National Premier League's weekend wrap

National Premier Leagues action resumed over the weekend with a series of entertaining contests played across the country.

And there was no shortage of drama as the title race in each state took yet more twists and turns.

Read on for our wrap of the best action in the National Premier Leagues.

 

NEW SOUTH WALES

A 93rd minute equaliser from Sean Symons has ensured APIA Leichhardt stay top of the NPL NSW ladder.

The Tigers’ attacker headed home in the final moments of APIA’s match with Wollongong Wolves on Saturday to rescue a 1-1 draw, after Peter Simonovski had opened the scoring earlier on.

Two points dropped for APIA, but Billy McColl’s side remain in the lead because of superior goal difference over second-placed Sydney Olympic, who defeated Sydney FC 3-2 on the same night.

Goals to Max Burgess, Alejandro Sanchez and Nikola Kuleski edged out the bottom-placed Sky Blues, ensuring the title race could not be tighter entering the final three rounds of the season.

Sydney United 58 and Blacktown City remain in third and fourth after beating Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Hakoah Sydney City East respectively.

Meanwhile, the race for the finals could be all but over for the likes of Manly United and Marconi Stallions. The reigning champions Manly edged Sutherland with a 1-0 victory but Rockdale City Suns’ 2-1 defeat of Marconi on Sunday leaves United with a five-point deficit to make up the gap.

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Perth SC were the big movers in the National Premier Leagues WA title race on the weekend as their rivals all slipped up.

The Azzurri moved to second place after a Paul Zimarino double gave them a 2-0 victory over Bayswater City at Dorrien Gardens on Sunday.

With leaders Perth Glory, Cockburn City and Inglewood United all drawing on Saturday, it proved a profitable round 21 for the 2016 champions.

Glory were held 0-0 against Sorrento at Percy Doyle Reserve in a match of few chances, but they retain their lead at the top of the table and a four-point gap over Perth SC.

Cockburn City slipped into third position after they were held 1-1 by Forrestfield United at Dalmatinac Park, while Inglewood’s 2-2 home draw with Floreat Athena means they are seven points behind Glory with five matches left.

Meanwhile, Joondalup United’s relegation was confirmed after they were hammered 6-2 by Balcatta, Calum O’Connell scoring a hat-trick, while Stirling Lions had two men sent off yet still thumped Subiaco 4-1.

Elsewhere, Armadale drew 3-3 with ECU Joondalup, with the result leaving both sides locked in mid-table.

Western Australia
Image: Foto Enzo

VICTORIA

The top four were all in action in Victoria on a weekend that could have big ramifications for the Premiership race.

Heidelberg United took a big stride toward the NPL VIC title after a comprehensive 3-0 win over Premiership rivals Bentleigh Greens on Sunday.

The Bergers now have a five-point gap over Bentleigh thanks to a Harry Noon brace and a Thomas Cahill strike.

With five rounds of the competition remaining, it could prove to be a costly defeat for Bentleigh, who now have Avondale knocking at the door.

Avondale were pitted against fourth-placed Pascoe Vale and grabbed a two-goal buffer early on after goals from Elvis Kamsoba and Joseph Katebian.

Luca Santilli pulled a goal back for Pascoe Vale late in the first half but hopes of a comeback were quashed when the player was sent off five minutes later.

It was also a frustrating weekend for Port Melbourne Sharks, who missed an opportunity to secure fifth position after a 1-1 stalemate with Oakleigh Cannons.

Elsewhere in the competition, bottom-placed FC Bulleen Lions were beaten 4-1 by Dandenong Thunder, Melbourne Knights edged Green Gully 1-0, South Melbourne beat Hume City 2-1.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Campbelltown City are back on top in South Australia after defeating West Adelaide 5-1.

A Marc Marino brace led the way while goals from Anthony Ture, Alexander Mullen and Dion Kirk contributed to the rout.

Campbelltown’s weekend was made even better when rivals MetroStars were shocked 2-1 by Para Hills Knights on the same afternoon.

Shinya Yoshida’s goal 10 minutes from time proved to be the winner for Knights and comes as a huge blow to MetroStars’ Premiership chances.

