The battle for the National Premier Leagues NSW Premiership will go down to the wire after a dramatic penultimate round of the competition.
APIA Leichhardt survived a major scare to remain on top of the table going into the final week of fixtures while Sydney Olympic also tasted victory.
Both side’s remained locked on points with APIA’s goal difference giving them the advantage.
It sets the scene for an exhilarating run of fixtures next week with 90 minutes standing between the two sides and Premiership glory.
The top prize isn’t the only thing up for grabs with Marconi’s win this round, and Rockdale’s defeat at the hands of Hakoah leaving the final playoff spot up for grabs.
Although destined to finish the season on the bottom of the table, Sydney FC had a reason to smile in Round 21 as they upset fourth placed Blacktown City FC.
All attention turns to next Sunday with the competition set for it’s scintillating final act.
Sutherland Sharks 2 – Marconi Stallions 3 at Seymour Shaw
Marconi Stallions have claimed a crucial 3-2 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s win over Sutherland Sharks.
The visitors bounced back from conceding in the first minute with goals to Michael Beauchamp, Sean Rooney and Marko Jesic ensuring the pressure remains on Rockdale City Suns in fifth position.
For Sutherland on the other hand, it’s a period of transition and Grant Lee’s troops put in a performance which nearly saw them take points off their visitors with goals to Nic Olsen and Hristijan Tanoski.
Sydney United 58 1 – Manly United FC 0 at Sydney United Sports Centre
A Panny Nikas strike at the death has secured all three points for Sydney United 58 in a tense 1-0 result against Manly United FC at Sydney United Sports Centre on Saturday.
The home side put their disappointing loss to APIA Leichhardt Tigers behind them, as they controlled proceedings for 90 minutes against last season’s grand final winners.
For Manly United FC, the loss extinguishes their slim finals chances and puts their Championship defence to bed.
The visitors know their core group will take the lessons from this season and channel it into a more successful 2019.
Sydney FC 1 – Blacktown CIty FC 0 at Lambert Park
A second half Luke Ivanovic strike has helped Sydney FC to a shock 1-0 upset of finals bound Blacktown CIty FC at Lambert Park on Saturday.
The win was the Young Sky Blues first in weeks and all but secures their place in the NPL NSW competition for next season.
Ivanovic’s runaway goal in the 70th minute, only seconds after taking to the field, was a rare highlight in a hard fought and at times dour game which featured few true chances.
A late red card for Sydney’s Liam McGing wasn’t enough to stop the home side from collecting all three points.
It was a frustrating defeat for Blacktown who were desperate to build momentum going into the finals series.
Hakoah Sydney City East 1 – Rockdale City Suns 0 at Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah Sydney City East put a dent in Rockdale City Sun’s finals hopes with an Oliver Green deflected goal handing them a tense 1-0 win at Hensley Athletic Field on Sunday.
Green’s 51st minute effort was the stroke of good fortune the home side needed in a tough encounter where goals were at a premium.
The win ensures Hakoah Sydney City East will return for another season in the NSW State League top flight with the three points staving off the threat of relegation.
It was a hard fought result for the home side who took advantage of a fatigued Rockdale side backing up from their midweek FFA clash against A-League powerhouse Sydney FC.
For the visitors, it all comes down to next week now. They find themselves outside the top five now, on goal difference after Paul Reid’s side failed to make their chances count.
Now they need to beat Sydney FC next week and rely on a favour from Wollongong Wolves to make it.
Wollongong Wolves 0 – Sydney Olympic 4 at Hooka Creek Park
Sydney Olympic has kept their premiership push alive with a dominant 4-0 win against Wollongong Wolves at Hooka Creek Park on Sunday.
A brace from Alejandro Sanchez-Lopez helped get the visitors over the line, with Nikolas Tsattalios and Max Burgess also getting on the scoresheet in a productive afternoon for the travelling side.
The result ensures the Abbas Saad coached side remains neck and neck with APIA Leichhardt Tigers for the Premiership and sets up a dramatic final round next week.
Sadly for Wollongong the loss means they finish yet another season outside the top five and out of contention for finals football.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 6 – Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3 at Labert Park
APIA Leichhardt Tigers head into the final week of the 2018 National Premier Leagues season in pole position to retain their Premiership title after a phenomenal 6-3 win over Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Lambert Park on Sunday afternoon.
Down 3-0 with half an hour played, the Tigers looked a shadow of their former selves until Sean Symons sparked the comeback with a goal just before the break.
Bonnyrigg imploded with three red cards in the second half allowing APIA free rein in the closing stages the game, with a sixth goal late on giving the hosts a cushion that seemed impossible an hour earlier.
It was a spectacular and somewhat bizarre contest but most importantly puts Billy McColl’s Tigers side in control of their own fate ahead of what is set to be a dramatic final week of action in Round 22.