NPL 1 Preview: Wanderers v Rockdale Ilinden

The young Wanderers will look to make it three wins from their opening three NPL NSW matches when they host Rockdale Ilinden FC in a tricky match on Sunday.

For the first time ever the Wanderers sit outright top of the NPL NSW table after winning both of their matches to begin the season, holding off a late fightback from Hills United to record a 2-1 success last round.

Goals early in each half from Awan Lual and Adam Bugarija were enough for a Wanderers side missing some key players due to injury and being involved with the A-League Men’s side, but it was a deserved one as they were mostly stout at the back and clinical going forward.

Stand-in goalkeeper Lucas Sinnott deserves particular praise for a magnificent save from the last kick of the game as he denied a certain Hills United equaliser.

They will hope to keep the good times going against a strong Rockdale side who are unbeaten so far this season.

After a hard-fought opening round win over St George City FC, they were forced to split the points after their clash against Marconi Stallions ended in a 2-2 draw on Sunday.

They didn’t have it their own way, as they had to come from behind twice, but last season’s top scorer Alec Urosevski opened his account in the 78th minute to secure a draw after Marconi took the lead early in the second half.

The task of stopping Urosevski will fall to Doni Grdic, who has enjoyed a strong start to the season at centre back, whilst Rockdale also have the services of two former Wanderers players from the 2022 promotion campaign in Lochie Constable and Dean Pelekanos.

Last season’s clash between the sides at Wanderers Football Park was one of the most dramatic of the season as it saw six goals on a wild night of football.

The Wanderers twice held a two goal lead, but Rockdale’s experience helped them comeback late on to level the scores to 3-3, frustrating the Wanderers as they weren’t able to take home all three points.

NPL NSW Round Three
Western Sydney Wanderers FC vs Rockdale Ilinden FC
Sunday March 3rd 2023, 3pm
Wanderers Football Park