With the Premiers Plate and two finals berths still up for grabs, this weekend is sure to deliver on all fronts as we examine the fixtures ahead of the penultimate round of the 2019 National Premier Leagues 3 NSW competition.
Western NSW Mariners welcome Hawkesbury City to Proctor Park at 5:30pm on Saturday night.
Mariners suffered their heaviest defeat of the campaign last time out – going down 9-0 away to Camden Tigers.
That result means that they have conceded a staggering 99 goals this season and that will most likely clock over into three digits come Saturday.
Hawkesbury are undefeated in their last three matches and come into this fixture after a 4-4 thriller with Inter Lions last round.
It was the Hawks who ended up on top the last time these two sides when they claimed a 2-1 win at David Bertenshaw Field in round 12.
Dunbar Rovers FC make the trip to Valentine Sports Park No.2 to take on Inter Lions FC on Saturday night at 6:30pm.
Dunbar are on the road for the second week running and will arrive at FNSW headquarters with their held high following their latest fixture which saw them secure a 1-0 win away to Gladesville.
They still have a mathematical chance of making finals and a victory against an out of form Inter could cause for some late drama if they are able to sneak their way into the top six on the final matchday in just under a fortnight.
Only a few weeks ago many would have considered Inter to be a shoo-in for finals, however their form of late has left many wondering whether they might still be there come the end of the regular season.
John Theo’s men are without a win since their last home game back in round 19 and are teetering on the edge of the top six with Camden and Dully hot on their heels.
The reverse fixture saw Inter triumph 4-1 against a 10-man Dunbar outfit following Andrew Doddy’s sending off.
Dulwich Hill FC host Gladesville Ryde Magic at Arlington Oval on Saturday night, with proceedings set to get underway from 7pm.
Dully are still in reckoning for the finals, they sit three points outside of the top six and are on a great run of form recently – collecting 10 points from their last four encounters.
Magic have failed to kick on since their surprise win over league leaders Stanmore three weeks ago and were beaten by the odd goal against Dunbar on Sunday.
The corresponding fixture at Christie Park in late May ended in a 2-2 stalemate, a similar result this Saturday could potentially put an end to Dully’s finals hopes.
Fifth placed Bankstown United FC go head to head with Parramatta FC at 7pm on Saturday night at Jensen Park.
Parramatta return to Jensen Park for the second time in a fortnight, having fallen 5-4 to the Lions in a spirited performance the last time they were there.
Last Saturday saw the Eagles put points on the board for the first time since mid-July when they drew 2-2 with fellow strugglers Granville.
United have not been experiencing the best run of results lately, they have tasted victory just once in their last five league encounters.
With finals football just around the corner, they lead the charge for the final two spots which are still on offer.
However, any more slip ups from them could cost them their spot in the finals with four sides (excluding United) still in with a shout for finals.
The corresponding tie ended in favour of Bankstown as they claimed a 2-1 win back in round 12.
Marconi Stadium will be the venue for the clash between Granville Rage and Bankstown City FC, with kick off set for 7pm.
Although this will go down as a home game for Granville, they have not played at Marconi this season so we can rule out home ground advantage for this tie.
Rage were unfortunate not to come away with the three points against rivals Parramatta last round, they dominated for large periods of the game at Melita Stadium and arguably deserved more than a point for their efforts.
They will be coming up against a wounded Bankstown City side who fell to Stanmore in last week’s high-octane contest. That bruising 5-2 defeat was their first loss since the end of June and means that the Hawks will likely be crowned Premiers at the end of the season proper.
The Lions smashed Rage 7-0 the last time they met at Jensen Park and a repeat result is on the cards as they look to put last week’s demons behind them.
Camden Tigers FC will meet SD Raiders FC at Ron Dine Stadium on Saturday night at 7pm.
This weekend will mark Camden’s seventh consecutive fixture at Ron Dine. This run of home games has seen them register 15 points from a possible 18 and propel themselves from 10th to 7th on the league ladder.
Their 9-0 mauling of the Mariners last weekend was their biggest win of the season with Dean Mugridge striking the back of the net an incredible four times in that clash.
Last weekend saw the Raiders secure promotion to the NPL 2 for next season and they will no doubt have been celebrating throughout the week.
Sitting in 3rd spot on the table, they still have a chance to add more silverware to their trophy cabinet. Any slip up from rivals Bankstown over the final two fixtures could see them leapfrog the Lions and seal a top two finish.
The reverse fixture at Valentine Sports Park ended all square at 1-1.
A derby of sorts will take place at Sydney University Football Ground as Stanmore Hawks FC make the short trip to face inner west neighbours Sydney University SFC at 7pm on Saturday night.
Sydney Uni have picked up seven points from their last five fixtures, with their latest win arriving three weeks ago at home to United.
On a more positive note, they have tightened up their defence over the back end of the season, only conceding four times over the course of those matches.
Michael Loupis has been in fine form for the ‘students’, he has scored all three of his side’s goals over their last three encounters.
Stanmore escaped unscathed from their previous two crunch fixtures against the Lions and the Raiders and sit top of the table with a five-point lead as we close in on the end of the season proper.
Hawks’ biggest win of the season came against Uni back in round 12 when they completed an 8-0 rout at Arlington Oval. A repeat score line may seem unlikely this time around, but they will still be favourites to collect the three points.
-By NPL 3 NSW Men’s Chief Writer Samuel Greco Schwartz (Twitter handle: @SamuelGS97)