And we are back! I think I speak for everyone reading this in saying that “Football, you’ve been missed”. And what better way to welcome it back than NPL 4 NSW Men’s round one fixtures.
So, with the slate wiped clean, will any team register a perfect ten? What upsets await us? Enough with the questions, let’s get on the pitch.
South Coast Flame v UNSW FC. 6pm @ Ian Mcclenan Park
The first clash of the weekend sees two familiar faces come together, in a repeat of the round one pre-lockdown fixture, South Coast Flame will be looking to avenge that defeat.
We are still yet to see what this side can do under head coach George Kulcsar can do. Home games are more crucial in a condensed season, and this one could tell us a lot about the Flames prospects in 2020.
UNSW FC on the other hand would have been cursing their luck when pre Covid-19 football stopped. The students led by coach Gabriel Knowles racked up two impressive results, leaving any 2019 demons behind them.
Nepean FC v Hawkesbury City FC. 7pm @ Cook Park No.1
It seems a long time ago when we ventured out to Cook Park for our last game pre-lockdown. So fittingly the venue hosts a fixture as football returns.
Nepean FC come into the clash early in the tenure of Joe D’Ermilio. In their solidary fixture earlier in the year, they lacked fluidity but since then, well a lot of time has passed with more training under the belt. 2020’s condensed season provides teams like this with a free hit, ignore them at your peril.
Hawkesbury City, however, almost stand as the opposite of Nepean. Under experienced coach David Bertenshaw, we left them as a team readjusting to life in the fourth tier. And there is not many bigger statements Hawkesbury could make than a win over Nepean.
Camden Tigers v Western NSW FC. 7pm @ Ron Dine Stadium
Camden Tigers host Western NSW for the second time in 2020 this Saturday night. Their first clash way back in March was an entertaining one with both sides trading blows before a Nathan Bertolissio equalizer saw them share the spoils.
If a ten game season benefits anyone, you would suggest Camden Tigers would be up there. With a young reconstructed squad, building blocks could well be put in place for a renewed assault in the 2021 competition.
Like it or not, Camden has a reputation as one of the tougher road trips in the league. And coming away from their last clash, Western NSW were more than satisfied to take away a point on the road. In that fixture Josh Brown and Matthew Beattie gave their team the lead, perhaps if they go out to another lead, they will not be so easy to catch.
Hurstville FC v Prospect United. 7pm @ Seymour Shaw Park
If history tells us anything, it tells us there is not a lot between Hurstville FC and Prospect United. In fact, last year they only managed to score a solidarity goal in the two fixtures between them.
Hurstville FC will come into the fixture in a confident mood. Yes, there has been a long break between fixtures, but they are the only NPL4 side to beat Newcastle Jets in 2020. In that fixture, Pedro Almeida and Jesse Gagro found the net and playing at home, it is hard to see them getting beat.
In saying that, Prospect United love to surprise people and consistently seem to be punching above their weight. With some smart off-season recruitment, things came together as they trounced Granville Rage before the break.
Parramatta FC v Granville Rage. 3pm @ Melita Stadium
A local derby to round of the action this opening weekend. Sign us up!
Before the break, Parramatta FC were showing signs that they would indeed be a tittle challenger in 2020. Now however, the coveted prize of promotion is temporarily off the table, motivations will be tested against local rivals Granville Rage.
The Rage enjoyed an encouraging start to 2020 with a win over Camden Tigers. However, backing up that result proved challenging with a loss to Prospect. So which version of the Rage will turn up for this clash?
Stay Safe Everyone
By Justin Smith (twitter: @smiththejustin)