Getting tight at the top in NSW

THE race is back on. That is the message at the top of the table as Blacktown City closed the gap to two points between them and Blacktown Spartans in Round 16 of IGA NPL NSW Mens 1.

Meanwhile, Sydney United 58 and APIA-Leichhardt kept their slim finals hopes alive with wins, the latter scoring an unbelievable 5-4 against Sutherland at Seymour Shaw Park.

The competition takes a short break next weekend for the Waratah Cup final, to be contested by Blacktown City and Manly United, who coincidentally met in league action this weekend. The Waratah Cup final is at Lambert Park, the home of APIA-Leichhardt Tigers, at 3pm on Sunday afternoon.


Rockdale City Suns 1-0 St George, at Ilinden Sports Centre
Rockdale City scored a much needed win over St George at home and although the game was nothing special, Rockdale's coach Branko Culina was relieved to come away with all three points.

It seemed for a while that it would not be the case as St George defended stubbornly on a blustery afternoon that made playing good passing football quite difficult.

Rockdale's Nikola Taneski blew two superb opportunities in the first half, but luckily for the home side they did not come back to haunt them.

Former Rockdale winger, David Talveski, rattled the crossbar with a fantastic volley late on in the first half, but it was left to Marko Jesic to snare the winner for Rockdale.

With only ten minutes to go, substitute Tadhg Purcell played a delightful ball to Jesic, who beat the offside trap and finished confidently past Dion Shaw to steal all three points.


Sutherland Sharks 4-5 APIA-Leichhardt Tigers, at Seymour Shaw Park
No, that result is not a typo. Sutherland Sharks and APIA-Leichhardt Tigers put on one of the great shows on Saturday night, with APIA eventually winning by the odd goal in nine.

Seven goals were scored in a manic first 45' minutes, which also featured red cards to Panni Nikas and Brad Bartels, and two penalties, one missed by Blake Powell and the other scored by Joe Gibbs.

Sutherland led, albeit briefly, when Jordan Figon found the back of the net midway through the first half.

Although Blake Powell equalised a few minutes later, nothing could prepare the crowd or the players of what was to follow.

Nikas scored before receiving his marching orders, and then Powell was denied from the spot by Sutherland keeper Nathan Denham.

He wasn't to be denied moments later though, as he scored to make it 2-2 just after the half hour mark. Nathan Elasi then put Sutherland ahead again.

APIA was awarded another penalty and this time it was Gibbs who stepped up, making no mistake to level for the third time. When Brad McDonald scored in added time, it was the seventh goal of the half and APIA's fourth and remarkably, the first time they led in the match.

They would relinquish that lead as Daniel Fogarty scored his first APIA goal just after the break to make it 5-3, before Elasi scored again to make it 5-4, the final goal of an incredible night in Miranda.

Click here for a review of all the other Round 16 matches.