A bad result could have been made worse for the Stars, but a 2-2 draw between third-placed Adelaide City and fourth-placed Adelaide Comets ensured they remain in second place.

Elsewhere, Sturt Lions moved themselves off the bottom of the ladder with a 2-1 win over Croydon Kings. It was a huge win for the Lions, who were reduced to 10 men when Samed Altundag was sent off early on, but Federici Matteo’s strike two minutes from full time stole the three points.

That result moves WK Birkalla, who were defeated 3-0 by Adelaide United, back onto the bottom of the table.

In the weekend’s other results, South Adelaide and Adelaide Olympic drew 1-1.

NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES

Edgeworth are still out in front ahead of Broadmeadow Magic after defeating Charlestown City Blues 2-0 on Sunday.

An own goal from Charlestown skipper Rene Ferguson got the ball rolling for the Eagles before Daniel Mcbreen doubled the advantage in the second half.

Broadmeadow Magic remain four points behind the leaders, but they did their job with a 5-0 trouncing of bottom-club Valentine FC. Doubles from James Virgili and Kale Bradbery were the highlights, while Joshua Piddington was also on the scoresheet for the Magic.    

Lambton Jaffas are a further two points behind Broadmeadow after a bye on the weekend, while fourth-placed Maitland FC could end up ruing a 0-0 stalemate with Hamilton Olympic.

Both sides round out the top five after round eighteen but with Newcastle Jets youth hot on their trail, the finals positions are still wide open.

The Jets beat Lake Macquarie FC in a 4-3 thriller to kick off the weekend, while Weston Workers defeated Adamstown Rosebud 2-1 in the round’s other fixture.

QUEENSLAND

Lions FC continue to lead the way in the NPL QLD after beating North QLD United 4-0 on the weekend.

Shaun Carlos, Danny Kim, Marek Madle, and Mitchell Hore were all on the scoresheet to give the competition frontrunners eight wins on the trot.

Lions now have two matches in hand and hold a one point advantage over Olympic FC, who beat Redlands 3-0.

Western Pride are a further three points behind the league leaders, but they kept up the pressure with a 2-1 win over Magpies Crusaders.

Brisbane City were big winners over Gold Coast United with a 5-2 win, while Brisbane Strikers defeated Cairns FC 2-0.

CANBERRA

The top four and Premiership battles have been thrown wide open in the nation’s capital with a series of shock results over the weekend.

Leaders Canberra FC were pipped 2-1 by Tigers FC as goals from Nico Villafane and Jeremias Ibarra paved way for a big upset win.

That threw the door wide open for Canberra Olympic to hit the front, but their Premiership rivals suffered late heartbreak after going down 1-0 to a last minute Samuel Scarfone strike.

Olympic are still one point behind the competition leaders, while Tuggeranong United took a massive step towards securing their spot in the top four with a 2-1 win over Gungahlin United.

Two first half goals were enough to see them home against the fast-finishing visitors as Jakob Wiseman saved a stoppage-time penalty.

In the weekend’s other match, Belconnen United were clinical in a 3-0 win over Monaro Panthers.

Canberra
Image: Capital Football

TASMANIA

Devonport kept their title challenge on course with a resounding 6-0 win over Clarence United.

The Strikers remain three points ahead of Launceston City and Hobart Zebras, who both dropped points on the weekend.

An injury-time strike from Ryan Cook saw South Hobart defeat the Zebras 2-1, keeping South six points off Devonport and with their title hopes still alive.

Launceston’s 2-2 draw with Kingborough Lions means both City and Zebras are three points behind Devonport as the Premiership race heats up.

Tasmania NPL
Image: Solstice Photography

NORTHERN TETTITORY

Hellenic AC opened up a 12-point gap at the top with a massive 9-2 win over lowly Mindil Aces on the weekend.

Manoli Maragos brace helped Darwin Olympic to a 2-1 win over Casuarina FC, leaving both sides with a big deficit to make up the ground on the leaders.

In the weekend's other match, University Azzuri defeated Port Darwin 2-0 with Felicio Guterres and Alvin Dingle among the goals.