The top five in this State League Men’s competition now looks sorted, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun as teams are either now in finals preparation mode or have something to prove.
Wagga City Wanderers v Prospect United
This will be only the second occasion this season where Wagga City Wanderers come into a match searching for back to back wins. Last time out, the Wanderers were just more clinical then their opponents in Balmain Tigers. Mid-season signings have really added to this outfit with the Gardner brothers (Frederick and Henri) providing an outlet up front as well as Nathan Preston solidifying the back. Stuart Smead will also be one to watch given his man of the match performance last weekend.
It’s a big match for their opponents as well, Prospect United to put it bluntly are in the middle of a slump. Last weekend they faced an admittedly tough challenge against Bankstown United however it’s never nice to lose by three goals. Never fear though, reinforcements are on the way as they will have at least three players returning for the trip to Wagga (a nice plot twist).
It’s a big day for Wagga as they will be raising money for Make A Wish Australia, all matches will be livestreamed and a visiting side will be determined to bounce back to the winner’s circle.
Last Meeting: Prospect United 3-0 Wagga City Wanderers
South Coast Flame vs Western Condors
Cook Park is a tough place to travel too, South Coast Flame found that out last weekend. The Flame were caught unprepared and were punished going down five goals to one killing off their slim finals hopes. Special mention goes to Julio Mushaba from last weekend who filled in as a stop gap full back well. Changes are afoot as they welcome Western Condors, with Paul Robaard set to start a young midfield.
Western Condors are now clinging onto any hopes of finals football. In a cruel twist their form has taken a rapid nosedive just when they were beginning to believe. Last weekend was one of those days, despite being in possession of the ball for the majority of the second half, they couldn’t break down a stubborn FC Gazy Auburn defense. Now it’s must win and their opponents on the road this week are no easy beats.
Last round wasn’t too kind to either of these sides, so it’s about which side picks themselves up the better here.
Last Meeting: Western Condors 1-2 South Coast Flame
Bankstown United v Central Coast United
Bankstown United will be keen to get some revenge after a disappointing reverse fixture. However, the club will need to win all three grades to peg back the current gap in the club championship. Last weekend, Bankstown United cruised past Prospect United in a pretty one-sided affair. It was one of if not the best performance Shane Webb has had since joining the club, providing an integral part in the midfield. The question is, can they pull it off in a huge day for the club.
There is no doubt Central Coast United will not make it easy though. This week’s visitors come into the fixture with an unblemished record and time is running out for that too change. You wouldn’t call last week’s game against UNSW FC a classic but this side has an unmatched ability in knowing how to win. Their key throughout but particularly this week will be the performances of centre backs Graham Toope and Geordie Howe who have been solid throughout.
A massive game in the context of this season, if only it had a more fitting venue…
Last Meeting: Central Coast United 4-1 Bankstown United
UNSW FC v Nepean FC
Let’s call it, this game the first time round changed the course of this season. UNSW FC had been flying before their first meeting with Central Coast United but then it came crashing down with a second loss in a row against Nepean. So, you need motivation after last week? There it is. Spin how you like, UNSW need to figure out how to beat the quality sides, here is the perfect opportunity for that.
Nepean FC score five-star performance, I had packed that sentence away I was honest with you. Now here we are and suddenly the finals look to have a Darkhorse of sorts. How much of one? We will find out in the next couple of weeks. Players to watch for the visitors are Hayden Pronin and Mario Ghobrial off the bench. The pressure is on the opposition here so let’s see if they are back.
A top five clash with pointers to finals football involved. You want to go in with good form and here’s the chance.
Last Meeting: Nepean FC 4-2 UNSW FC
FC Gazy Auburn v Hurstville FC
Consistency is the key for FC Gazy Auburn. They face three winnable fixtures to close out the season and it starts on Sunday afternoon. Last weekend they put in another solid defensive shift, from the outside it appears sometimes it just clicks that way and they came away with a one-nil victory. This in no small part was due to a superb save from keeper Pablo Meza to secure the win.
After last weeks results, Hurstville FC are another team who face a must win clash with three rounds to go. Momentum isn’t something to play with though, so it will be hard to turn it around. Last week they came from behind twice in one game to secure a derby draw. A draw won’t help them this weekend though, they will be boosted with Paul Gagro coming back into the fray last weekend.
The pressure is all on Hurstville FC here, finals however unlikely start here if they want to play more than three games.
Last Meeting: Hurstville FC 5-1 FC Gazy Auburn
Balmain Tigers v Hurstville City Minotaurs
Travelling to Wagga is tough, even tougher if you don’t come away with something. So, after a week of soul searching after their defeat, it’s time for Balmain Tigers to show that they’re better than their ladder position. This Sunday they face Hurstville City Minotaurs and will be boosted by the returns of Leonardo Di Giulio, Swaray Kamara and others. Go on Balmain, prove it has only been luck not going your way.
They will be facing a side determined to return to the winner’s circle. Hurstville City Minotaurs are falling into the worrying trap of being ahead in games and not converting it into three points. Having held a lead after a convincing first half performance last week, they were unable to take derby honours. If you’re going to rely on early goal, you must be clinical which the Minotaurs haven’t in their last two fixtures.
A game between two sides with a bit to prove, finals may be out of the question but pride is at stake.
Last Meeting: Hurstville City Minotaurs 2-1 Balmain Tigers
By Justin Smith