The Sydney FC NPL squad faced a tough assignment on Saturday night when they took on St George FC in the NPL NSW.

With all of the scholarship contracted A-League players either injured or with Ufuk Talay’s side at the Sydney Derby, the NPL side had to call upon a very young team for this Saturday night clash.

In fact, the average age of the squad for this match was 17.8 years old. To put that into perspective, they are competing in a men’s competition and for some of them, they turn up to school on a Monday morning.

St George scored the first goal of the evening after they hit the Sky Blues on the counter attack and Jimmy van Weeren’s side tried to play football as they hunted a route back into the match.

Soon however, they fell further behind when the ball bobbled around in the box and Nicolas Kalogerau muscled his way in at the back post to make it two.

Joey Calusic had another impressive performance

Despite conceding two in the first half, U17’s goalkeeper Sandy Zaverdinos performed well in his senior NPL debut with Gus Hoefsloot sidelined with a knee injury.

In the second half, the youthful Sky Blues continued to stick to the identity of football they want to play and were unlucky not to find the net earlier than they did with St George sitting back and absorbing a lot of pressure.

Tyler Williams, Joey Calusic, Lachie Middleton & Jai Rose all had a good game at Rockdale Illinden on the Saturday night however it would be U17 Marin France who would net his first goal in the NPL.

Jai Rose on the ball

France cut inside from the left wing and curled a shot into the far corner to give the Sky Blues hope of a late comeback.

It wasn’t to be however with St George sitting back and clearing the ball by any means to record their first win of the season.

Despite the result, Head Coach Jimmy van Weeren was really pleased with the performance his young side produced.

“We were exposed with two chances during the first half that they converted and capitalised on. In the second half I thought we were the more dominant team but we couldn’t convert the chances we had.

“I’m really proud of the group, given their age and the football that they delivered in the second half with the combinations that they played,” van Weeren said.

Jimmy van Weeren on the sideline

“We are also proud to see a number of our NPL players involved with the Sydney Derby win at CommBank.”

For the Sky Blues they will now travel to Landen Stadium to take on Hills United on Wednesday night before hosting the Central Coast Mariners NPL on Friday night at Rockdale Illinden Sports Centre.

The tight turnaround will be tough to manage for the NPL side but they will be aiming to give more opportunities to more players.

“We will have to be careful to manage some of their loads with three games in six days.

“How we balance that will be a challenge but young players love to play games and will love playing two in three days,” he concluded.

Catch every match of the NPL season live on Football NSW YouTube Channel.

See all the upcoming NPL fixtures here.

Sydney FC: 40. Alex Zaverdinos, 2. Noah Mathie, 3. Tyler Williams, 4. Joseph Calusic, 5. Richard Nkomo (15. Max Burrato 82’’), 6. Dylan Rose (17. Ayouk Edward-Mo 74’), 8. Lachlan Middleton, 9. Bailey Callaghan (35. Jai Rose 60’), 10. Tiago Quintal, 11. Marin France, 13. Jacob Brazete (32. Samuel Lancaster 74’)

Subs not used: 14. Jared Middleton, 20. Sean Suzuki

Yellow Cards: Lachlan Middleton 59’, Tyler Williams 76’

Red Cards: Nil