It is difficult to know where to look as the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 season heads into the last quarter of the season.
The title, the battle for a semis spot, Club Championship, both up and down, are all open for contention and there is not a club in the league that does not have something serious to play for. It augers well for some dynamic football over the next six weeks.
In this week’s feature game, we look to two clubs fighting for the five, Bankstown Berries v Fraser Park.
Bankstown Berries v Fraser Park Saturday 7:30pm Valentine Sports Park
Bankstown Berries have excelled in recent weeks and are certainly the form team of those currently challenging for fifth. They have the chance to leapfrog Fraser Park when they meet this Saturday, Fraser only ahead of their hosts on goal difference. It was only just over a month ago when they last met, Fraser Park keeping the spoils in a 1-0 midweek win. The Berries will be going for their fifth straight victory, though they will have to do without Liam McKenna, sent off last Sunday.
Fraser Park will be disappointed with their loss to Macarthur. They were holding the whip hand for these last weeks but that advantage is diminished a little now. Up against a firing Berries, they can’t afford to see another one match go by, against an immediate rival, so they will need to be up for this.
Mounties Wanderers v Bankstown City Saturday 7:30pm Cook Park Mt Pritchard WASHED OUT
St George v Spirit FC Saturday 7:30pm St George Stadium Kyeemagh
St George may be all but out of the running for the finals but with club championship points required, they have every reason to still need the win this Saturday when Spirit come to visit. It will be the first of three consecutive home games so the time is ripe for the Saints to overturn their recent poor run of results. Five straight losses have hurt but as the Berries have shown, it is possible to turn around such a run.
Spirit haven’t lost too many this season and a quick return to the winner’s circle will be their quest. Hakoah and Central Coast have snuck up after last week’s results and anything less than a win against St George might let the chasers get a little too close for comfort.
Macarthur Rams v Sydney University Saturday 7:30pm Lynwood Park, St Helens Park
After finally getting another win last weekend, the Rams slumped to a loss against Mounties on Wednesday, damaging, but not killing off, their finals hopes. It will be a difficult task ahead and their chances may only be slim, but until it is mathematically impossible, expect the Rams to fight all the way. A win against Uni must be achieved if they are to have any chance of extending their season into September.
With Mounties winning last Saturday and Wednesday, University find themselves back on the bottom again despite recent good results. Their loss to Northern Tigers last weekend scuppered their chance to climb further up the ladder, meaning that this week’s visit to Lynwood Park becomes even more important as they seek to avoid the wooden spoon. The grab for club championship points continues as ever, as it does now for an increasing number of clubs.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers v Hakoah Sydney City East Saturday 7:30pm Popondetta Park Emerton
It has been a disastrous few weeks for Mount Druitt Town Rangers, and they are in some danger of undoing all their good work to date. Four consecutive losses with just two goals scored but fifteen against, has seen them drop to seventh on the table, albeit on goal difference. They will need to pull out all stops in this one versus Hakoah Sydney City East, a difficult task at the best of times.
Hakoah continue to roll along. They have beaten their two most immediate rivals over the past three rounds, and face their third in Northern Tigers next week. A win here, the first of three games away, will set them up nicely before that trip to Mills Park. But they will need to be careful against a wounded Rangers, who won’t want to let their season slip by.
Central Coast v Northern Tigers Sunday 3pm Pluim Park Lisarow
This is a plum match, or even afternoon, for all fans up the Coast, and in northern Sydney, to get along to. Certainly there should be plenty of goals if recent games are anything to go by. There have been twenty goals in Central Coast’s past four games, though unfortunately for the Coast, eight were in their net, but last week’s clean sheet has gone some way to repairing that damage. They meet a Tigers who are also challenging on a number of fronts, most importantly the Club Championship at this stage, so this will be a big day for both clubs across the board.
Northern Tigers face a big three weeks in fact. Central Coast, Hakoah and then Spirit are the Tigers’ next three matches. Plenty of nervous moments perhaps, but plenty of good football guaranteed as well.
Midweek –Round 14
Wednesday 15 July 2015
Mounties Wanderers v Macarthur Rams
After struggling all year to get even just the one win. Mounties have now claimed their second in five days after defeating Macarthur Rams 3-1 in the final rescheduled game on Wednesday night.
Reid Taylor got the Mounties off to the perfect start, scoring after just thirteen minutes before Jacob Carluccio, with his second in two games, doubled the lead immediately after half time.
A third goal, to Taylor once more, put Mounties in a commanding position before Craig Cooley scored a late consolation for the Rams.
Mounties Wanderers 3 (Reid Taylor 13’, 73’, Jacob Carluccio 46’) v Macarthur Rams 1 (Craig Cooley 77’)
Mounties Wanderers: 30. Ali Akbal 3. Neftali Gonzalez 6. Aleksandar Tomic 15. Shane Webb (9. Rory McGeown) 18. Mark D’Alessandro 20. Reid Taylor 23. Nathan Attard (24. Mitchell King) 26. Jacob Carluccio 27. Gongjun Lee 28. Leon Faria 32. James Letta.
Macarthur Rams: 1. Christopher Becerra 2. Craig Cooley 4. Ben Cornish 7. Louis Duchesne 9. Shannon Hankin (15. Joel Craig) 10. Eros Bergamin 11. Aaron Farringdon 12. David McMurray 14. Mark Symington (19. Daniel Willoughby) 16. Daniel Ramirez (8. Ryan Marchant) 18. Gavin Forbes.
–by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 2 Reporter