Two thirds of the season done, the twists and turns of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition keep on coming.
This weekend see’s two top six clashes take the headlines. Christie Park will be our venue for our match of the round, while a St George derby will also be heavily featured in our review.
Match of the Round: NWS Spirit FC v Hakoah FC; Saturday 12th June, 7pm @ Christie Park No.1
Mid-season hiccup or something more concerning? It’s safe to say NWS Spirit have struggled this past couple of weeks picking up just one victory in their past five league fixtures (over St George a few weeks ago). Since then, they lost a derby two weeks ago against Northern Tigers before having to settle for a point against Mounties Wanderers. In the latter, they faced a vastly different challenge to the weekend before coming up against what felt like a brick wall with Michael Konestabo and Geoffry Lino going closest for David Perkovic’s men.
In contrast, Hakoah FC couldn’t be in better form approaching this one. In third position on goal difference, Luka Hrzina’s men last tasted defeat back in round eleven (in the midst of a cup run). Last weekend, they put on a second half show to overcome Bonnyrigg White Eagles in our round fourteen match of the round. Having played 120 minutes in the lead up, it took a while to click but when it did, it was great to watch! Bruno Mendes scoring a memorable individual effort which was sandwiched between goals to Dominic Cox and Jordan Koton.
In the last meeting between these two sides. Hakoah FC ended NWS Spirit’s perfect start to the season with a 3-1 victory back in March.
Be sure to join Eric Subijano for the call from the Arctic circle on NPL.TV, Saturday night.
Feature Match: St George City v St George FC; Saturday 12th June, 6pm @ Poulton Park
Well, the camera won’t be at this one, but I will be! Some say that’s a small consolation and they may be right. But let’s get back to talking about the football as what a prospect this St George Derby is this weekend.
When things are going right, you just find ways to win. That is certainly the case for St George City who have now opened up a five point gap at the top of the table. Last weekend they prevailed over SD Raiders in a back and forth contest at Peakhurst Park. And it took a piece of Jason Romero magic to win the game in the second half. Handy when you can rely on that eh. Anyway, with several ex St George FC players in their side. You better believe they’ll be looking to do the double over their close neighbours.
Speaking of. St George FC are on quite the run themselves. Having won seven of their last nine games under the guidance of Jane Talcevski, the Saints are marching towards a finals spot. Last weekend they backed up a victory over Western Sydney Wanderers the week previous, they scored a season high five goals against Hills United. Bradley Bartels scored a double while Bruno Pivato, Emmanuel Gonzalez and Gabriel Lopez joined in on the goal scoring. A win here, would well and truly bring them into the promotion picture, somewhere they could have dreamed off after three rounds.
Last time these two sides met; City prevailed in our round four match of the round. Same again or is there another twist in this crazy season?
Blacktown Spartans FC v Northern Tigers FC; Saturday 12th June, 7pm @ Blacktown Football Park
Another two games in the Rooty Hill complex? Sign us up! Blacktown Spartans return home for the first time in a few weeks playing host Northern Tigers this weekend.
Despite the form sheet disagreeing with me, Blacktown Spartans have had an encouraging few weeks matching it with some of the better sides in the competition. Having come close against St George City a fortnight ago, the Spartans nearly took a point against Central Coast Mariners at Pluim Park. In which keeper Hugh Brown saved a penalty and a last minute equalizer was chalked off. They will be looking for their first home win since early April.
Northern Tigers are the opposition though, so it won’t be easy. Adam Hett’s men have impressively come away from fixtures against NWS Spirit and Western Sydney Wanderers with four points from a possible six having trailed in both. Last weekend a defensive lapse led to Ali Auglah scoring for their visitors. Before Shervin Adeli popped up to score his eight of the season, third in two games. They will approach this one as a winnable fixture, the corresponding of which they kicked off a three game winning run.
Hills United FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC; Saturday 12th June, 7pm @ Lily Homes Stadium
Hills United host Bonnyrigg White Eagles in a must-win contest for both of them at Lily Homes Stadium.
It was a similar story for both these sides last weekend, starting their respective fixtures well before being chased down by their respective oppositions.
Hills United for their part were involved in an eight goal thriller against St George FC where Duncan Stewart grabbed a brace, joined on the scoresheet by Alexander Vlismas late on. Winless since mid-April in where they prevailed over a Mounties Wanderers, they will view this game as one of only a few opportunities where they can claim victory this season.
While Bonnyrigg White Eagles almost sprung an upset on Hakoah FC. In which they dominated the first fourty-five minutes with Radovan Pavicevic scoring his third in two games. Before Hakoah FC woke up and shot down the Eagles chances early in the second half. The Eagles at their best can match it with any opposition in the competition. The challenge has been finding their best across the full ninety minutes.
Last time these two met, it finished a score draw at Bonnyrigg Sports Centre. Can Hills United overcome their home ground woes?
Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Mounties Wanderers FC; Saturday 12th June, 7pm @ Wanderers Football Park
You know the deal, writers love naming game. So, the name “What field do we play on derby” was born. In this edition, it is Western Sydney Wanderers who are considered the home side hosting a stringent Mounties Wanderers side Saturday night.
Winless in two games, Western Sydney Wanderers are in unfamiliar territory this season. As such, the chasing pack has somewhat caught up to them on the table with eight rounds to go. Last weekend they were involved in a tight tussle with Northern Tigers. Ali Auglah gave them an advantage before the break, but they were unable to hold on. Approaching a team who have frustrated one of their promotion rivals last weekend, will they be able to hold their patience in this one?
They face a Mounties Wanderers side who are being rewarded for a back to basics approach. With one loss in their last three games, Jerry Bilokapic’s men are starting to gain a hard to beat reputation. Against NWS Spirit FC, they were stoic in defense making things hard for their visitors, rewarded with a point. Having only conceded one goal in their past two fixtures against the Mariners and NWS Spirit, confidence is building, can they pull off an almighty upset here?
Synthetic or Natural Grass? The Wanderers derby promises to be an intriguing contest. Last time these two sides met Western Sydney Wanderers prevailed by the five goal margin.
Central Coast Mariners FC v SD Raiders FC; Sunday 13th June, 3pm @ Pluim Park No.1
Central Coast Mariners host their third of five consecutive home fixtures when they welcome SD Raiders on Sunday afternoon.
Two one-nil victories in a row, Central Coast Mariners are beginning to build some momentum heading into the crutch part of the season. Defeating Mounties Wanderers the week prior, the Mariners made things unnecessarily hard once again against Blacktown Spartans. Missing a first half penalty before the break, they eventually found the net through Matthew Cahill who scored his first goal of the season in his second appearance. Enjoying a home stand, Can Central Coast Mariners score a confidence building victory in this one?
They face a SD Raiders side desperate to get a certain writer to a game. After a narrow defeat against local rivals Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Nick Carle’s men made league leaders St George City work hard for their victory at Peakhurst Park, Saturday night. With Matias Toro Suazo under an injury cloud after last weekends fixture. They’ll be looking to overcome their troubles up at Pluim Park this weekend.
In the last meeting between the two, it was a high scoring draw at Ernie Smith Reserve back in round four.
By NPL2 Men’s reporter Justin Smith (Twitter: @smiththejustin)