There were shock results and sound victories over the weekend in the National Premier Leagues.
It is well and truly on. That is the message after Round 13 of the National Premier Leagues IGA NSW Mens 1, now that the gap at the top of the table is down to two points.
South Coast Wolves 1-0 Sutherland Sharks, at WIN Stadium
Wolves are a different beast under Nahuel Arrarte and here they were organised, efficient and clinical when it mattered.
Sharks have a lot of thinking to do, especially after their late defeat to Blacktown Spartans the week prior to this, and they were far from their best here, only forcing Thomas Hamilton into one save.
Wolves had the better of the match and snared the only goal shortly after half time through Ricky Zucco who finished off a great move that culminated in a cross from the left by Matthew Bailey.
They had numerous opportunities to put the game to bed on the break as Sutherland poured forward but neither Samuel Matthews nor Peter Simonoski could find the back of the net. Wolves were able to claim three points nevertheless.
Marconi Stallions 1-0 APIA-Leichhardt Tigers, at Marconi Stadium
Marconi got themselves a win for their new coach Paul Carter in the Italian derby at Marconi Stadium.
Marco Sama scored the only goal of the game in the 75th minute but to be truthful APIA should have been well and truly in the clear by then.
Daniel Fogarty spurned an early chance and it was to set the theme for the evening as the Tigers missed opportunity after opportunity, eventually leaving themselves vulnerable to conceding as they did when Sama threaded a shot into the bottom corner.
It was a relief for Carter, who replaced Darren Iocca as head coach, but for Billy McColl it was another night of frustration as he wonders just when APIA will start hitting the back of the net.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 3-0 Manly United, at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre
The scoreline truly belied the flow of the match as Bonnyrigg won 3-0 over a gallant Manly United side that pushed the 2013 champions all the way.
Indeed Manly should have gone in front when they were awarded a first half penalty but Brendan Cholakian was denied from the spot by the outstanding Matthew Nash.
Dylan Fox gave Bonnyrigg the lead against the run of play when he headed in a free kick but Manly were not to be deterred.
Nash made a number of crucial stops to keep another clean sheet before Aaron Peterson and Howard Fondyke added late goals to give the scoreline some added gloss.
Blacktown Spartans 0-1 Sydney Olympic, at Blacktown Football Park
What do we really know about football?
Many had handed out the premiership to Spartans especially after their nine-game winning streak to start the season. They’ve now lost thrice since after going down 1-0 at home to Olympic.
An early penalty to Evan Kostpoulos decided the match. Spartans were awarded a penalty of their own a few minutes later but Phil Makrys, against his former club, smashed his effort into the crossbar.
Spartans threw the kitchen sink at Olympic but their defence and goalkeeper Paul Henderson weathered the quite significant storm to hold on for a huge three points and send Spartans back into the clutches of Blacktown City.
Blacktown City 2-0 St George, at Lilys Football Centre
Blacktown City just keep rolling on and they made light work of St George at Lilys Football Centre.
New signing Mitchell Mallia scored the first goal of the game and one that he hope will be the catalyst for many more as he looks to keep himself in the shop window for the next Hyundai A-League season.
Ryuji Miyazawa was enjoying another influential match and was at the heart of everything good for Blacktown – linking well with Travis Major.
The two combined for the second goal in stoppage time of the second half with Major squaring for Miyazawa to tap in and seal the deal.
Rockdale City Suns 3-1 Sydney United 58, at Ilinden Sports Centre
What a strange game football is.
Rockdale City comprehensively beat Sydney United 58 by three goals to one at home with all the goals coming in the first half.
Mirjan Pavlovic gave United the lead early but they then conceded to Sean Symons’ free kick plus Tadhg Purcell and Nick Taneski who scored the third right on half time.
The real drama came at the break when referee Ryan Shepheard sent off United’s goalkeeper Diego Barcena and Theo Kofinas for something that happened between the two team mates as the sides were walking off.
United’s remaining nine players had to play out the second half as Pavlovic was sacrificed for John Dimitrakis to take Barcena’s place between the sticks.