National Premier Leagues action was paused in two states this weekend as Cup finals took centre stage in New South Wales and Western Australia.
But there was no end to the dramatic four-horse title race in the NPL Queensland.
Read on for our wrap of the best in the National Premier Leagues round that was...
NEW SOUTH WALES
NPL NSW action was put on hold in New South Wales over the weekend as APIA Leichhardt Tigers and Hakoah Sydney City East faced off in the 2018 TAFE NSW Waratah Cup final.
It was a repeat of the 2017 final line up but there would be no shock upset for Hakoah this time around as the league pacesetters APIA strolled to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
A brace from NPL NSW golden boot leader Jordan Murray did the damage for the Tigers with a strike coming early in each half, while Billy McColl’s side wrapped things up late on with a fine effort from Sean Symons.
APIA currently lead the NPL NSW by two points with four rounds of the regular season remaining and they’ll hope the silverware claimed on Saturday paves way for more success in the coming weeks.
It was cup final weekend in Western Australia too as Armadale sealed their first silverware in 14 years with a 2-0 defeat over Gwelup Croatia in the Belt Up Cup Final at Dorrien Gardens.
Armadale striker Chris Jackson led the way with a double for John O’Reilly’s side as the seventh-placed NPL WA outfit followed up their second tier Division 1 title in 2004.
The English forward has scored 18 goals in as many matches in Armadale’s league campaign and opened the scoring early in the first half after collecting a pass from Michael Rizidis before firing past Gwelup keeper Connor Campbell.
Jackson won the Stan Lazaridis Medal for his heroics and clinched his brace with a superb curling shot in the second half that has Campbell rooted to the spot.
“It was a good team effort, we grafted for each other and fought til the end and the two shots we had, we managed to take,” Jackson said after the match.
“I was fortunate to get both, but the service I got today was a great, and once we had that two-goal cushion we soaked up their pressure and hit them on the break.
“Our supporters are brilliant we love playing in front of them at home and it’s quiet when we go away, but it is great to hear them celebrating our win today.”
The NPL WA resumes next weekend with Perth Glory looking to continue their premiership assault. Glory are currently five points ahead of Cockburn City in second.
Heidelberg United are still leading the way in the NPL Victoria despite dropping two points at home to Melbourne Knights on Friday night.
The Bergers struck a last-gasp free kick in injury time to salvage a 2-2 draw with Melbourne, extending the league frontrunners' advantage at the top by one point.
Second-placed Bentleigh Greens were in action at the same time as their premiership rivals but failed to take advantage of Heidelberg's stalemate and slumped to a 1-0 defeat at home to South Melbourne.
Oliver Minatel’s goal fifteen minutes from full time proved decisive for South, who lift themselves off the foot of the table and into eleventh spot, four points ahead of last-placed Bulleen Lions.
Avondale were also unable to capitalise on Heidelberg's slip after sharing the points in a 2-2 draw with Oakleigh Cannons. A brace from Avondale striker Liam Boland looked to have clinched a significant win but an injury time equaliser from Luke Pavlou earned the Cannons a draw and could prove to be a big moment in the premiership race.
Elsewhere in the league, Pascoe Vale drew 1-1 with Kingston City, Northcote City upset Green Gully 1-0, Hume City defeated Bulleen Lions 2-0 and Port Melbourne Sharks edged Dandenong Thunder 1-0.
Capital Football leaders Canberra FC continued their fine form with a 3-0 win over Riverina Rhinos to maintain pole position in the premiership race.
The title favourites have now won three in a row without conceding and remain one point ahead of second-placed Canberra Olympic with a game in hand.
Olympic kept up the pressure on the league leaders after coming from behind to steal a 3-2 win over Tuggeranong United in the weekend’s second versus third clash.
The home side entered the half time interval 2-1 down but would eventually run out 3-2 winners thanks to Dom Giampaol’s 90th minute winner.
In the round’s other matches, Nicolas Villafane’s brace helped Tigers FC defeat bottom club Monaro Panthers while Gungahlin United and Woden Weston played out a 1-1 draw.
