The countdown for finals football is inching closer and closer as we give a rundown of all the fixtures coming your way ahead of round 24 of the National Premier Leagues 3 NSW competition.
Hawkesbury City FC entertain Inter Lions FC at David Bertenshaw Field on Saturday night with it all set to kick off at 5:30pm.
The Hawks arrive into this fixture after suffering a soul crushing equaliser against Gladesville last time out.
They are undefeated in their last two games and sit only one point behind 9th placed Dunbar Rovers.
Inter’s wretched league form has seen them register just four points from their last five matches. They are now in risk of losing their top in the top six with both Dulwich Hill and Camden Tigers breathing down their neck.
However, Inter Lions will be hopeful that they can collect the three points given they were 2-1 winners against a 10-man Hawkesbury the last time they met at FNSW headquarters in round 11.
Both Parramatta FC and Granville Rage will be playing for pride when they meet at Melita Stadium at 6:30pm on Saturday night.
The Eagles played one of their best matches against Bankstown City last weekend and were unlucky not to escape with at least a point.
Like Saturday opponents, Granville’s season also has not gone as planned, they have collected just three wins all season however one of those victories did arrive three weeks ago against Bankstown United.
The corresponding fixture at Garside Park saw Parramatta record a 4-1 victory, their biggest win of the season. If they complete the double over Rage, it will see them increase the gap between themselves and their opponents to seven points.
All eyes will be on Stanmore Hawks FC and Bankstown City FC when they go head to head at Arlington Oval on Saturday night at 7pm.
With just three rounds of the regular season remaining, this top of the table tie could determine who is crowned this season’s premiers.
A win for Stanmore will see push them five points clear of Bankstown, whilst all three points for the visitors means that we will have new league leaders for the first time in two months.
The Lions dished out the Hawks’ first defeat of the campaign the last time they met, with a 2-1 triumph at Jensen Park. They will be hoping that history repeats itself this weekend as they look to reclaim top spot.
Bankstown United FC will play out of Jensen Park for the first time in three weeks when they host Dulwich Hill FC at 7pm on Saturday night.
United collected three points from their last three matches – all of which were on the road. Those points were picked up in one hit last weekend, when they overcame Dunbar 2-0 at Hensley Athletic Field.
They will face a difficult opposition in Dully whose dreams of finals football are slowly becoming a reality after they collected all the points on offer from their last three matches.
United ended up on top the last time these two sides met, Mitch Cross with the brace as they recorded a 2-0 win at Arlington.
Western NSW Mariners will be hoping to add to their points tally again this Saturday when they visit Ron Dine Stadium to take on Camden Tigers FC at 7pm.
Camden are five matches into what will be a run of seven fixtures at home – amassing an impressive 12 points throughout that period.
A hat trick for target man Mitchell Mclintock last time out will bring plenty of hope as they prepare to face the Mariners who have conceded 90 goals so far this season.
The men from the west did take a share of the points last round against Uni and will be looking forward to face Camden considering the Tigers only beat them by the odd goal back in May.
Sydney University SFC welcome SD Raiders FC to Sydney University Football Ground on Saturday night with proceedings set to get underway from 7pm.
Last week’s stalemate away to the Mariners meant that Sydney Uni finally broke free of their win/loss sequence which dated back to early July.
They may not be able to forge their way into the finals but the ‘students’ still have the opportunity to earn a top ten finish if they finish off the campaign well.
Raiders’ hopes of a top two finish were dealt a severe blow when they were beaten by the Hawks last Saturday – the defeat putting an end to their three-game winning streak.
The corresponding fixture at Ernie Smith Reserve saw Raiders claim a 4-1 victory against Uni’s 10 men with Anthony Proia notably notching a hat-trick.
Gladesville Ryde Magic wrap up the weekend’s set of fixtures when they face off against Dunbar Rovers FC at Christie Park at 4pm on Sunday afternoon.
Magic’s Zoran Kolundzic last minute equaliser saved his side from the jaws of defeat away to Hawkesbury last weekend and means that they enter this match on a three-match unbeaten run.
The last time the hosts played out of Christie Park, a fortnight ago, they upset Stanmore by dishing out only the second loss all season to the league leaders.
Back to back defeats against fellow finals challengers Dully and United have effectively ruined any chances of Dunbar creeping into the top six.
The eastern suburbs outfit were held goalless in both defeats and conceded a worrying six goals throughout the two encounters.
The last time these two teams met at Hensley Athletic Field, it ended all square with 1-1 the full time score back in round 11.
-By NPL 3 NSW Men’s Chief Writer Samuel Greco Schwartz (Twitter handle: @SamuelGS97)