The NPL NSW is back! After a staggering 258 days without any competitive action, the states finest NPL teams returned to action over the weekend.
And the action on the pitch did not disappoint, with two five-goal shootouts, some tight 1-0 tussles, and a staggering five red cards!
Kick360 has got a recap of all the weekend’s action for you below!
Sutherland Sharks 2-3 Marconi Stallions
A new look Marconi managed to hold off a fast finishing Sutherland Sharks side as Charles Lokolingoy wreaked havoc against his former club.
In what was at times a scrappy affair, it was two former A-League Men’s players in Lokolingoy and Marko Jesic who did the damage, with the former grabbing himself a brace and the latter winning and converting a penalty to get the scoring underway after 15 minutes.
Lokolingoy would double the Stallions lead as he took advantage of a poor clearance from Harry Callahan, managing to outmuscle two defenders before slotting the ball past Anthony Bouzanis after 39 minutes.
Sutherland grabbed a goal back just before half-time after Nick Sullivan caught Nathan Millgate on the ball; his goal bound shot as tapped in by James Andrew.
Lokolingoy would restore Marconi’s two goal advantage in the 51st minute, before a second yellow card for Roberto Speranza and a Jason Madonis goal made for a tense ending. However the away side held on for an opening round victory on the road.
Sydney Olympic 0-1 Manly United
Matt Sim had a debut to remember, as he led his new side to a 1-0 win against Sydney Olympic at Belmore Sports Ground.
The former Central Coast Mariners and Western Sydney Wanderers player – who had starred for Sydney United in previous seasons – proved that he will once again be one of the leagues leading attackers, as he finished off a wonderful attacking move with a deft lob over Olympic keeper’ Nick Sorras right on half time.
The home side certainly looked threatening at times, with Adam Parkhouse standing out on the left wing and defender Ben Van Meurs having a header cleared off the line in the first half.
Olympic’s star signing Roy O’Donovan was unable to turn the tide for his new side, although he had a goal ruled out for offside in the second half.
Manly coach Anthony Griffiths would have been impressed with his sides defensive performance, as they were able to hold out a talented Sydney Olympic attack.
Sydney United 1-0 Wollongong Wolves
Sydney United got off to a winning start on Sunday, recording a 1-0 win over Wollongong.
In what was at times a feisty affair in South-West Sydney, the away side finished the match with nine players, as Banri Kanaizumi given a straight red-card for a strong challenge just after half-time, and Senna Stevenson receiving a second yellow with 10 minutes remaining.
Both sides created a number of chances early in the first half, before Sydney United began to assert themselves on the match through the likes of Chris Payne.
Yet it would be their talismanic defender Adrian Vlastelica who would score the crucial goal, striking a fierce shot past Hayden Durose in the 58th minute, certainly a captain’s contribution!
The Wolves fought hard to get back into the game, however. they were unable to overcome the numerical disadvantage and ultimately came up short.
Blacktown City 1-0 Rockdale Illinden
Last year’s ladder leaders Blacktown City showed they will once again be a force this season, emerging victorious 1-0 over Rockdale Illinden in a match where they finished with nine men on the pitch.
Japanese flyer Hirokai Aoyama scored the only goal of the game after 8 minutes, latching onto the end of a Charles Mendy cross after the latter embarked on a wonderful solo run.
Their captain Matt Lewis was sent off for a second yellow card after 40 minutes, forcing the home side to revert to a defensive set up.
Rockdale attempted to take advantage of this in the second half, with Nikola Kuleski and Will Mutch having chances. And they sensed an opening when Jackson Bandiera was given his marching orders for a second yellow card with just 10 minutes to go, however they could not grab the all important equaliser.
Blacktown to their credit continued to create chances, and will be encouraged by the victory in difficult circumstances and against a side that were near the top of the table last season.
Sydney FC 3-2 Northbridge Bulls
Two of the league’s youngest sides produced a thriller to round off the opening week’s action, with Sydney FC eventually prevailing 3-2 at Rockdale Illinden Sports Centre.
The Sky Blues got off to a flyer, with Jaiden Kucharski scoring two goal in eight minutes, one pile-driving finish past Nick Suman and one tap-in after a pass from Zachary Sapsford.
Bulls captain Rory Jordan pulled his side back into the game, curling a sublime shot past Sydney keeper Adam Pavlesic in the 29th minute.
Sydney failed to take multiple chances to double their lead, and they were made to pay when substitute Steven De Robillard scored after a classy team move on the hour mark.
Sydney would ultimately have the last laugh though, with a moment of magic with 10 minutes to go from Sapsford winning the game from Sydney, his curled shot from outside the box being arguably the goal of the round.
Both sides quality in attack meant that the rain did not dampen this encounter
Mount Druitt Town Rangers vs APIA Leichardt Tigers
Unfortunately the same could not be said for the Mount Druitt vs APIA Leichardt match, with Sydney’s wet and wild weather forcing the game set to take place at Poppondetta Park to be postponed to a later date.