NORTHERN NEW SOUTH WALES
Edgeworth remain in pole position in Northern NSW after edging Hamilton Olympic 1-0 on Sunday afternoon. A Bailey Garland goal was enough for the league leaders to preserve their three-point advantage over Lambton Jaffas at the top of the table.
The Jaffas are still hot on the heels of the Eagles after cruising past bottom-club Valentine 3-0. Goals from Tom Waller, Ryan Griffiths and Braedyn Crowley did the damage for Lambton who are now unbeaten in eight matches.
Third-placed Broadmeadow Magic slipped up in their title tilt after only managing a 1-1 draw at home to Adamstown Rosebud. Luke Virgili opened the scoring for the Magic but an equalising goal from Chris Berlin ensured it was a frustrating afternoon for the premiership hopefuls. Broadmeadow are now four points off top spot.
Maitland FC defeated Newcastle Jets Youth 2-0 and Weston Workers accounted for Charlestown City Blues with a 3-0 triumph in the other matches taking place on the weekend.
Campbelltown City’s advantage in South Australia has been trimmed to one point after the league leaders were felled 3-2 by fourth-placed Adelaide Comets on Friday.
That left second-placed MetroStars primed to make up the deficit but the Stars needed an injury time winner from Lachlan Barr to edge South Adelaide 2-1 on Saturday.
It was a huge effort from the Stars who were reduced to 10-men late in the day, and their pain was compounded when David Thornton equalised soon after.
Third-placed Adelaide City will end the weekend with regrets after they could only draw 1-1 with Croydon Kings. City could have moved themselves within one point of Campbelltown but they failed to press on after Evan Kostopoulos cancelled out an early strike from Rocky Visconte.
Sturt Lions were also big victors in their bottom of the table encounter with WK Birkalla. The Lions defeated Birkalla 3-1 to move within a point of the eleventh-placed side, and escaping the foot of the ladder.
Adelaide United and Adelaide Olympic played out a 0-0 stalemate and West Adelaide edged Para Hills Knights 1-0 in the round’s other fixture.
Lions FC sent out a statement of intent after defeating premiership rivals Moreton Bay United 1-0 in their top of the table clash on Saturday evening.
The two sides entered the first-versus-second encounter level on points and in red hot form but Marek Madle’s goal two minutes before half time prove to be the difference maker.
Moreton Bay slip into fourth position because of their loss and victories for Olympic FC and Western Pride.
An Alex Parsons double led the way for the Pride as the competitions top goalscorers defeated SWQ Thunder 4-1, while Olympic proved far too strong for Brisbane Roar youth in their 3-0 win.
It means Olympic are one point behind Lions, while Pride and Moreton Bay United are a further three points away. All teams have held the lead at various points throughout the year.
Brisbane Strikers defeated Redlands United 5-1, North QLD United beat Cairns 3-1, while John Kosmina’s Brisbane City hammered Sunshine City 4-0 in the weekend’s other matches.
Devonport Strikers have opened a three-point gap at the top of the table after defeating Kingborough Lions 3-1 on Saturday.
Brayden Mann’s brace did the damage for the league pacesetters who had to come from behind to preserve their seven-match unbeaten run.
Launceston City’s recent form slump continued after the former leaders lost 3-2 at home to premiership rivals Hobart Zebras.
City were down 3-0 at half time to the Zebras but despite a second half rally they were unable to avoid a third successive defeat.
Launceston remain in second, with both sides trailing the ladder-leading Strikers by three points.
Meanwhile, there was a big win for Olympia Warriors who dispatched cellar-dwellers Clarence United 8-1.
Image credit: The Examiner
Hellenic AC remain out in front in the Northern Territory after defeating University Azzuri 4-0.
Bottom-club Port Darwin secured just their second win of the campaign against Mindil Aces, moving within one point of leapfrogging their opponents on the table.
Casuarina defeated Palmerston Rovers 2-1 in the weekend’s other match.