There was something for everyone in the opening round of the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 2017 season.
The traditional powers of the competition had a mixed start to their campaign with Sydney United 58 and Bonnyrigg White Eagles going down while Blacktown City were forced to share the spoils with Hakoah Sydney City East.
Wollongong’s busy offseason is already paying dividends with quality performances from new signings Tashiro Yuzo and Patrick Antelmi in their 3-1 win against Parramatta FC
It wasn’t a perfect start for Sydney FC who went down 2-1 to Rockdale, but there are plenty of positive signs for coach Robbie Stanton and the Sky Blues after their first competitive match since promotion from the PS4 NPL2 NSW Men’s competition.
While the results of round one won’t make or break a team’s season, coaches will be determined to get their sides firing sooner rather than later.
Match of the Round.
Sydney FC 1- Rockdale City Suns 2 at Lambert Park
Experience and savvy football helped Rockdale City Suns to a hard fought 2-1 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s win against a relentless Sydney FC on Saturday.
A goal from Jordan Figon midway through the second half was the difference as the burly striker powered the ball home from close range at Lambert Park.
Rockdale’s Alec Urosevski and Sydney’s Chris Zuvela also found the back of the net in a match which could’ve featured a very different result with an explosive Sky Blues attack a constant threat.
It was an impressive Rockdale debut for former Socceroo shot stopper Ante Covic whose form between the sticks kept the visitors in the match.
Sydney FC has shown that despite their youthful squad’s lack of experience, they will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
Sutherland Sharks 2 – Manly United 3 at Seymour Shaw
Manly United’s Central Coast import Matthew Fletcher netted the winner in a hard fought 3-2 PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s win over Sutherland Sharks at Seymour Shaw Park on Saturday.
Chasing down a poor back-pass in the 65’, Fletcher rounded Sharks’ ‘keeper Nathan Denham to coolly slot home on the break.
Goals from Scott Balderson and Dylan Macallister gave the visitors the lead, while a Joshua Da Silva’s strike sandwiched in-between made for a pulsating opening 45 minutes of football.
Fletcher then added to the score before a Tomohiro Kajiyama penalty brought the game back to life in the dying stages.
Parramatta FC 1 – Wollongong Wolves 3 at Melita Stadium
Second half goals to Wolves new boy Patrick Antelmi and Nicolas Bernal helped Wollongong Wolves to claim maximum points with a 3-1 win against Parramatta FC at Melita Stadium on Saturday.
Antelmi claimed a double in his PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s debut for Wollongong as the boys from the South Coast cancelled out Gosue Sama’s 67th minute strike for the home side.
Wollongong will prove to be a difficult team to beat in season 2017 if the performance against Parramatta FC is an early indication.
Former Japanese International Tashiro Yuzo had an inspired debut only days after his signing was officially announced by the South Coast club.
However, Antelmi’s performance shows that the former Blacktown City striker could be the best bit of business done by coach Jacob Timpano.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 0 – Sydney Olympic 2 at Bonnyrigg Sports Club
It was a perfect start to the PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s season for Sydney Olympic FC and its Portuguese coach Jamie Monroy as they claimed a 2-0 win against Bonnyrigg White Eagles at at Bonnyrigg Sports Ground.
The depleted White Eagles had no answer for Japanese star attacker Yu Kubuki who grabbed a brace while impressive performances for Mitchell Stamatellis and Will Angel helped the visitors collect all three points.
With a number of key players injured for Bonnyrigg, the Blues controlled much of the game with Paul Henderson rarely getting tested.
While Bonnyrigg starts the season with a loss, Coach Brian Brown will go into round two with a clearer picture of how to best utilise his injury depleted squad.
Hakoah Sydney City East 1 v Blacktown City 1 at Hensley Athletic Field
Shayne D’Cunha rescued a point for Blacktown City FC with a last-minute equaliser against a spirited Hakoah Sydney City East FC side in the opening round of the 2017 PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s competition.
The home side went ahead just after the hour with a well-taken goal from striker Aleksandar Lekoski, and might have held out for an unexpected win against a highly-fancied Blacktown City team if not for a 90th minute header from D’Cunha.
Blacktown had the better of the possession throughout the match, and Hakoah required a few heroics from goalkeeper Anthony Bouzanis to keep the visitors at bay until the final moments of the game.
It wasn’t the ideal start to the season for the reigning champions but they are sure to bounce back.
Sydney United 58 1 v APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2 at Sydney United Football Centre
A first half brace from Jordan Murray has helped APIA Leichhardt come from behind to usurp Sydney United 2-1 in a tight contest at Sydney United Sports Centre.
The visitors conceded an early goal when Nicholas Olsen opened the scoring against his old club inside five minutes but a quick-fire first half brace from Jordan Murray, who had earlier seen a penalty saved by Thomas Manos, set the visitors up for a crucial away victory in the opening round of the season.
Although they got off to a flying start, Sydney United 58 struggled for the majority of the contest. A well-disciplined and energetic APIA Leichhardt Tigers outfit did well to negate the threat of Panny Nikas and with Nick Stavroulakis absent in midfield the Reds were not at their well-oiled best in possession.
Matt Sim was meanwhile employed as the central striker by Davor Bajsic in his first match back in the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s competition since 2014 and the former Manly United and Sutherland Sharks man was starved of any genuine service and eventually replaced by Adrian Vranic late on.