As we approach halfway in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition (aka most dramatic league in NSW) there’s plenty to whet the appetite in Round ten.
SD Raiders host NWS Spirit in our match of the round. While another top four clash and Driveway derby await us elsewhere.
Match of the Round: SD Raiders FC v NWS Spirit FC; Saturday 8th May, 6:30pm @ Ernie Smith Reserve No.1
Fresh of their second victory of the season. SD Raiders host NWS Spirit FC in our round ten match of the round Saturday evening.
It’s been a while since we last caught up with SD Raiders in our match of the round. In fact, we have to look back to a round one victory over Hills United. And until last weekend, that stood as their sole victory of the season. But all that changed when they travelled to face Mounties Wanderers, claiming victory thanks to a Matias Toro Suazo brace.
NWS Spirit on the other hand have been rather good in the opening nine rounds of the season. If you take away a couple of hiccups in round four and six. They have passed every challenge put in front of them. Last weekend it was a come from behind victory over then second placed St George City. Musashi Kokubo, Geoffry Lino and Michael Konestabo finding the win in that victory.
On the pitch, SD Raiders have struggled to find the back of the net scoring just the nine goals this season. But let’s not forget, this team is coached by Nick Carle so that can change in an instant. Their top scorers Noah Chianese and Matias Toro Suazo both have three goals so look out for them as the main attacking threat.
In contrast, NWS Spirit are the league’s top scorers averaging three goals a game. Michael Konestabo has hit form in recent weeks, scoring six goals in his nine appearances. Whilst Mitch Davidson and Geoffry Lino have found the net five times. All while having a solid defense at the other end.
With nothing more to add. The only question left is, Can NWS Spirit do it on a late autumn evening at Fortress Ernie Smith?
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC v St George FC; Saturday 8th May, 6pm @ Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Five points adrift of the coveted top four. Bonnyrigg White Eagles face an improved St George FC in one of our two 6pm Saturday kick offs.
One win in their last seven league games. You would suggest we’re almost in must win territory for Bonnyrigg White Eagles. Last weekend, they were perhaps unlucky to come up against a stoic Northern Tigers who themselves had a lot to prove. Despite controlling possession in that one, they were denied on multiple occasions by Tiger’s keeper Elliot Carwardine. They will be hoping their luck in front of goals changes otherwise, it’s a big gap to peg back as we approach the halfway point of the season.
St George FC on the other hand come into the fixture after surprising the competition last weekend. Lining up against Central Coast Mariners at Pluim Park, the visitors raced out to a three goal first half lead courtesy of goals Bruno Pivato, Mark Younes and Emmanuel Gonzalez. All three picking up their first league goals of the season. They will have to overcome a three-game losing streak against the home side if they are to prevail in this one.
St George City v Central Coast Mariners FC; Saturday 8th May, 6pm @ Peakhurst Park
Two top four opponents who tasted defeat in Round nine face off in Sydney’s South as St George City welcome Central Coast Mariners.
In quite possibly the game of the season. St George City fell just short in their top two outing last weekend. And such is the strength of the competition, one more loss could see them looking into the top four halfway through the season. Let’s look at the positives though, in their previous two fixtures this season at home, they have not been beaten. And with a further eight games scheduled at home during the second half of the season, they could well be favorites for a top four position.
Ironically, Central Coast Mariners find themselves in a similar position to their hosts. In fact, they only face five more away trips. Last weekend, they were beaten in another epic which only the most dramatic league in NSW can provide eventually succumbing to St George FC after a comeback of their own. In which Maksim Kasalovic scored his first of the season. It’s the first time the Mariners have lost back-to-back games in two years. How will Nick Montgomery’s men respond?
Hills United FC v Northern Tigers FC; Saturday 8th May, 7pm @ Lily Homes Stadium
Hills United will be looking to overturn some home ground woes when they face Northern Tigers, Saturday night.
United put in their best performance of the season to date last weekend, claiming victory over Blacktown Spartans. Patient in possession, they made the most of two penalties from Duncan Stewart and Greg Giovenali respectively after Daine Merrin scored from a corner in the first half. Two successive victories on the road, Coach John Gibson will want his side to make a statement on their own turf, Saturday night. If so, top five is not out of the question.
Northern Tigers themselves have had some problems of their own in recent times. But they will be hoping that they were put in the rear-view mirror after a victory over Bonnyrigg White Eagles. Having focused on defensive solidarity in the week leading up. The Tigers roared to life on the counter finding the net through Oliver Scott, Kealey Adamson and Will Hodgson. To do so, they’ll have to overcome a poor head-to-head record having won just one of their last seven meetings against their hosts.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Blacktown Spartans FC; Sunday 9th May, 1pm @ Wanderers Football Park
Another Rooty Hill derby awaits us when Western Sydney Wanderers host driveway neighbors Blacktown Spartans in our Sunday lunchtime kick off.
It’s a new era for the Blacktown Spartans after they announced the appointment of Andrew Montgomery as first grade coach, Tuesday morning. His first challenge? Getting positive results on a consistent basis. Possessing a talented squad, the team from Sydney’s west have proved they have what it takes against teams above them on the ladder. Will that and a potential new coach bounce see them claim bragging rights in this one?
Their opponents Western Sydney Wanderers will be looking to make it three on the bounce before a clash with NWS Spirit next weekend. Last weekend, they weren’t at their best, yet they came away with a valuable three points with a victory over Hakoah FC. Scoring at least three goals in six of their last seven outings and with Ali Auglah on a goalscoring run. The Spartans defense will need to be on their game.
Hakoah FC v Mounties Wanderers FC; Sunday 9th May; 3pm @ Hensley Athletic Field
Finally, Hakoah FC will return to home comforts welcoming Mounties Wanderers, Sunday afternoon.
Hakoah FC will be hoping that last weekend is a minor blip in the season ahead. Against Western Sydney Wanderers, they started off in positive fashion opening the score through Luiz Lobo before seeing their lead slip away against a strong Western Sydney outfit. They did eventually find an equalizer through Marco Arambasic who scored his first of the season but went on to concede afterwards. These two have only met once in recent history, Hakoah FC prevailing in a 2018 cup match.
This isn’t the Mounties Wanderers you’re looking for *waves hand. Sorry I had to get a Star Wars reference somewhere. Anyway, the Mounties had a new look about them in round nine. With no less than five new starters and others on the bench. They went down to SD Raiders at Wanderers Football Park. But if it weren’t for some Mario Aleksik heroics in the Raiders net, they would’ve had their first point since round one. As the new arrivals start to settle in, we can expect this Mounties Wanderers outfit to improve as the season goes on.
By NPL2 Men’s reporter Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)