Despite being round 9 of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition, the competition continues to throw up firsts.
This weekend sees first meet second at Christie Park. White Mounties Wanderers host SD Raiders and Western Sydney Wanderers welcome Hakoah FC in their first ever meetings.
Match of the Round: Blacktown Spartans FC v Hills United FC; Saturday 1 May, 7pm @ Blacktown Football Park No.1
Blacktown Spartans FC host Hills United FC in our round nine match of the round this weekend. But firstly, lets address the elephant in the room. I am aware there are probably better games this weekend. Hear me out though, this one will certainly be worth your time Saturday night!
Have I mentioned Blacktown Spartans are the most unpredictable side in the league? Yeah, well it’s worth repeating. Eight games into the season, the Spartans have won three games, drawn one and lost the remaining four. But in an encouraging sign, they did manage to beat a lower half side last weekend in St George FC. Two early goals put a tumultuous night the week before behind them, Andre Carle and Mark Cindric both finding the net.
They face a Hills United side who haven’t lost on the road yet this season. However, that’s about where the positives end for John Gibson’s side, finding themselves sitting in a disappointing ninth place with two wins, two draws and four losses. Last weekend they fell victim to a determined NWS Spirit FC side at home, making it one win in five at Lily Homes Stadium. In their last game away from home, they came away with 5-4 victory over Mounties Wanderers.
So, who will decide the match one way or the other? Despite recent events in the dugout. Blacktown Spartans have done well to field a consistent set of players. Seven players have appeared in every fixture. While Mark Cindric, Andre Carle, Mason Ireland, Emilio Manos and Christian Nascimben have found the net.
Remarkably, Hills United are even more consistent in fielding the same team. Nine players appearing in every fixture. Jordan Parfait, Duncan Stewart, Josh De Rossi, Adolph Koudakpo and Glen Kelshaw on the scoresheet for them.
NWS Spirit FC v St George City; Saturday 1 May, 7pm @ Christie Park No.1
A top of the table clash will light up Christie Park Saturday night as NWS Spirit FC host St George City FC.
Both teams come into the fixture in good form having won their past two fixtures. NWS Spirit getting the better of Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Hills United. While St George City FA have overcome Western Sydney Wanderers and Northern Tigers.
Last weekend, they both put four goals on their opponents, Spirit FC producing a dominant second half showing against Hills United which saw Geoffry Lino and Michael Konestabo find the net after Mitch Davidson opened the scoring earlier.
While St George City proved to much for a Northern Tigers outfit who are struggling for form (more on that a bit later). Jason Romero, Jordan Morfitis and Juan Carlos Romero all continuing their goalscoring runs.
So where is the game going to be won or lost? Normally this is where we would single out players, but on this occasion, you would suggest the game could well be decided in the first 30 minutes where St George City have thrived recently. If the hosts weather that early storm, they will fancy their chances to restore their Christie Park fortress.
Last Meeting: St George City 4-2 NWS Spirit FC (30/8/2020)
Northern Tigers FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC; Saturday 1 May, 7pm @ North Turramurra Recreation Area No.1
Unchartered territory. Northern Tigers will be looking to bounce back after two heavy defeats in as many weeks when they host Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Sunday night.
Two losses in five at home to start the season doesn’t sound too bad. But if you’re talking about Northern Tigers, well that’s as many losses at North Turramurra as the whole of 2019/20 combined. Last weekend, their struggles in front of goal continued for the second match in a row, hitting the post on multiple occasions against St George City. And they were made to pay, conceding four at the other end. It’s not panic stations yet, but they’ll want to pick up three points here or risk falling behind the top four.
In contrast to their hosts, things are looking up for the Bonnyrigg White Eagles. Having had their wings clipped the week previous against NWS Spirit. The team from Sydney’s south west managed an emphatic course correction claiming victory over Mounties Wanderers. With a first choice side now available for Wayne O’Sullivan to choose from. They will walk into this one confident of victory on the road.
Mounties Wanderers FC v SD Raiders FC; Saturday 1 May, 7pm @ Wanderers Football Park
Mounties Wanderers host SD Raiders in a meeting of the bottom two sides in the competition, Saturday night.
You always get another chance in football. That was how the SD Raiders reflected on yet another loss last weekend. In that one, the Raiders went down to a Western Sydney outfit who simply took their chances when the hosts didn’t. Noah Chianese stands out as the visitors main attacking threat having scored in his last couple of appearances. While Anthony Proia will be looking to break a goal drought.
They face a Mounties Wanderers team who have reason to come in confident after an improved set of performances in recent weeks. Yes, I know, a 4-0 loss doesn’t look good on paper but for 55 minutes there, they held their own against Bonnyrigg. And this result followed a cup victory over Gladesville Ryde Magic midweek. On the field, the club has made changes bringing in Peter Pelekanos and Paolo Bonnini from the Wanderers which should boost the squad while Adrian Vranic and several other players have since moved on since the mid-season transfer opened on Monday.
This is the first ever meeting between these two and with both sides not tasted victory since round one, this could well be an intriguing contest.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Hakoah FC; Sunday 2 May, 1pm @ Wanderers Football Park
One top five fixture not enough for you? Well, we once again have you covered as Western Sydney Wanderers host Hakoah FC in the Sunday lunch time fixture.
Yet again, both these sides are coming into this clash in hot form. Western Sydney Wanderers having won four of their last five fixtures. While Hakoah FC have not tasted defeat since round one, although they have drawn on three occasions.
Last weekend, Western Sydney Wanderers bounced back from a round seven defeat, getting the better of SD Raiders at Ernie Smith Reserve. Alex Badolato and Ali Auglah finding the net on that occasion in a competitive contest.
But it was Hakoah FC who raised a few eyebrows across the competition in defeating Central Coast Mariners at Hensley Athletic. The home side produced a memorable defensive performance and capitalized on their opportunities at the other end. Zac Sapsford opening the scores before Luiz Lobo made sure of it with a quarter hour remaining.
These two have never met in a competitive fixture before but Western Sydney Wanderers did prevail pre-season at the same venue. Similar result here or will Hakoah take their spot in the top four?
Central Coast Mariners FC v St George FC; Sunday 2 May, 3pm @ Pluim Park No.1
Central Coast Mariners welcome St George FC to Pluim Park, Sunday afternoon.
The Mariners will be hoping to return to the winner’s circle after a disappointing loss last weekend. Travelling to Hensley, the visitors conceded early and struggled to break down the home side defenses throughout the remainder of the contest. Minus their top scorer Damien Tsekenis, the Mariners will be looking to spread the goals out this weekend against a team they put six goals on last time out.
In will not be an easy fixture though. If you take away that last meeting, their opponents St George FC have a habit of making things difficult for the Mariners. Last time out, they came off second best against Blacktown Spartans at home. Two defensive mistakes saw them go down two goals before Connor Quilligan scored their best goal of the season just before the break. Look out for Emmanuel Gonzalez and Bruno Pivato who will be looking for their first goal of the season.
By NPL2 Men’s reporter Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)