The National Premier Leagues 3 NSW Men’s competition continues on its merry way this weekend, with all seven matches of Round Nineteen scheduled across five different timeslots on Saturday.
Dunbar Rovers will be red hot favourites to take the points on offer on Saturday afternoon when they welcome Granville Rage to Hensley Athletic Field for a 3pm kick off.
Sitting in 8th spot on 23 points, and now nine points outside a semi-final position, Dunbar can ill afford anything other than a healthy win to commence their ascent with eight matches remaining. Despite losing last week, the Rovers can take plenty of confidence from their performance against the competition’s leaders, Stanmore Hawks, leading twice, netting three goals, and only losing due to a last minute strike.
Granville will be out to restore some pride given their double figure trouncing last week at the hands of Inter Lions, but will need a much more concerted effort all round if they are to avoid a similar outcome from a Dunbar side with plenty to play for.
It’s ‘last’ versus ‘first’ in Bathurst on Saturday, as the Western NSW Mariners face up to league leaders, the Stanmore Hawks, at Proctor Park for a 5pm kick off.
On paper, can anyone see anything other than a comprehensive Stanmore win? The Hawks are flying high on the back of five wins and two draws in their past seven matches, and will be out to make it a worthwhile trip to Bathurst by bringing home the bacon.
But football can be a funny game, and they do say the ball is round…. the Mariners can throw caution to the wind knowing they are clear underdogs with nothing to lose.
Stanmore won the corresponding first round encounter back in April by 6-1, with hatricks to both Peter Yannopoulos and Sam Awad, and it’ll be difficult to predict anything other than a similar outcome this time around.
Hawkesbury City will have their work cut out when Bankstown United visit David Bertenshaw Field for a 5-30pm kick off on Saturday night.
Having lost the one solitary match in their past seven, United have firmly consolidated their position in the top six, currently sitting in 5th spot on 33 points, their confidence evident in a 4-2 away triumph over the Gladesville Ryde Magic last Sunday.
The depleted Hawks, on the other hand, came unstuck last weekend in a tight game against Sydney Uni after a six match unbeaten run, and will be keen to return to winning ways and do the business in front of their home fans. Keeper and captain, Daniel Schwarzer, will no doubt need to be at his best if Hawkesbury are to stop the Bankstown United juggernaut.
One of Hawkesbury’s victories this season came in Round 6 when they beat Bankstown United 2-1 at Jensen Park, the goals coming via Majid Eslami and a Terry Pannowitz penalty, so expect yet another tough encounter once again come Saturday.
Inter Lions will be hoping they’ve got more goals left in the tank when they take on Sydney University at Valentine Sports Park No.3, the match scheduled to start at 6-30pm on Saturday night.
Last week the Lions rattled up 11 goals, no less, in a walkover against Granville Rage, the win putting Inter on 32 points in 6th spot, eight points ahead of 7th placed Dulwich Hill.
The ‘students’ were also victorious last week, their first win in 5 weeks, in fact, with a desperate three points in a real six-pointer against Hawkesbury City.
When the two teams met on April 13th back in Round Six, Inter Lions had an easy night of it in a 5-2 drubbing, with Goncalo Paradanta netting a hatrick, and Inter will be confident of a repeat outcome this week.
In order to keep their finals hopes alive, Dulwich Hill will need all three points and nothing less when Parramatta FC come to Arlington Oval for a 7pm kick off on Saturday night.
Currently sitting in 7th spot, and being eight points behind 6th placed Inter Lions, Dully will need to commence their climb sooner rather than later, otherwise risk a quiet September come Finals time.
Parramatta have had a tough year of it, battling in the bottom rungs of the competition ladder, but have had a couple of wins in the past three games, and will be hoping that run can continue to stretch on Saturday.
It was a closely fought encounter when the two sides met back in the corresponding first round fixture, with a solitary Yoel Silvestre strike giving Dully the spoils, so expect a similar closely fought game this time around.
Bankstown City and SD Raiders will go head to head on Saturday night like a couple of prize heavyweight fighters, the battle commencing at 7pm at Jensen Park.
Sitting 4th and 2nd respectively on the competition ladder, the two sides are separated by just three points, so what an opportunity for the Lions to close that gap in front of their home fans.
The Lions had a welcome return to winning ways on Saturday, when two goals from Tommy Markovski and Nikola Todorovski strike gave them a 3-1 win over Camden Tigers. The Raiders also had a victory, scoring late on to overcome a gallant Dulwich Hill 3-2 on the back of Anthony Proia’s double.
In fact, Todorovski has pleasant memories of playing against the Raiders – he netted a hatrick back in mid April when the sides met in the corresponding first round fixture, with the Lions stunning the Raiders 5-1, so no doubt the Bankstown City captain will be out to replicate that effort on Saturday night.
Both Camden Tigers and Gladesville Ryde Magic will be on the rebound on Saturday when they meet at 7pm at Ron Dine Stadium.
Occupying 10th spot on 21 points, Camden’s form has been up and down of late, with the team unable to gain any sort of momentum. But the Tigers do enjoy playing on their home patch, and have had five wins and just the one loss in six outings in Camden. In fact, this match will start a run of seven consecutive games at Ron Dine Stadium, which could very well mean a climb up the competition ladder for the Camden faithful.
Last week’s reverse against Bankstown United was the first in nine rounds for Gladesville Ryde Magic, but such has been the positive form of other clubs near the top, it meant they dropped in to 3rd spot as a result.
Lachlan Harte and Aaron Khan got the goals in Gladesville’s 2-1 first round win back in April, and the Magic will hope for another three points here if they are to stay in touch with the top two.