Round 22 means the curtain comes down on the State League Men’s season. With the premiership race all but sown up (barring a miracle), we turn our attention to the finals race and who will finish in the dreaded bottom place.
Match of the round brings us to St George Stadium for a clash between 3rd place Hurstville FC and 6th place South Coast Flame.
Match of the Round: Hurstville FC v South Coast Flame; Sunday 18th August, 3pm @ St George Stadium
Well it all comes down to this for both Hurstville FC and South Coast Flame this season. Only a win will guarantee they play a game the next week.
Even better for Hurstville FC, a win will guarantee them third position and second chance in the final’s series. To do so, they will need to turn around their fortunes from last week against another final’s contender Nepean FC. In that one, everything went too plan apart from the end product and only game unscrewed at the other end by the efforts of Clement Waoci. If they don’t win though, it will be a nervous afternoon waiting on results from other grounds.
In their way is South Coast Flame, the outsider in the finals race. The Flame suffered a painful defeat at the hands of Fraser Park last weekend. Not only did they go down on the scoreboard, but they may have lost a couple of vital cogs in the process (Matt Mazevski to suspension and a couple potentially injured). This season has been an improvement on their last campaign, a win and a finals birth will simply be the cherry on top.
A lot is at stake for both these sides on Sunday afternoon, who will react to the pressure the best?
Western Condors v Fraser Park; Sunday 18th August, 3pm @ Chopin Park
The form team in the competition face another tough test on the brink of the finals.
That form team? The Western Condors and they are soaring at the right time of the competition. In one of their best results in recent times, last week they spoiled the premiership party up on the Central Coast. In that game, there were many positives as they came from a losing position with six minutes to go. Of special note though was the impact of Gustavo Maya Valiente who got himself a goal and an assist.
It’s as close to a dead rubber as you can get without being a dead rubber for Fraser Park. If they win this one by a 17-goal margin, they will be crowned premiers. Yeah, I agree, not very likely is it. So, the best they can do is ensure they enter the finals series with a win and there’s a few sweeteners on the side to ensure they do so. Striker Matthew Nezval sits just one goal adrift on the golden boot standings any you better believe his teammates want him to come away with the individual honour.
The last meeting between these two sticks out as one of the games of the year. In that one 9 goals were scored, and you can definitely see that happening again.
Prediction: Western Condors.
Nepean FC v Prospect United; Sunday 18th August, 3pm @ Cook Park No.1 (St Mary’s)
Loss, Win, Draw, Win… Nepean FC will be hoping to break the pattern in their Round 22 clash against little brother Prospect United this weekend. It’s a season in which they’ve only achieved back to back wins on the one occasion. Enough about the negatives though, lets look at the positives and their win last weekend. In that one, they secured a vital win over third placed Hurstville FC on the road. They will need to be better as a team in the final third though if they are to extend their season.
Well quite the prospect for Prospect United (sorry been holding onto that one for two seasons). Just when it seems like there’s nothing to play for Prospect United, they now have the chance to strike a blow to the heart of Nepean FC and their finals ambitions. They come into their last fixture of the 2019 season in winning form having beat Hurstville City Minotaurs last weekend. Now can they rock the competition with another positive result.
A straightforward victory, there’s no such thing when it comes to these teams. Just another ground where nerves will be aplenty come Sunday afternoon.
Prediction: Nepean FC
Balmain Tigers v FC Gazy Auburn; Sunday 18th August; 3pm @ Fraser Park
A last round fixture so why not play it in a new environment. Fraser Park host FC Gazy Auburn at Fraser Park as both teams look to end the season too high.
It will be a lot less painful this season for Balmain Tigers to look back at the season. Before round one of the competitions, the club set a goal to be there or thereabouts when it comes to finals football. And I think it’s safe to say they’ve done that. In their last showing, they pulled out a respectable draw against Nepean FC out at Cook Park. Now coming into this one after the bye refreshed, they can lay a platform for the future with a victory here.
Well it was encouraging, football can be cruel and after a positive first half of the season, FC Gazy Auburn haven’t been able to back it up. They come into this one on a five-game losing streak and a lot of goals conceded. Last time out, they went down 7-0 too UNSW FC last Sunday night. Yeah this isn’t fun to write about, so let’s turn this into motivational post, one game left, a fresh start, prove to us what you’ve got FC Gazy Auburn.
Prediction: Balmain Tigers
Hurstville City Minotaurs v UNSW FC; Sunday 18th August, 3pm @ Ilinden Sports Centre
The dreaded basement, by the end of this clash (spoon bowl), one of these teams will be condemned to the bottom of the table, so who will it be?
As with a few other sides across the competition, Hurstville City Minotaurs have suffered a bit of a slide in 2019. The Minotaurs have only acquired a solidarity draw and victory in the second half of the season, most recently going down to Prospect United by three goals to one. A thin roster has meant players having to back up across two grades and the General wanted to credit goal scorer Riad Agnache for his performance.
UNSW FC on the other hand have had a much more encouraging second half of the season. For them it’s just disappointing that things didn’t click into gear a bit earlier in the season. Last week, they simply tore apart a disappointing FC Gazy Auburn outfit at the same venue. There is a bonus to play for though as influential striker Nima Beik currently leads the Golden Boot standings with 17 goals. A bright spark in a disappointing season.
Prediction: UNSW FC.
By Justin Smith (@smiththejustin)