Sutherland Sharks and Sydney FC both won in Round 17 to maintain their positions at the top of the NPL NSW Men’s 20s competition, while Rockdale City Suns stunned Manly United to deal a serious blow to Adam Griffiths’ side’s finals hopes.
In the Match of the Round on Saturday night at Lambert Park, Sydney FC eased to a comfortable 4-1 win over APIA Leichhardt Tigers thanks to a flurry of goals in the first half.
Match of the Round
Sydney FC 4-1 APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC, Saturday 5.45pm at Lambert Park
Sydney FC cruised to a 4-1 win over APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Lambert Park on Saturday night, keeping pace with a Sutherland Sharks side that picked up a 4-1 win of its own earlier in the day.
Daniel Maskin gave his side the lead in the 6th minute before Marco Tilio doubled Sydney FC’s advantage just after the half hour. Benjamin Koop added a third before halftime and Giuseppe Tilio slotted a penalty to put Sydney ahead by four, before Luca Kmet tacked on a brilliant consolation goal in the closing minutes of the second half.
Sydney FC were irrepressible from the off, and the ball was in the back of the APIA net after just six minutes as Daniel Maskin met a pass from the left to touch the ball beyond the goalkeeper and put the hosts into a 1-0 lead.
They continued to pour forward after going in front: Maskin shut down a clearance from the backline and might’ve pulled a pass back across goal but the keeper was happy to shadow the ball out of play.
The hosts were spraying the ball out from the back well and drove forward with purpose when they had possession in dangerous areas. Ryan Teague might’ve handed his side the lead when he was first to meet a corner as it swung in from the right, but he could only send his header spinning onto the post and out of play.
Mitchell Evans sprung into action to deny Kalilou Kamara with a stunning diving save, tipping the ball out for a corner when a goal looked a near certainty. Unfortunate not to have levelled, APIA soon found themselves further behind when the referee waved play on for a foul on Maskin in the midfield, allowing Marco Tilio to burst through on the right before cutting inside and smashing a shot into the roof of the net.
APIA barely had time to gather themselves before Sydney FC had the ball past the keeper again; Maskin again central to the play as he skipped past his man on the right before sliding a pass across the face of the goal for Benjamin Koop to sweep home for a third.
The nominal visitors dominated proceedings after the break, but by now Sydney were in second gear. A goalmouth scramble might have resulted in a goal – and with it hope of a comeback – but Kamara flashed his shot wide to leave APIA wanting.
Few chances fell for either side in a second half that felt almost like a pre-season friendly, but Sydney FC were still happy to take them when they arrived: Giuseppe Tilio was tripped in the box as his dribbled around his marker on the right and duly scored from the spot to give his side a four goal lead.
Luca Kmet converted a stunning freekick in the final minutes of the match to provide some consolation to the APIA Leichhardt faithful, and the whistle blew on a match that was, in truth, over by halftime.
Sydney FC’s Giancarlo Italiano was happy with a reasonably simple win for his side.
“It was a solid performance from a makeshift team,” he said.
“We had a lot of boys playing out of position and they performed really well.
“We tried a couple of different things in the second half and they pressed a little bit higher to get the goal – we also had a fair few boys from the 18’s who maybe aren’t used to our style, but they did well when they came on, so overall I’m pleased with the result.”
APIA Leichhardt coach Jonathan Keppie was frank in his assessment of his team’s defeat.
“It was a game of missed opportunities,” he said.
“There was a great chance just after we went down 1-0 and their keeper made a great save, and then they went up the other end and scored.
“The second half was a different story, we kept the ball well and took the chance from a free kick. The boys played really well, they knocked the ball around just like we asked – Sydney just took their chances better.”
