Manly United are ahead on goal difference ? with an impressive five-point lead over closest rival Sydney United.
Both the top-two teams found important away victories in Round 11, with the Sharks completing the more impressive of tasks with victory against Wollongong FC, at John Crehan Park.
Round 11 though, will be remembered for Marconi Stallions? first League win of the season.
Heading into the campaign as one of the more fancied sides for a top-four finish, David Barrett?s Stallions have struggled to live up to expectations. The defeat of Bankstown City at Jensen Park though has brought about a new lease of life amongst the Stallions? players, illustrated mostly by the scenes of triumph following the final whistle ? and the chants belted out of the dressing rooms.
Tallan Martin and Tolgay Ozbey hit fine goals from two counter-attacks against a disappointing Bankstown City ? goals arriving on either side of half-time.
Peter Tsekenis? side was arguably ?off? their game, with very few positives to come out of the encounter. New signing Andre Gumprecht?s hard running and physical presence may certainly be the only shining light from a dismal all-round display.
Sutherland Sharks overcame the in-form Wollongong FC with a ?workman-like? performance at John Crehan Park and maintained their unbeaten record in the first round of TeleChoice Premier League matches.
The Sharks, who knew of the difficulties facing Wollongong FC on home-soil, wasted no time to assert their strong-hold on the encounter. Neil Jablonski and Brad Boardman had the Sharks on-target for maximum points within the first quarter-hour – the Wolves were certainly caught napping by Brian Brown?s side.
The home-side was handed a life-line just before the break when Michael West pulled one back, though the Sharks would grind the result out, and keep up the pace with Manly United.
Manly United collected the points against a gallant Macarthur Rams ? the Rams still in search of their first home win of the season.
The Rams Matt Toogood fouled Manly United?s Craig Midgley in the 55? minute, leaving the referee with no choice but to award the League leaders a spot-kick.
Midgley himself stepped-up to convert what would be the winner, and keep Phil Moss? men at the top of the table.
At Lambert Park, A.P.I.A.-Leichhardt Tigers had an afternoon that will not be forgotten anytime soon. The Tigers, following the disappointment of a 3-0 loss at Sydney Olympic last weekend, bounced right back into contention for Finals Football with an emphatic 7-0 shellacking of Penrith-Nepean United.
In-front of their home crowd, the Tigers wasted little time as they rushed to a 2-0 half-time lead (David D?Apuzzo and Robert Younis the scorers).
Penrith?s afternoon was made even more difficult with the expulsion of Panagiotis Nikas just prior to Younis? first goal of the afternoon ? presenting the visitors with a mammoth second-half task.
The Tigers ran riot in the second-half, and Robert Younis led the ?goal riot?.
The Tigers striker added three more goals, with D?Apuzzo bagging a second and Franco Parisi rounding off the 7-0 win.
On Saturday evening, in-form Sydney United fell back into old habits losing at home against Sydney Olympic.
The Reds have been in great form in recent weeks, though as was the case earlier in the season, the side dropped off at arguably their best moment.
Michael Cindric scored Sydney Olympic?s winner in the 18? minute of the match, the Blues? defender drove home a parried effort by Sydney United goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic.
Despite Sydney United?s effort to get back into the match ? once again led by Luka Glavas in attack ? Ivan Petkovic?s men were unable to find the equalising goal, giving Sydney Olympic a second consecutive win.
Also on Saturday night, West Sydney Berries killed off the nightmares that have followed their supporters all week ? following the heavy defeat against Sutherland Sharks last weekend ? by winning well against Blacktown City Demons at Gabbie Stadium.
The goals arrived in the second-half with the Sama brothers again the main ?go-to? men for Scott Baillie?s side.
Aheleas Kotsopoulos? low pass across the face of goal early in the second period brought about the Berries opener as Demons? debutant Luka Dukic ? unluckily ? diverted into his own net.
Giosue Sama ended all Demons? hopes 22? minutes from the end as brother Nico Sama was the provider of a great counter-attacking move. Nico?s perfect final pass was too easy for Giosue, who coolly slotted home to put the result beyond the Demons reach.
-By Joseph Carlucci