After the official opening of Lambert Park and Sotirios Kygriakos’ debut last weekend, normal service resumes this week in the NPL IGA NSW Men’s 1 competition.
After the official opening of Lambert Park and Sotirios Kygriakos- debut last weekend, normal service resumes this week in the NPL IGA NSW Men-s 1 competition.
Nevertheless, the third round features some fantastic match ups, including a Match of the Round between Sydney United 58 FC and the Bonnyrigg White Eagles.
MATCH OF THE ROUND
Sydney United 58 FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 2pm at Sydney United Sports Centre
Sydney United 58 FC have had an interesting start to the season, as they go about their defence of the Premiership and the inaugural National Premier League.
A first round defeat to Sydney Olympic was followed by a nil-nil stalemate at Rockdale City last weekend, but they return home for this match against their great rivals.
The two played a thrilling semi final here last year, a match that saw United go down in a penalty shoot out, thus ending their hopes of making the grand final.
Bonnyrigg started the season at home, going down to Rockdale City Suns, but bounced back with a win at Cromer Park against Manly United last weekend, courtesy of a long range screamer from Bo Hyun Chun.
It has been an iffy start to the season for both sides, but neither will lack motivation going in to this heavyweight clash.
ROUND THREE PREVIEW
Blacktown Spartans v Rockdale City Suns, 7:30pm at Blacktown Football Park
Spartans have had a red-hot start to the year with convincing wins against Sutherland Sharks and Sydney Olympic in the opening fortnight.
They-ve announced themselves as a real contender in the space of two rounds, even though they went down to Rockdale City in the IGA Preseason Cup Final in the week prior to the start of the season.
It is the same opposition that presents itself at Blacktown Football Park this Saturday night.
Rockdale knocked off the Champions Bonnyrigg White Eagles in the opening round, before a scrappy nil-nil draw at home to Sydney United 58 last weekend.
Spartans- synthetic surface should provide a great platform for both sides to play the attacking, passing football that they are known for in a match that now takes on the look of a heavyweight encounter.
Marconi Stallions v Blacktown City FC, 7:30pm at Marconi Stadium
Marconi started their season in round two and it was an Italian derby against APIA-Leichhardt Tigers to start the campaign.
With nearly 6000 fans at the grand opening of the new Lambert Park, Marconi rained on the parade, winning 2-0 thanks to excellent goals from Milorad Simonovic and Sean O-Connell.
Blacktown City have started the season well too, and Mark Crittenden-s side have made a good start to atoning for their underachievement in 2013.
This match will be a good test for both sides early in the year.
Manly United v APIA-Leichhardt Tigers, 3pm at Cromer Park
Manly United gave a good account of themselves last week in their loss to Bonnyrigg. They took the lead into the break thanks to a goal from Chris Payne and only a screamer from Bo Hyun Chun gave Bonnyrigg all three points.
Payne will again be their biggest threat in a side that could surprise in 2014.
APIA-Leichhardt Tigers have only one point from their opening two matches, against St George and Marconi. They were outplayed comprehensively at home last weekend and only a sterling performance from goalkeeper Andrew Bazi kept them in the game for as long as they were.
Billy McColl-s side need to improve if they are to make the impression that they want to this season.
St George v Sutherland Sharks, 3pm at WIN Jubilee Stadium
St George-s potent Juan Chavez was blunted last week and as a result their goal threat diminished greatly. It was Chavez who was on hand to score twice against APIA in round one and his finishing ability is undoubted.
Sutherland bounced back from their first round mauling by Blacktown Spartans to record a 2-1 win against South Coast Wolves last weekend.
They are reliant on the potency of Panny Nikas in midfield and will be again against a St George side desperate to prove themselves in elite company.
South Coast Wolves v Sydney Olympic, 5pm at WIN Stadium
South Coast Wolves have started the season slowly, defeated by both Blacktown City and Sutherland Sharks.
Olympic-s Sotirios Kygriakos will sit this one out before returning for their next home game against St George FC, but he made little difference anyway as they went down to Blacktown Spartans.
Grant Lee-s side can get back on the bandwagon with a win down south, but Wolves will fight hard as they attempt to get their season on track.
It has been a tough beginning but there is a long way to go and this season is a marathon, not a sprint.
More information about the competitions can be found atwww.nplnsw.com.au