Round 17 Preview – State League Men’s


Right, pack your bags, jump in your vehicle and join us as we travel up to Pluim Park for potentially the last time in the State League Men’s competition.

Our match of the round see’s first vs second in a clash which promises so much.

Elsewhere, the race towards finals positions will take another step towards its conclusion so there’s not a fixture that doesn’t matter.

Match of the round: Central Coast United v Fraser Park; Saturday 13th July, 5pm @ Pluim Park

Was there really any other option for the match of the round this weekend? Central Coast United welcome Fraser Park to Pluim in what could be a Grand Final preview.

As it stands though, Central Coast United could almost wrap up promotion with a win across all three grades in this one. United have shown no sign of any second season syndrome as they have gone from strength to strength throughout the campaign. Revenge will be on their mind though; the hosts went down to their visitors in the first meeting of the two. In that one, a late goal handed United a second consecutive loss after appearing to get their season on track. How things have changed though with that being their last defeat this season and it will take one mighty effort to knock them off at home.

In their way will be a Fraser Park side desperate to bounce back after dropping points last week at home. Yep, they may have found their bogey side in Hurstville FC. Going down early, it took a Luiz Lobo penalty to take away a point. It was the latest result in a scratchy run of form over the past month, winning two games whilst having a draw and a loss in the other two. To get something from this one, you’d suggest a clean sheet is a must (something they’ve only done three times this season). Whilst attacking wise Matthew Nezval will want to get back on the scoresheet after missing out the past two weeks.

We are all set for a massive clash in what could be our last visit up the coast if they get promoted. A fortnights rest could be vital, if the home side hang on early, you’d fancy them to pull this off.

Prediction: Central Coast United

Hurstville FC v Western Condors; Saturday 13th July, 6pm @ Seymour Shaw

The middle third of the season wasn’t kind to Hurstville FC, yet they find themselves with the chance to consolidate third position this weekend. Last week they became just the third side this season to take points off Fraser Park at home securing a score draw. It was their third draw in the past four fixtures but possibly their best one of the three considering it was against a premiership contender. Last week Jesse Gagro got on the scoresheet once again and Hurstville will hope he becomes their consistent goal scorer.

If they don’t win this weekend, Western Condors won’t have won in two months. Yeah, I think it’s fair enough to call it a poor run of form at this point. And it all looked like breaking last weekend before somehow managing to throw away a two-goal cushion. I say somehow but it was rather obvious, they took their foot off the pedal. However, if they do manage to emulate that first half performance which saw Joshua Obeng and Christian Leiva Martinez score, they’ll be hard to beat. Big IF though.

Hurstville FC seem to have turned their season around and face a Condors team low on confidence. Only one result I can go for…

Prediction: Hurstville FC

Nepean FC v UNSW FC; Saturday 13th July, 7pm @ Cook Park No.1 (St Mary’s)

The last thing you want after a close loss after holding a winning position is a washed-out fixture. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what Nepean FC have had to deal with, their fixture last week against FC Gazy Auburn succumbing to the weather. So, it’s all about having the right reaction this week, and they shouldn’t need much motivation against this week’s opponents. In team news, Jamie Dib should finally don the Nepean FC kit once again whilst you’d suspect Masudi Elongo and Clement Waoci should have settled into the side.

Football is a game of little margins. Last week UNSW FC came so close to pulling off a stunning fight back against Western Condors. But a Bede Leyland chance fizzled out deep into injury time. However, positives can be taken into this one, they came out on top of Nepean in their last encounter winning in a high-scoring fixture by four goals to three. Another positive is the form of Nima Beik, he scored twice last weekend and honestly should have had more. If they stand a chance this coming weekend, Beik will need to lead from the front.

This clash is never boring. Plenty of feeling in it as well so there’s always an element of whoever holds their nerve will win it. In recent times, that’s been Nepean and we can’t see that changing.

Prediction: Nepean FC

South Coast Flame v Prospect United; Saturday 13th July, 7pm @ Ian Mclennan Park

There’s very little room to hide in the State League Men’s competition. And it’s very hard to turn the ship around when it’s on the wrong course. That’s the daunting challenge facing South Coast Flame with just five games of their season left. Last weekend, a lack of match awareness cost them against Balmain Tigers away from home and are now just clinging onto a finals spot. Maybe home comforts will provide the spark South Coast Flame need.

The reading doesn’t get much better for their opponents either. You’d suggest the break was a welcome one for Prospect United who have been struggling to keep their team fit on the park (particularly their defense). They are another team glad to see the backside of the month of June having not tasted victory throughout the month. Defensive injuries aren’t the only worry they must face though, United haven’t scored in three fixtures. Goal shy.

Two sides who have lost the taste the victory. Perhaps for one team, this can spark a revival of fortunes.

Prediction: South Coast Flame.

Balmain Tigers v Hurstville City Minotaurs; Sunday 14th July, 5pm @ Ilinden Sports Centre

Bump in the road. That’s the answer to the question I posed in the preview last weekend as Balmain Tigers returned to the winner’s circle after their loss to UNSW the week before. The Tigers were impressive early on against South Coast Flame, and after scoring on the half hour mark, they looked comfortable. That win makes it five wins in their past seven fixtures of the competition (the only better than them is Central Coast United). They will be missing regular scorer Miki Bisceglia this week, but you’d fancy them to continue their merry way in this one.

Hurstville City Minotaurs return to the scene of their derby defeat this weekend. It was another case of the bye coming at an unfriendly time this season as they will have had fourteen days to reflect on a disastrous first half performance in that one. Too add to the pain, a draw for UNSW FC last weekend means that the Minotaurs now sit on the foot of the table. The question is, what kind of reaction can we expect in this one?

Balmain Tigers look like serious finals contenders now and a lot of credit must go to their coach Sash Tirovski. Hard to see them getting beat in this one which means next time I talk to you; they could well be in the top five.

Prediction: Balmain Tigers

By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)