After five rounds of the National Premier leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition, just five points separate our top seven teams.
So, as always is the case in the competition, there are plenty of fixtures to get excited about in round six this weekend.
Wanderers Football Park takes center stage with a double header Sunday.
While two high quality matches catch the eye elsewhere, bonus points if you can pick them.
Match of the Round: Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC; Sunday 11th April, 1pm @ Wanderers Football Park
Call it a coincidence if you like. But Western Sydney Wanderers have not looked back since our last match of the round meeting. Three wins in a row, can they make it four against a tough opponent this weekend?
After a loss and a draw in their past couple of fixtures. Their opponents Bonnyrigg White Eagles will be looking to turn their fortunes around in this week’s match of the round.
Last weekend, they came away from their game down the driveway against Blacktown Spartans with their first defeat of the season. Wednesday night returning home to draw with Hakoah FC, Robert Eremugo picking up the goal. With a similar squad to last season, Mun-soo Gil will anchor the midfield, while Aidan Taouil, Asmir Kadric and captain Ray Miller will also feature.
As mentioned in our introduction above, Western Sydney Wanderers have shot up the table. Crucial to this run which includes victories over Northern Tigers, Mounties Wanderers and Hills United has been the performances of Ali Auglah. Auglah who earned a position on the bench for a midweek A-league clash has picked up four goals this season. Alongside Allesandro Lopane in their attack, it is hard to not see goals in this one.
In their two previous meetings back in 2019, 10 goals were scored between the two teams. Bonnyrigg prevailing in their last meeting in a six-goal affair.
Be sure to join Pete Prior for the call on NPL.TV this Sunday afternoon.
NWS Spirit FC v Blacktown Spartans FC; Saturday 10th April, 7pm @ Christie Park No.1
Back on the winners list, NWS Spirit will be looking to maintain their perfect record at Christie Park. In their three victories at the venue this season, they have scored thirteen whilst not conceding at the other end. Last weekend they put in a season best performance against Central Coast Mariners, prevailing by a three-goal margin whilst also keeping a clean sheet. Abuzar Awaz scored his first and second of the season after Geoffry Lino converted from the spot. They will be tough to beat in this one.
Nothing says breaking a winless streak more than a dressing room rendition of Hero by Enrique Iglesias. And the Blacktown Spartans team earnt it after a heroic performance against Bonnyrigg White Eagles. Now to get a repeat at the Silver Medal dinner, right? Anyway, back to the football, Emilio Manos scored first, before Mark Cindric took our breath away with a sweet strike in the second half. Oh, and they did play midweek, see the review below.
Hills United FC v Central Coast Mariners FC; Saturday 10th April, 7pm @ Lily Holmes Stadium
Just when it seemed like they were getting going. Things came to a screeching halt for John Gibson and his Hills United side last weekend in their game against Western Sydney Wanderers. United conceded three first half goals for the second time this season at Lily Holmes Stadium. Positives from the contest were few and far between, however one can be found in Duncan Stewart finding the net for the first time at his new club.
Best possible reaction. After going down to NWS Spirit last weekend, Central Coast Mariners bounced back in the best way possible, scoring five second half goals to overcome Blacktown Spartans midweek. In that one, they were back to their typical free scoring best while in the process sharing the goals with five different scorers (see below for the recap).
Last time these two met, it was at the same venue and finished 4-3 in favor of the visitors. So, it might just be worth trekking out to Lily’s this Saturday night.
Northern Tigers FC v SD Raiders FC; Saturday 10th April, 7pm @ North Turramurra Recreation Area No.1
SD Raiders take the road for the first time since round one as they travel to Sydney’s North for their clash against Northern Tigers.
In a way, you would suggest that the Raiders will welcome the trip away from Ernie Smith having managed to take the solitary point from their past four home games. Last time out it was defeat to Hakoah FC courtesy of two second half goals. Indeed, that has been their undoing in recent times, having conceded seven after the half time break this campaign.
So, if that is the case, which team would you not like to face next? Yep, Northern Tigers. The Tigers have made a habit of scoring the late goal or two this season. In fact, six of their seven goals have been scored during that same period. Last weekend it was Jamie Glover who found the net with his head to take victory over St George FC at Ilinden Sports Centre.
