Round 13, will it be lucky for some?
With the Mid-Season window open for registrations, there is sure to be enough player movements to whip a whirlwind. Sides will be swooping in to secure names to bolster their squads as we head into the second half of the season.
Who will be stepping out and stepping up this weekend?
Match of the Round: Central Coast Mariners FC vs. Northern Tigers FC – 3pm Sunday 26th May, Pluim Park
The Mariners were back in the winners circle last week with an impressive performance against Spartans. All cylinders were fired up and the young lads narrowed in on goal with clinical precision.
The win was a successful rebound from their previous match at home and they return to Pluim Park this weekend with a skip in their stride ready to once again prove the coast is no friendly place to visit.
Tigers had a topsy turvy week which included taking a point from the league leaders but also losing their points from Round 1. Having been stripped of the points sees the side slide down to bottom end of mid-table.
It’s extra motivation for the visitors adding to an already burning desire to make the finals.
We’re set for a solid matchup on Sunday afternoon, it’s a fixture that comes at a key point in the season that can set you up for the remainder of the season.
Blacktown Spartans FC vs. St George FC – 7pm Saturday 25th May, Blacktown Football Park
Spartans were outclassed by the Mariners last week and you can bet as soon as the final whistle blew they were preparing for the next fixture.
There is always a silver lining and whilst they suffered a painful result, they have remained amongst the mid-table mix and are still positioned well to battle for a finals place.
In front of the home-fans it’s a good fixture to rebound against a lowly Saints side.
The Saints last week engaged in a long and hard battle against Hills and picked up a worthy point away from home. Still searching for goals the side went achingly close to breaking through and scoring their first in three matches.
Wally Savor will be hoping his side can replicate the Mariners efforts last week and smack a few past the Spartans but they have got to hit just one first.
That and their amazing effort to dump NPL NSW Men’s heavyweights APIA Leichhardt Tigers out of the FFA Cup in their 1-0 victory on Tuesday evening pushing them to the final stage of the FFA Cup Preliminary matches.
GHFA Spirit FC vs. North Shore Mariners FC – 7pm Saturday 25th May, Christie Park
Spirit were beaten to the punch by Mounties last week and their relatively slow start cost them dearly whereas it was more of the same from North Shore, a mix of composure and ruthlessness in front of goal.
North Shore will be bringing the intensity from the start and Spirit will have to be prepared to match.
It’s a top four clash with each side out to prove they belong amongst those in the current ascendancy and who has the better strike man leading the lines.
Macarthur Rams FC vs. Hills United FC – 7pm Saturday 25th May, Lynwood Park
Macarthur recent steady run came to a halt as City picked up the win on their home soil.
The Rams left it a little too late to get themselves into the match and Claudio Canosa must surely be planning to utilise his attacking weapons that have been sitting on the bench from the start in this one.
They have cracked double digits in the goals for column and after knowledge of a struggling St George side holding the rampant Hills at bay, they will consider themselves in with a sniff of matching the feat or better.
Hills free flowing attacking end were held to nil last week against the Saints, a truly rare sight this season.
They will consider their inability to hit he net last week as more of an off-day rather than being tied up by an impenetrable defence.
With numerous outlets capable of finding the net, they will be eager to get back on the pitch and pick apart the Rams.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC vs. Mounties Wanderers FC – 7pm Saturday 25th May, Sydney United Sports Centre
Western Sydney Wanderers were ultimately saved by Marley Peterson in the dying moments of last week’s match. He is yet another youngster who is popping up in decisive moments for Arthur Diles side and it’s another promising sign that the young core is learning how to secure points in difficult moments.
It will be a tough test this week up against an experienced Mounties side, we will have to wait and see if they are capable of performing once again beyond their years.
Mounties secured a clean sheet and three points, two things that haven’t seemingly been associated with the side this season. Brian ‘Bomber’ Brown’s men were however dealt a massive blow midweek as they were knocked out of the FFA Cup thanks to a 3-1 loss to NPL 3 NSW Men’s outfit Dulwich Hill which would have hurt the club in more ways than one.
With the transfer window open, is it the first of more to come and a push to the finals?
We eagerly await to see the true force of Mounties attacking weapons and they could be on full show this weekend as they always aim to rise to the occasion against Western Sydney.
Canterbury Bankstown FC vs. Rydalmere Lions FC – 7pm Saturday 25th May, Crest Athletic Centre
Whilst they did lose once again, Canterbury definitely competed in last week’s match and though it isn’t much, it’s the little things right now they need to focus on in order to change the big picture.
Those little things could soon become big and the side could be set to bring some much needed support. They are still yet to taste victory this season and at this stage almost anything will do.
Rydalmere were their own worst enemy last weekend, having conceded an equaliser so soon into the second half, the side lost all momentum and their foothold in the match.
With the window open, their youthful pride is likely to get a boost of experience over the coming weeks. The matchup against last placed Canterbury is a chance to really hone their teeth and prowl into a run for the finals.
St George City FA vs. Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC – 3pm Sunday 26th May, Jubilee Oval
Both sides picked up important wins last week and it is yet another enticing Sunday afternoon fixture.
Wayne O’Sullivan’s first match at the helm of Bonnyrigg ended in victory cries and it has moved them up into the top six.
Bonnyrigg will be pleased with the progress they have made and that little taste will give them motivation to make even more moves up the ladder.
City have been down to bare bones in the recent weeks having suffered injury after injury and players leaving the club. A good core of players still remain and whilst you don’t expect to be headline breaking signings, the side will be willing to give it their all.
NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann
Twitter – @MarcusFlottmann