Round 19 Preview – State League Men’s


As the State League Men’s competition approaches R19 and the final four weeks of competition. The only thing which is clear in the competition is that goals can be expected. The league is averaging four goals a game, so strap yourselves in for another weekend of thrills, spills and the unexpected.

Match of the round: Hurstville FC v Prospect United; Sunday 28th July, 5pm @ Seymour Shaw.

A resurgent Hurstville FC host Prospect United in this week’s match of the round at Seymour Shaw Park.

Having had a midseason slip, the hosts have turned it around in style and are on a run of six games without defeat. Most recently they beat Balmain Tigers in convincing fashion (Not an achievement many teams have managed in recent times). In fact, reflecting on the match it was described by head coach John Gagro as “their best attacking performance of the season”.

Central to such a turnaround has been the performance of mid-season recruit Pedro Almeida who ran the show from midfield. As his combination with the likes of the Gagro brothers and Adrian Livio matures, we can only expect more goals to come in the remaining weeks.

Prospect United on the other hand are coming off a victory for the first time in a while. So seems a good time for us to catch up with them (and maybe just maybe they’ll win a game when I turn up). It was a welcome change of luck for this week’s visitors who have played better this season yet come away with nothing.

Daniel Vukovic continued his form revitalization with a double to make it three goals in his last two appearances. Whilst at the other end, Mario Farias definitely deserves a mention at the other end of the pitch, making some game changing saves.

Hurstville FC have been good in recent weeks, and you’d fancy them to continue here against Prospect United.

Prediction: Hurstville FC

Central Coast United v Balmain Tigers; Saturday 27th July, 5:00pm @ Pluim Park No.1

Surely, it couldn’t happen again could it? Central Coast United are starting to show a few signs of a late season wobble once again. And it’s a fate no one apart from those in Sydney’s eastern suburbs want to see. Last weekend they started nervously against bottom placed side Hurstville City Minotaurs going down a goal early on before taking a breath and righting their wrongs.

Such opportunities won’t come too often for the remainder of the season though as things get desperate across the board. Every point is valuable for Central Coast United in the final run home, can they hold their nerve?

Finals are suddenly not a given for Balmain Tigers. After a good midseason recovery, last week really stood out as an important fixture. Unfortunately for them they lost to third placed Hurstville FC at home and now they face a tough run home which includes Central Coast United this week, Nepean FC next week and FC Gazy Auburn on the last day.

So, what do we need to see from the Tigers this week? I think it comes all down to the start, if they hold tight early, a surprise could well be on the cards. It won’t be easy though

Prediction: Central Coast United.

South Coast Flame v Hurstville City Minotaurs; Saturday 27th July, 7:00pm @ Ian McLennan Park

Football can be a harsh game as we all now and despite only been blown out once in six fixtures, South Coast Flame are in desperate need of a win. So, when you put it that way, a bye last weekend was a welcome sight and a chance to regroup ahead of their final four fixtures of the season.

In their last game, they played out an entertaining and equally dramatic high-scoring draw against Prospect United. It’s the first time South Coast Flame have found themselves outside the top five in a long time, so perhaps this will show us if the Flame can handle the heat of finals football.

How to motivate a side with nothing really left to play for… The Hurstville City Minotaurs face a road trip down the coast this weekend with their efforts concentrated on avoiding the dreaded spoon. Last round, they expectantly went down to Central Coast United in our match of the round. In that game Seyfullah Eser was impressive leading the line and was rewarded with an early goal.

If they can reset this week in training, Hurstville City Minotaurs have four very winnable games to conclude the season. So, time to rally, get as many points as possible and go out in a blaze of glory.

Prediction: South Coast Flame

UNSW FC v Fraser Park; Saturday 27th July, 7pm @ Ilinden Sports Centre

The role of spoiler. It’s not a role any team wants to play at the beginning of the season. But UNSW FC are one of two teams in the competition who will need to embrace it for the remaining weeks (Yes, I’m writing them off, prove me wrong guys). At least motivation will not be an issue in this one at least, how they would love to strike a blow to this week’s opposition.

To do so though, they will need to turn around a defeat at the hands of Prospect last weekend. It was just one of several high scoring affairs of which they’ve been apart of this season.

Fraser Park continue to coast along, prepared to strike if they need too regarding the club championship whilst maintaining a slender lead in the premiership standings. Last week they beat FC Gazy Auburn and in doing so got some revenge after their defeat earlier in the season. In that one, Fraser were ruthless in the second half.

Can the former UNSW trio of Ian Johnson, Luiz Lobo and Christian Soares once again claim bragging rights in this one? That’s just one of the questions that will be answered on Saturday night when UNSW host Fraser Park at Ilinden Sports Centre.

Prediction: Fraser Park

FC Gazy Auburn v Western Condors; Sunday 28th July, 3pm @ Progress Park.

Everyone knows that this season has been a season of increased quality, if you need proof just look where FC Gazy Auburn are standing. However, we are yet to see a team standing on the periphery of the top five take their fate into their own hands.

It won’t be easy though as their form has been spotty in recent times as evidenced by their loss to Fraser Park last weekend. With a game in hand on fellow competitors though and a more than manageable draw. A finals place is there for the taking, particularly if Esoghume Dominic continues his goalscoring form.

Hold up, there’s life in them yet. Western Condors surprised many with their result last weekend (including themselves). But in scoring two late goals to overcome a more fancied Nepean FC side, the Condors suddenly might find themselves with the wind behind their sails in the run in.

it’s never been a performance based on the pitch for the Condors. They have often come close and performed well yet ended up on the wrong side of the result. But last weeks result may just be the turnaround in luck they have craved for so long. So, can Gabriel Gomes and his men make it back to back wins for the first time since round five?

Prediction: Western Condors

By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)