Manly United are no strangers to the FFA Cup Round of 32 but have yet to emerge victorious at this stage of the competition. Can the team from Sydney’s Northern Beaches make it third time lucky?
Paul Dee’s troops have reached the Round of 32 twice before (2014 and 2016), both times being eliminated by fellow NSW NPL opposition.
And it’s another side from their domestic competition standing in their way again, with Mount Druitt Town Rangers in the way of Manly and a spot in the last 16.
There’s nothing between these two sides, who have already met three times in 2019, with a win apiece and one draw.
But it was Manly who won the most recent encounter, a 2-0 win in the NSW Waratah Cup just last month.
Manly, who booked their spot in this year’s competition with a 1-0 win over Rockdale City, may not have the same budget as many as their NPL rivals but are renowned for punching above their weight.
But the former club of ex-Caltex Socceroos skipper Lucas Neill have plenty of quality too, and it could just see the boys from the peninsula finally make their mark in the FFA Cup.
Competition: National Premier League, NSW
Home ground: Cromer Park, Dee Why, NSW
Honours: National Premier League Champions 1995, 2017
National Premier League Premiers 1995
NSW Waratah Cup Winners 2011
While the operated under various guises from the 1960s, the Manly Warringah Dolphins were born for the start of the 1992 NSW Super League season. Under the tutelage of John Kosmina, the club won the double three years later.
The club then changed their name to Manly United in 2004 after winning promotion to the NSW Premier League.
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And the club have remained in the state’s top flight ever since, producing an incredible run through the NPL finals series two years ago to take out their second Championship, despite finishing the regular season in fifth spot.
This is the club's third appearance in the FFA Cup, also reaching the Round of 32 in 2014 and 2016.
Manly United are the representative arm of the Manly Warringah Football Association (MWFA), which is regarded as one of the largest associations in the country with more than 18,000 registered players.
He may be small in stature but Brendan Cholakian is arguably one of the most gifted players in the NSW NPL.
A crafty playmaker who operates in United’s no.10 role, Cholakian can not only pick a pass but also provides a goal threat, currently Manly’s top scorer with eight in 18 games in 2019.
Former Wellington Phoenix winger Adam Parkhouse is back at Cromer Park and possesses a sweet left foot, while Dejan Pandurevic provides pace and trickery on the opposite flank.
Round of 32 Match Details
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v Manly United
Date: Wednesday, 24 July 2019
Venue: Popondetta Park
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEST
Click here for ticket details