It was drama at the highest level as Football NSW officially announced its five teams set to represent the state in the 2018 FFA Cup Round of 32 as APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Hakoah Sydney City East, Marconi Stallions and the Rockdale City Suns will all find out their fate on Tuesday 26th June when the FFA conducts its annual live draw on Fox Sports after recording victories on Wednesday evening.
In an amazing statistic, all five National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s teams have taken part in a round of 32 spot prior to Wednesday evening’s fixtures since the introduction of the FFA Cup in 2014.
Here’s how each of the Round 7 Preliminary Football NSW/FFA Cup matches unfolded:
Sydney Olympic 0
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 3
Belmore Sports Ground played host to a mammoth NPL top of the table clash as APIA Leichhardt Tigers came home with the coveted spot disposing of league leaders Sydney Olympic 3-0 to qualify for its second successive Round of 32 qualifier.
It didn’t take long for the NPL NSW Men’s leading goalscorer Jordan Murray to put his mark on the game as he opened the scoring in the 13th minute.
The Blues were left stunned and coach Abbas Saad did all that he could to push his chargers for that elusive equaliser only to see his side slip further behind as Japanese import Tasuku Sekiya joined in on the act in the 73rd minute.
The game was all but over right on the ninety-minute mark when Corey Biczo rubbed salt into the wounds of the Blues as Billy McColls’ men celebrated a memorable victory.
Olympic will now need to dust off this result as the pair meet again at the same venue on Sunday for their Round 13 NPL NSW Men’s clash.
Rockdale City Suns 3
Blacktown City 2
Rockdale City Suns came from behind to book their spot in the Round of 32 with a dramatic last gasp 3-2 victory over Blacktown City at Ilinden Sports Centre which all but ended the visitors run in the Cup as Mark Crittenden’s men had qualified for the last four years.
It was Blacktown City who looked the goods early on taking the lead twice and were likely to go on with it before failing to kill the game by missing a number of guilt edged opportunities.
Danny Choi snuck Blacktown City in to the lead early in the first half, picking up the ball inside the penalty area before skilfully beating two defenders and whipping the ball inside the far post for 1-0.
The lead lasted a few minutes with Rockdale equalising when Blacktown City skipper, Matt Lewis, diverted a low cross in to his own net as he tried to block the danger.
Choi was at it again shortly afterwards with almost a carbon copy goal from the opposite side.
Giorgio Speranza made a darting run down the left before slipping Choi into space inside the box, and the winger drilled it home, again from an acute angle, but this time from the left side of the penalty box.
The Suns replied with vigour and pushed plenty of players forward, forcing a number of corners which looked dangerous, but Blacktown City cleared the danger time and time again.
In fact, Blacktown almost extended their lead just before the break, with Mitch Mallia cracking a super curling effort against the upright. The ball rebounded to Choi, who replied with a first time shot that was well held on the line by Suns number one Ante Covic.
Blacktown City looked to finish the game as a contest during the second period as Devante Clut and Mitch Mallia both had good efforts thwarted by Covic.
Moments later, Clut was at it again, hitting the upright with a snapshot from in front, before blazing wide from a few yards after Connor Evans had found him alone at the back post.
With Blacktown City failing to kill the game at 2-1, all it took was an opportunist goal for Rockdale to draw level, and it came on 81 minutes. A scrambled corner landed at the feet of unmarked substitute, Bai Antoniou and he stabbed home from close range to draw the home side level.
The drama didn’t end there, and as the match entered injury time and was destined for extra-time, Kris Griffiths Jones awarded the home side a penalty kick which Harris Gaitatzis slotted home that sent the home fans into a frenzy, helping the Suns to its second Round of 32 finish, the first being in 2015.
Marconi Stallions 2
GHFA Spirit FC 1
On paper, the Marconi Stallions were heavily favoured to advance to the round of 32 of the FFA Cup but did it the hard way defeating NPL 2 NSW Men’s outfit GHFA Spirit FC 2-1 at Marconi Stadium.
The Stallions were weary of their opponents who famously knocked out NPL NSW Men’s side Wollongong Wolves which saw them progress to Round 7.
The game drew blanks at the break but it was the second half where all the action took shape as the home side took the lead in the 50th minute via familiar name in Sean Rooney.
Ten minutes later and it was 2-0 thanks to a Brandon Vella goal and it looked as though the home side were home and hosed.
Spirit did equalise with two minutes remaining but it was a case of being too little too late as the Stallions celebrated its second opportunity in having a run in the Round of 32.
Tarrawanna Blueys 0
Hakoah Sydney City East 4
The Cinderella story of Illawarra Premier League side Tarrawanna Blueys all but ended on a sad note on a chilly Wednesday evening at a packed Hooka Creek Park as the South Coast side went down 4-0 to NPL NSW Men’s outfit Hakoah Sydney City East.
Gavin Rae’s men spared no prisoners as they showed their Association opponents no mercy with Noji Takayuki bagging a brace in the 3rd and 17th minute before Harry Jones joined in on the party adding a third in the 29th minute.
A Blueys revival all but ended in the 58th minute when Corey Horner received his marching orders for a second bookable offence for a rash challenge that all but knocked the sails out of the home side.
Dominic Cox then added a fourth with a stinging shot from outside the box that sealed Hakoah’s place in the Round of 32 for third time since the introduction of the FFA Cup in 2014.
Hills United 1
Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2
Bonnyrigg White Eagles were given an all mighty scare at Valentine Sports Park by NPL 2 NSW Men’s outfit Hills United after the NPL NSW Men’s side trailed 1-0 via an early goal in the 15th minute thanks to big striker Peter Cejka.
Whatever was said at half-time worked for Brian Brown’s men as they delivered the telling blow with goals in the 51st from Jee Wok Woo and 74th minute via Shervin Adeli that gave the White Eagles their second crack at a Round of 32 match-up.