We are now left with just under five rounds of the National Premier Leagues 4 NSW Men’s competition, with that being said every game holds a significant amount of importance for all the teams. We are set up for a campaign that will go to the last whistle of the last game with one of closest races for a finals spot in recent history.
Our Match of the Round finds us at Bensons Lane as Hawkesbury City look to build on their momentous win over Fraser Park last week when they host Western Rage.
Elsewhere, Nepean make the longing west to face Western NSW, Hurstville battle Parramatta, South Coast entertain Fraser Park, UNSW look to take down Newcastle and Prospect face the daunting challenge of heading to Camden to face the Tigers.
Saturday 26th June, 2021
Match of the Round
Hawkesbury City FC vs Western Rage, 5:30pm @ David Bertenshaw Field
Hawkesbury are on the heels of their most impressive win of the season, outplaying Fraser Park in a 2-0 victory. The Hawks are left somewhat depleted as a result with Daniel Schwarzer unlikely to feature in goals, although Brad (not Tim or Ben as I’ve previously referred to him as) Gibson finished last week’s fixture with the gloves on, his form on the field has been stellar in past weeks and could prove to be the star once again.
Western Rage haven’t counted themselves out of any fixture this season and will hope to capitalise with a result here. The Rage have struggled for goals this season – scoring only twelve in sixteen, anything but a win here would seal their fate of failing to reach the finals. Western Rage have battled adversary all year but will hope their recent run of improving performances can spur them on for a win on Saturday evening.
Previous Matchup: Hawkesbury City FC 3-1 Western Rage
Western NSW FC vs Nepean FC, 4pm @ Charles Stuart University
Both sides head into this match desperate for a win to get their seasons back on track. The hosts have fallen off since their agonisingly close draw with Camden in Round 14. After that performance it looked like they had turned a corner but fell back into their mistakes of past, mainly not putting their chances away in the first half and letting the game get away from them in the second. After conceding fifteen in their past two they’ll have to look for an answer defensively, however going against a Nepean side that they got a result from last time out they should feel confident of history repeating itself.
Nepean now sit three points out of the finals race and will feel a win here would be crucial on their path back to the top five. The visitors will have to put their rocky form firmly in the rear view mirror as they look to repeat on their finals run last season. Nepean are an ever-strong squad with a strong talent pool at their disposal, with their attacking flare they will have to head into this matchup as favourites and will hope to head home with all the points.
Previous Matchup: Western NSW FC 1-1 Nepean FC
Parramatta FC vs Hurstville FC, 5pm @ Melita Stadium
Parramatta head back to their beloved home at the Melita Stadium as they battle Hurstville. Parramatta left it late last week in their match with the Flame, getting a last minute winner to salvage a draw. It seems they’ve put their mid-season slip up behind them and will look for a return to the winners circle to put a certainty on their finals spot. The Eagles have had no issues in front of goals this season and will be expected to continue their fine form come Saturday
Hurstville head into this matchup on the heels of also salvaging a draw with a last minute winner in Round 16. They’ve recently welcomed back the side’s top scorer Anthony Krkovski – who netted the equaliser last week, he now sits at nine for the season and will undoubtedly cause some headaches for the Eagles defence. It’s been a disappointing couple of weeks for Hurstville, finding themselves in the top five for the majority of the season only to fall out of the top five in Round 15, for a side with bigger expectations for the season they’ll be eager for a win here to push back for their spot. It’s hard to not think about their six goal thrashing of Parramatta last time out and they can’t be ruled out of pulling out another inspiring win this time out.
Previous Matchup: Parramatta FC 0-6 Hurstville FC
South Coast Flame FC vs Fraser Park FC, 6:30pm @ Ian McLennan Park
It’s been one of those seasons for South Coast Flame, last week was yet another game where they felt they easily could of win but saw them forced to settle for the draw. It doesn’t get much easier for them as they welcome in Fraser Park, although Hawkesbury proved last week they are not invincible and could give the Flame an opportunity to get their fourth win of the season.
Fraser Park’s race to regain their spot in first has stalled lately, it’s been an uncharacteristic string of performances that has caused them to lose their spot at the top of NPL 4. With just five rounds remaining, it could prove to be pivotal game for Fraser Park in their lead up to the finals run. They’ll still enter this matchup as the favourites but can’t under estimate the South Coast side. The key as always for Fraser Park will be getting their lethal attack firing again, with the league’s leading goal scorer Cam Philpot leading the line they should cause the Flame defence plenty of issues on Saturday Night.
Previous Matchup: South Coast Flame FC 0-7 Fraser Park FC
UNSW FC vs Newcastle Jets FC, 7pm @ Hensley Athletic Field
UNSW enter this matchup as the form team of the competition, eight games unbeaten and with their best football seemingly ahead of them they rightfully should feel confident of a result against the table-toppers. Last time out they held the Jets scoreless and if not for the crossbar could of walked away from the Hunter will all three points. UNSW sit in fifth, two points behind Parramatta and Camden in fourth and third respectively, with a win here and results going their way elsewhere they will put the sides above them under serious pressure as they look to continue their strong form heading into finals.
Newcastle will be wary of the danger that UNSW present. The Jets withheld their A-League stars for another week and could be set to re-introduce their star-men for this weekend’s fixture. Newcastle are firing on all cylinders and look set to run away with first-place. However they’ll have to prepare for a tough and physical encounter with UNSW, who will make them earn any chance they get in-front of goal.
Previous Matchup: UNSW FC 0-0 Newcastle Jets FC
Camden Tigers FC vs Prospect United SC, 7pm @ Ron Dine Stadium
Prospect head to the fortress of Camden at the Ron Dine Stadium full of confidence after their victory over Nepean. Prospect now head into a tough run of matches with a mid-week matchup with the Jets looming four days after this encounter. Sitting just four points out of the race for fifth, Prospect will need another win here to stay in-touch with the tough battle for finals. Thomas Knez will look for a repeat of last week’s performance – scoring the lone goal in their victory.
Although they’ve drawn their past three, the Tigers still remain on an eight game unbeaten run which saw them climb the ladder all the way to their current position of third. With their finals spot looking all but secured, Camden will be wary of the sides below them within reaching distance of their spot. The Tigers were unlucky to not get the win in the reverse fixture and will hope to contain the Prospect outfit this time out and hold on for the crucial win.
Previous Matchup: Camden Tigers FC 2-2 Prospect United SC
By NPL 4 NSW Men’s Reporter, Dominic Criniti (@DominicCriniti)