With the skies clearing up, Round Four of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition promises a full set of fixtures this weekend.
And after three weeks in Sydney’s west, we change things up with a trip to Sydney’s south for a St George Derby with plenty of feeling.
Whilst elsewhere, five other teams return to the pitch after last weeks weather event.
Match of the Round: St George FC v St George City; Saturday 27th March, 7pm @ Ilinden Sports Centre
Would it be an NPL2 NSW Men’s season if we didn’t have at least one St George derby as match of the round? Probably not. So, this week we travel to Ilinden Sports Centre for the first of two meetings in this young rivalry.
It has been a rocky start to the season for St George FC. Some challenging circumstances off field has meant they have gone into their first three clashes with an interim boss of some sort. Last weekend they fell to Hills United on a wild night at Lilys Football Centre. The front three of Liam Mcconaghy, Emmanuel “Manny” Gonzalez and Anthony Morabito will be looking to open their 2021 goalscoring accounts in this one. Whilst Bruno Pivato pulls the strings in behind.
Not to be out done off the field, St George City themselves have recently split from their association roots. As such, this will be their first game since their relaunch last Friday. They will be without captain Tarik Ercan for this one after picking up a red card a fortnight ago. Ones to watch in their side are Jason Romero who scored in their last fixture, as well as a couple of former St George FC players in Paolo Mitry and Alexander Kyriacou who have both featured in their first two matches this season.
Clashes between these two rivals have never been short of entertainment, with a total of 16 goals in their four previous meetings. Last time out, they played a six-goal thriller last August. With St George FC prevailing courtesy of braces to Bruno Pivato and Juan Carlos Heras Romero who could line up against his former club here.
Be sure to join Eric Subijano for the call on NPL.TV this Saturday night.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC v Hills United FC; Saturday 27th March, 6pm @ Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Does a week’s rest help or hinder a side? Bonnyrigg White Eagles will be one of six clubs facing that dilemma this weekend as they welcome Hills United to Bonnyrigg Sports Club.
It has been a good start to the season for Bonnyrigg. Picking up back-to-back wins in their opening two outings against SD Raiders and St George City. Whilst it is easy to focus on the front third of the pitch, this week’s hosts once again look a solid outfit from back to front. With Goran Subara, Mun-Soo Gil and experienced goalkeeper James Chronopoulos all contributing to the spine of this outfit.
They face a Hills United outfit who scored their first win of the season last weekend. In which, they kept a full compliment of players on the park and as such prevailed over a troubled St George FC outfit. Jordan Parfait once again found the net, this time a brace to add to a goal the week before. John Gibson’s side continues to gel, and they will relish the challenge of Bonnyrigg away this weekend.
SD Raiders FC v Central Coast Mariners FC; Saturday 27th March, 6:30 @ Ernie Smith Reserve No.1
SD Raiders FC and Central Coast Mariners meet in our only clash where neither team played last weekend.
The hosts, SD Raiders FC come in to the meeting having won one game and lost the other. A fortnight ago (as of kickoff), they went down to Bonnyrigg White Eagles and things do not get any easier this weekend. To get something from this one, they will rely on goalkeeper Mario Aleksik as well as the backline in front of him.
Central Coast Mariners on the other hand, come into the game having won both their previous fixtures in Impressive style. Last time out it was a 7-2 victory over Mounties Wanderers in their last away game. They have the two proven goal scorers in Damian Tsekenis and James Bayliss. However, they have been impressive all over the field. So, who would bet against them making it three from three this week?
In their only previous meeting, Central Coast Mariners came away from Ernie Smith with a 3-1 victory courtesy of goals to you guessed it, Damien Tsekenis and Matthew Cahill.
Northern Tigers FC v Blacktown Spartans FC; Saturday 27th March, 7pm @ North Turramurra Recreation Area No.1
Northern Tigers and Blacktown Spartans will be looking to turn things around in their fixture at North Turramurra this Saturday night.
It’s been a rocky start to the season for Northern Tigers. Injuries have not been kind to last years runners up and as such, they have opened the campaign with one victory and two losses. Last weekend against Western Sydney Wanderers, Adam Hett’s men put in a valiant fight, perhaps unlucky not to equalize the scores early in the second half. They will be without Jamie Glover this weekend after a second yellow last weekend.
On again, off again. Blacktown Spartans were one part of a bizarre set of events which led to their game against Central Coast Mariners being washed out. Having lost one and drawn the other game, perhaps this game serves as a good chance to bounce back. Although they lost in last years rebooted season in the same fixture, they were the only side to beat Northern Tigers at home in that calendar year (last March).
Mounties Wanderers FC v Western Sydney Wanderers FC; Saturday 27th March, 7pm @ Wanderers Football Park
Will the players turn left towards synthetic or right towards natural grass? Will Western Sydney Wanderers be forced to walk an extra ten metres to the far dressing room? Here in the NPL2 preview, we occasionally like to ask the tough questions. And there are just two of many as Mounties Wanderers host Western Sydney Wanderers, Saturday night.
Alright confession, I may have gone in a little harsh on Mounties Wanderers in last weeks preview. However, that does not excuse a six-goal loss last weekend at the hands of NWS Spirit FC. In that one, they once again paid for a poor start to the fixture conceding twice in the opening ten minutes. But coach Jerry Bilokapic and his squad can take positives from the fixture, having had another good second quarter of the match, perhaps unlucky to come away scoreless.
Western Sydney Wanderers on the other hand come into the clash after their first victory of the season. In front of A-league coach Carl Robinson, the A-league academy put in a much-improved performance. Kosta Grozos central to everything in the middle, Dean Pelekanos also finding the net. Whilst the likes of substitute Isaac Hovar will also be pushing for a starting spot.
Hakoah FC v NWS Spirit FC; Sunday 28th April, 3pm @ Hensley Athletic Field
In our sole Sunday fixture of the weekend, Hakoah FC welcome NWS Spirt FC to Hensley Athletic.
It is still early in the season, but four weeks into the season NWS Spirit FC have scored a league high twelve goals and conceded just the one. Last weekend, they dispatched of Mounties Wanderers rather comfortably on a wild night at Christie Park. Mitch Davidson picked up a hat trick, Anthony Vastag picked up a brace on a cold night which had the spectators bracing for different reasons. And we haven’t even touched on their bench options…
Hakoah FC on the other hand are searching for their first win of the season after last week’s game against Bonnyrigg was washed out. Before that, despite not picking up a win, signs were there that the Eastern Suburbs based side will be there competing for a finals position this season. In the last meeting between these two, Spirit picked up a two-nil victory at a similar round last season. Do Hakoah have enough about them to get revenge here?
By NPL2NSW Men’s Reporter Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)