/A
Sutherland Sharks: 28. Noah Chia (53. Kuot Maliet 64’), 31. Gabriel Contigiani, 25. Blake Currey, 21. Nikolas Loe, 24. Adam Massoud, 33. Thomas Papa, 27. Harrison Quirk, 32. James Temelkovski, 7. Stephen Kayes (3. Richard Stewart 79’), 18. Juan Zapata (23. Deren O’Brien 63’), 11. Hjristan Tanoski
Substitutes not used: 38. Jacob Forster
Yellow cards: N/A
Red cards: N/A
Marconi Stallions 2-1 Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 5.00pm at Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions have given their season a lifeline after defeating Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2-1 at Marconi Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Stallions had to win at all costs to restore their chances of making a late dash to the finals and were in debt to a superb brace from Emileo Fadel who picked a great time to net his first two goals of the campaign.
Marconi remain in eleventh position but will enter next weekend’s must-win clash against APIA Leichhardt Tigers with wind in their sails.
The defeat for Bonnyrigg halts the momentum for the White Eagles who have been steadily improving over the course of the campaign. Asmir Kadric clinched the goal for Hamish Brown’s side who remain in seventh ahead of a crunch match with Blacktown City at home next week.
Manly United 4-1 Hakoah Sydney City East, 5.00pm at Cromer Park
Manly delivered their best performance of the season to crush high-flying Hakoah Sydney City East 4-1 at Cromer Park.
Mitchell Rooke’s hattrick highlighted a huge three points for Adam Griffith’s side who also found the back of the net through Jamie Glover.
The Cromer Park outfit have truly hit their stride in winning three of their last five and will be hoping to further improve their finals prospects with a win over Sydney Olympic at home next weekend.
Hakoah Sydney City East scored through Connor Eldridge on the day and will be disappointed with the concession of four goals having maintained one of the strongest defensive records over the middle course of the year. The defeat is just Hakoah’s second in eight matches and they’ll be looking to get back on the horse next Saturday afternoon against leaders Sutherland.
Sydney Olympic 0-0 APIA Leichhardt Tigers, 12.40pm at Belmore Sportsground
Sydney Olympic and APIA Leichhardt Tigers played out the third goalless stalemate of the campaign at Belmore Sportsground.
The result will ultimately please neither side but might prove more costly for the visitors who missed the chance to leapfrog a host of sides into sixth place had they collected the three points.
Franco Consetino’s side have just one win from their last five matches heading into the pointy end of the season and will need to establish a good run imminently if they are to play finals football in 2018.
Olympic remain rooted to the bottom of the table and are three points away from 11th-placed Marconi Stallions. The Blues will need to beat Manly United at Cromer Park next round to resuscitate their finals chances.
Blacktown City 1-0 Sydney United 58, 1.00pm at Lily Homes Stadium
Lachlan Rose’s eighth goal of the season helped Blacktown City claim a vital win over rivals Sydney United 58 at Lily Homes Stadium.
John Carnevale’s side had lost back to back matches against Wollongong Wolves and Sutherland Sharks prior to the contest but Rose clinched the only goal of the game to hand the hosts an important victory.
Blacktown are now three points behind leaders Sutherland with nine matches remaining and take on Bonnyrigg White Eagles away from home next weekend.
The loss for Sydney United 58 could prove to be a significant setback for the Reds who remain four points off fifth spot. The Reds host Rockdale City Suns at home next weekend.
Rockdale City Suns 0-1 Wollongong Wolves, 5.00pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Wollongong Wolves secured a vital victory over the Rockdale City Suns at the Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
-By Jacob Windon