Thomas James continues to earn a reputation as a striker on the rise, starring for Wollongong Wolves as they increased their lead at the top of the ladder in New South Wales.
James, the Golden Boot favourite in the NPL NSW, scored either side of the break as Luke Wilkshire’s Wolves beat Hakoah Sydney City East 2-0.
His first was a precise flicked header midway through the first half, while his powerful low drive 10 minutes after the break iced the result to extend Wollongong’s lead at the top to three points.
That’s because second-placed APIA Leichhardt were held to a 1-1 draw by Blacktown City at Lambert Park thanks to Corey Biczo’s late goal.
Elsewhere, Rockdale City Suns made it back-to-back wins by beating Sydney FC 2-1, while champions Sydney Olympic drew with Manly United.
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In an incredible finish at Cooks Square Park, Maitland FC scored twice at the death to record a memorable 2-1 win over champions Edgeworth Eagles.
The home side trailed for 70 minutes of the match but drew level in the last minute through Sean Pratt before snatching all three points in the second minute of stoppage-time via an own goal.
The result cost the Eagles top spot, leapfrogged by Lambton Jaffas who edged past Weston Bears 2-1 on Good Friday.
Meanwhile, former Hyundai A-League star James Virgili scored a hat-trick as Broadmeadow Magic thrashed Valentine Phoenix 9-1.
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Perth SC moved clear at the top of the NPL WA ladder thanks to a commanding 4-1 win against Perth Glory at E&D Litis Stadium on Saturday.
Goals from Gustavo Catarcione, ex-Glory striker Michael Domfeh, Niccolò Sabatini and an own goal saw the visitors cruise to a comfortable victory.
Balcatta lost ground on Perth after conceding a late equaliser against Inglewood United, as Shubham Mokala’s strike was cancelled out by Miki Vujacic in injury time.
In other games, Floreat Athena returned to the winners’ circle with a 2-0 win against Cockburn City, while Bayswater City came from two goals down to beat Armadale 5-2.
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It was raining goals in Queensland in a bumper Easter Round that saw some huge scorelines, including Eastern Suburbs’ 8-3 win over Magpies Crusaders.
Lions FC showed their class with a 3-1 win over Western Pride, while former Brisbane Roar attacker Shannon Brady scored twice as Gold Coast Knights thrashed Brisbane Strikers 6-1.
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