Sydney FC 4 (Maskin 6’, M. Tilio 33’, Koop 37’, G. Tilio 81’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 1 (Kmet 89’)
Saturday June 30, 2018
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Sydney FC : 21. BALLARD MCBRIDE Finn, 12. BANDIERA Jackson, 24. BLACHURA Daniel, 1. EVANS Mitchell (40. MALISHEV David), 29. FAY Thomas, 18. KOOP Benjamin, 25. MASKIN Daniel (27. LAMBERTON Hamish), 5. SCIBILIO Patrick, 31. TEAGUE Ryan, 17. TILIO Marco (22. MATTISON Mitchell), 19. TILIO Giuseppe
Subs: 23. TALBOT Callum, 32. TSAKOS Evan
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC: 5. ADATTINI Stephan, 38. ALESSI Daniel (29. ABOUCHAAYA Cami), 32. ARMSON Jack, 26. AZZONE Nicholas, 28. CERASOLI Gino, 31. KAMARA Kalilou, 30. KMET Luca, 14. KYRA Aedon, 37. NASRABADI Dominion (27. GUZMAN Leandro), 39. TAVERNITI Matthew (40. KAMARA Musa), 22. TUXFORD Blake
Subs: 33. FINCH Corey, 35. REGAN Zander
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Sutherland Sharks FC 4-1 Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC, 4.30pm at Seymour Shaw
Sutherland Sharks and second-placed Sydney FC both won 4-1 on Saturday night, though Sutherland made harder work of their victory in the earlier kickoff at Seymour Shaw.
The competition leaders were level at 1-1 with Bonnyrigg White Eagles at halftime; James Temelkovski’s goal matched by a strike from Bonnyrigg’s Jordan Cracknell. Temelkovski, Adam Massoud and Deren O’Brien scored for Sutherland to secure the win in the second half, and hold a one-point lead over Sydney FC at the top of the table.
Sutherland face APIA Leichhardt Tigers in Round 18, while Bonnyrigg will take on Wollongong Wolves.
Hakoah Sydney City East FC 0-1 Marconi Stallions FC, 5pm at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah went down to ten men before going down 1-0 to Marconi Stallions at Hensley Athletic Field on Saturday night, leaving them five points off Blacktown City in fourth place as the regular season comes to a close.
The match was scoreless at halftime but Marconi made the most of their numerical advantage to take all three points, a vast improvement on the 3-0 defeat they suffered against Hakoah earlier in the season.
The Stallions are seven points off fifth ahead of next weekend’s match with Blacktown City, while Hakoah will travel to Sydney United Sports Centre to take on Sydney United 58 on Saturday.
Blacktown City FC 3-1 Sydney Olympic FC, 1pm at Lilys Homes Stadium
Blacktown City remain in third with a 3-1 win over Sydney Olympic in Round 17; a double from Suleyman Bangura and one from Jack Stewart easing the hosts to a straightforward victory at Lilys Homes Stadium early Sunday afternoon.
Rockdale’s unlikely win over Manly United later in the day means Sydney Olympic drop to the bottom of the ladder, while Blacktown are primed to make a leap into the top two when they make up their game in hand against Bonnyrigg.
Blacktown travel to Marconi Stallions on Sunday looking to keep up the pressure on Sydney FC and Sutherland ahead of them, while Sydney Olympic will hope to bounce back against Rockdale City Suns at Illinden Sports Centre.
Wollongong Wolves FC 0-0 Sydney United 58 FC, 1pm at WIN Stadium
Wollongong Wolves and Sydney United 58 played out a scoreless draw at WIN Stadium on Sunday afternoon; the result doing little for either side who would have much preferred three points than one between them.
Wollongong move to within a point of fourth-placed Hakoah ahead of their clash with Bonnyrigg White Eagles in Round 18, while Sydney United sit four points off the finals places, and will hope to make up ground when they take on Hakoah Sydney City East at home next Saturday.
Rockdale City Suns FC 1-0 Manly United FC, 3pm at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City Suns sprung the surprise of Round 17 when they overcame Manly United FC by a single goal in the late kickoff on Sunday afternoon at Ilinden Sports Centre.
One of the competition’s most under-performing sides moved off the bottom of the ladder thanks to Alexander Malfara’s first half strike, halting a four-match losing streak.
Rockdale host Sydney Olympic in Round 18 – the second of three consecutive home matches – while Manly United will look to bounce back against Sydney FC at Cromer Park.
-By Max Grieve