We’ve hit the dozen!
Creeping toward half way in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s we are served up another feast of Saturday evening football.
Here’s how the teams line up to make your pick from this weekend’s fixtures.
Match of the Round: Bonnyrigg White Eagles vs Canterbury Bankstown FC – 6.30pm Saturday 18th May, Bonnyrigg Sports Club
News that Milan Blagojevic had left the helm at proud club Bonnyrigg came late last week and the side would have taken a bit of a mental blow heading into last weekend’s fixtures suffering a tough loss at the hands of the Rams, halting their steady ascent up the ladder.
Now the dust has settled and caretakers Milan Susak and Dragan Pupovac have been appointed, it’s back to business. They host a favourable fixture against Canterbury as they seek to get their minds out of the headlines and onto the pitch.
Canterbury were outclassed by a tactically sound Hills side that were able to counter everything they could muster.
They travel to Bonnyrigg where they come up against one of the sternest defences in the league. They will need to hit hard and fast if they are to break through, hoping there is some cracks still lingering from last week’s match.
Can they exploit any weakness and pick up their first win of the season?
Blacktown Spartans FC vs. Central Coast Mariners FC – 7pm Saturday 18th May, Blacktown Football Park
Spartans played out a tough competitive fixture against North Shore and on another day it could have easily been a different result.
Whilst the result last week took a blow out of their stride, they keep pace with the middle of the pack challenging for the top six. It’s still promising signs for the side yet they will need their forward line to fire from the go against Central Coast.
The Mariners suffered a home defeat at the hands of Spirit last week. It’s an odd occasion that the boys on the coast drop points at home and will certainly be a lesson learned.
Their performances on the pitch have been of good quality, however, it’s always the challenge of winning the mental battle to get yourselves over the line. Something that normally comes with time, Ray Junna will be hoping his youthful squad can race forward a few years and keep their heads on task, following it up with wins.
The sides are even on points and a win could land them in the top six, it should be a cracker match with plenty of young guns on display.
Hills United FC vs. St George FC – 7pm Saturday 18th May, Lily Homes Stadium
Hills are currently one of the in-form teams in the league and look to have laid out the foundations to keep up their success for the remainder of the season.
The execution of their tactics led to a comprehensive display of attacking football against Canterbury and heaps the pressure on the first placed Wanderers.
The Saints are currently in desperate need of a win. Hovering about in the bottom three is a far cry from their Championship run last season.
Having only notched up two wins as we head toward mid-season, warning signs are beginning to flash and sound.
Against a struggling St George side you favour Hills, yet, the Saints are tough customers and will be ready to put it all on the line to get the win.
Macarthur Rams FC vs. St George City FA – 7pm Saturday 18th May, Lynwood Park
Macarthur were perhaps the biggest winners last week after defeating Bonnyrigg and pulling themselves into the midtable mash.
The Rams have just about doubled their points tally from this time last year and will be eager to pick up another win before mid-season as they follow this fixture against the heat-streaking Hills.
City again frustrated their opponents last week but unfortunately their sights of goal did not quite have their intended destination. Having kept pace with the Wanderers for majority of the ninety they unfortunately lacked enough firepower and ran out of steam.
The new boys on the block knew this season was never going to be easy and thus far they can be pleased with how they have competed. It’s time to convert that to wins.
Both sides would greatly benefit from a win, will we witness either team’s attacking units finally kick into gear?
Northern Tigers FC vs. Western Sydney Wanderers FC – 7pm Saturday 18th May, North Turramurra Recreation Area
A confident Tigers side host the youth gone wild as the band of red and black roll into the north shore.
It’s one of the biggest challenges the hosts have come up against this season and the Wanderers do not look like slowing down.
For Tigers, things finally seemed to fall into place last week and they picked up an impressive win against Mounties. Josh Swadling will be looking to fire again as he comes into this one hot of a hat-trick last match.
The Wanderers are currently playing football with confidence and composure well beyond their years. It’s impressive to say the least what coach Arthur Diles has been able to manage with an often depleted squad combined with keeping his young lads at level heads.
Another impressive performance from Mohamed Adam is needed in this one, currently leading the golden boot race at better than a goal a game.
Mounties Wanderers FC vs. GHFA Spirit FC – 7pm Saturday 18th May, Sydney United Sports Centre
This should be another classic battle in true NPL 2 nature, competitive right until the final second.
Two sides that have aspirations to be amongst the top with one currently having more success.
After a few rounds of falling off the tracks, Spirit have most certainly recovered and their solid win last week was reminiscent of their form early on in the season.
Travis Cooper’s recent contributions have been more than handy and whilst his name hasn’t hit the score sheet often, when it does, Spirit normally pick up a win.
Mounties up and down season continues and I think we are all wondering if it will continue in this fashion.
Picking up a win this week will do them a huge boost of confidence before they face league leaders Western Sydney next week.
But they have to get the job done first.
It still seems a simple equation for Mounties, lock up the back and the front end will do the rest of the work. If they can manage that they are in with more than just a chance.
Rydalmere Lions FC vs. North Shore Mariners FC – 7pm Saturday 18th May, Valentine Sports Park
Rydalmere’s win against St George last week means they maintain their hunt for the top six. Another winning result could see them leap into the top six which will be a huge boost heading into the mid-season round.
Adam Sayour was the difference for the Lions last week and his team will hope he can be an effective outlet once again. The Lions will need their defensive line to be ready for a strong physical battle as their opponents will not relent in attempting to break through.
North Shore were a composed side against Spartans but could have benefitted from a little more creativity to break down the stubborn defensive line they faced.
That said, there has been no slowing down their main goal scoring threat of Mitchell Smith, who netted once again to keep up his record of a goal a game.
Having won on this ground last week, can North Shore make it a case of déjà vu?
NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann
Twitter – @MarcusFlottmann