Feel that? The weather is starting to warm up and with it, so is the action on the pitch in the National Premier Leagues 4 NSW Men’s competition as it’s finals time.
Firstly, UNSW FC return home to host their first game at David Phillips Field in three years welcoming Nepean. Whilst Premiers Fraser Park look to defend their championship when they welcome Hawkesbury City.
UNSW FC v Nepean FC; Saturday 3rd October, 3pm @ David Phillips Field
Six weeks is a long time in football, and Nepean FC will be looking to turn round a round five result when they travel to meet UNSW FC. It will be a clash between two sides who limped over the finish line, both winless in their last two fixtures.
New season, same story for UNSW FC. Up until two weeks ago, they were the team in the ascendency. With victories over Nepean FC and Hurstville FC standing out from the rest. Then, unfortunately, their grades slipped, and they lost their unbeaten record against Camden Tigers last weekend. Can they turn it around in this one? Time will tell.
Nepean FC on the other hand, come into the final’s series encouraged after a respectable performance against Fraser Park last weekend. However, a loss is a loss, and they come into this one having not beaten the teams above them in the table. Overall, though, victories against Hawkesbury City FC and Parramatta FC their highlights.
So, who do we look out for? It is a clash where it would be easy to focus on the goal scorers, with three of the top five goal scorers involved. Mitch Mclintock and Majid Eslami for Nepean FC, Maison Mcgeechan for UNSW FC. But any good coach will tell you there is more to their team then finishers.
Mcgeechan has been supported by Kevin Lopes (fancy a goal here?) and Des Ford in UNSW front three. In behind him, Raul Carrizo and Ian Hillier anchor the midfield. Whilst they will rely on Peter Prandalos and Conor Winn as defender and keeper alike.
Nepean FC on the other hand are harder to predict. In midfield, Matthew Crossley will be a danger combining with those in front of him, Rory Mcgeown will anchor. Whilst Mitchell and Brendan King will also be key if they are to succeed. But coach Joe D’Ermilio wanted to save special praise for defensive midfielder David Scott who “delivers his trade with minimum fuss but major effectiveness” and Thomas Hamilton in net.
Last meeting: Nepean FC 1-3 UNSW FC
Fraser Park FC v Hawkesbury City FC; Sunday 4th October, 5:30pm @ Fraser Park
Premiership hangover? Not since 2016 has a premiership team gone on to make it a double in the NSW Fourth Division. Will that be motivation enough for Fraser Park as they take on Hawkesbury City FC this weekend.
Consistent till the end, Fraser Park FC have overcome every challenge set before them in 2020. Coming into the season champions, this week’s hosts went on to win seven of their ten fixtures this year including four wins in a row in rounds 8-11. They come into this week after a victory over Nepean FC last weekend.
Win your home games and look for points on the road. Simple formula indeed, yet it is exactly what Hawkesbury City have done. Their season has had its highs, a win vs Nepean. And its lows, a hefty loss against Fraser Park. Can they turn that loss around, it is a challenge but you can be sure Dean Bertenshaw and his men will welcome it.
Where do we start with Fraser Park? They have quality across the board. Eleven players have scored this season, with Cam Philpot and Shu Torihara scoring four each. Consistency pays as well, and keeper Patrick Ferrera, defender Rodrigo Cataldi, Mateo Pandolfo and Nico Muscio have all become staples of Alex Araujo’s side.
Hawkesbury City like many sides this season opted for a mix of experience and youth. And coach Dean Bertenshaw paid tribute to both Callum Elliot and Luke Zahra who both played their first full season in first grade. Elsewhere he singled out James Thurtell and Craig Morley who have both had great seasons at the back.
Last meeting: Fraser Park FC 3-0 Hawkesbury City FC
Don’t forget to exercise social distancing if attending matches this weekend: Stay safe.
By Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)