Hakoah FC v St George City; Sunday 11th April, 3pm @ Hensley Athletic Field
It is hard to think of a tougher two game stretch than Ernie Smith Reserve and Bonnyrigg Sports Club. Yet that’s exactly what Hakoah FC have faced in the past seven days. And even more impressively, they have come away with four points from a possible six. After a victory against SD Raiders last weekend, they gritted their teeth and took a point from Bonnyrigg, Dominic Cox scoring an impressive goal in the process. Now returning home, can they match it with an opposition just as tough.
When you are a team with the talent St George City have. It was just a matter of time before they started to pick up victories. Three wins in a row against St George FC, SD Raiders and Mounties Wanderers now have them sitting in the top four and they will not want to let that position slip in this one. Look out for Christopher Arditti, Jordan Morfitis, Juan Carlos Romero and top scorer Jason Romero who all found the net against Mounties last weekend.
Mounties Wanderers FC v St George FC; Sunday 11th April, 5pm @ Wanderers Football Park
Round six will also see our bottom two meet in our second of two games at Wanderers Football Park on Sunday. However, both Mounties Wanderers and St George FC showed signs of improvement last weekend and will be eyeing victory in this one.
Although going down to a three-goal defeat last weekend, Mounties Wanderers coach Jerry Bilokapic was pleased with a much-improved effort in their round five contest against St George City. Speaking afterwards, Bilokapic was quick to praise all his team but saved specific praise for Zac Douglas at the back and Nathan Manno at either end of the field.
One goal in five weeks does not make for happy reading for those associated with St George FC. However, there are signs that things are on the way up for the Southern Sydney club. Coach Jane Talcevski described last week as a good team performance across the board in their game against Northern Tigers. They will be hoping the goals start flowing in this one.
Match Review: Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC 1 (Eremugo 19’) v Hakoah FC 1 (Cox 40’)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Hakoah FC played out a competitive score draw at Bonnyrigg Sports Club, Tuesday evening.
In a game where both sides will look back upon it thinking they could have come away with the three points. Neither ended up doing so. Robert Eremugo opened the scoring for the hosts. Before Dominic Cox responded in kind before the half time break.
It was a game which ebbed and flowed throughout. The hosts came out the stronger early and got their reward. Eremugo finishing from inside the box on the right side after the ball was worked from the opposite flank.
However, the visitors responded to conceding well, and grew into the contest. Mounting some attacks of their own before Dominic Cox found the equalizer. Combining with a team mate in an advanced position before firing the ball into the net.
The second period saw both sides continue to test each other’s defenses, but as the half went on. Heavy legs took other in the visiting camp. Scrambling to hold on to the clean sheet late on. Asmir Kadric went closest for the home side hitting the bar.
Whilst Zachary Sapsford almost stole it for Hakoah at the other end, but a touch too many made the angle too short to test the Bonnyrigg keeper.
Both teams have an extra day to recover this week, playing Sunday afternoon against Western Sydney Wanderers and St George City, respectively.
Match Review: Blacktown Spartans FC 1 (Cindric 42’ v Central Coast Mariners FC 5 (Arok 54’, Smylie 59’, McCarthy 72’, Tsekenis 84’, Reec 90’)
Five-star performance. Central Coast Mariners bounced back from a weekend defeat to NWS Spirit in the best possible fashion against Blacktown Spartans, Wednesday night.
The Spartans took the lead late in the first half courtesy of a Mark Cindric goal. But could not match it with their visitors in the second period, conceding five goals to a rampant Mariners outfit. Gideon Arok, Jordan Smylie, Harry McCarthy, Damian Tsekenis and Jing Reec all finding the net for the visitors.
Fresh off their defeat on the weekend, the visitors started the better of the two sides. With Tsekenis, Jacob Vasiliou and Michael Katsoulis all threatening in the opening half hour.
But it was the Spartans to open the scoring, Mark Cindric getting on the end of a superb Nathan Separovic volleyed cross giving them a half time lead.
However, that lead was short lived, as the Mariners equalized nine minutes into the second period. Arok taking advantage of some open space from a corner, heading home.
And just like that, the visitors had found their scoring boots once again. Jordan Smylie giving them the lead. Showing their ruthless streak, they then went on to score three further goals, one before a serious injury stopped play through Harry McCarthy. And two after through Tsekenis and Reec who both showed their worth popping up with a good strikers finish late.
Central Coast Mariners travel to face Hills United, while Blacktown Spartans face a tricky trip to Christie Park.
By NPL2 Men’s reporter Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)