The Easter Long Weekend has rolled in as has Round 6 of the League One Men’s competition in what promises to be one of the best yet.
With plenty of action to wet the appetite, let’s look ahead to a long weekend of fixtures.
Our Pick: Bonnyrigg White Eagles v St George FC; Saturday 16 March, 7pm, Bonnyrigg Sports Club
Bonnyrigg White Eagles return home to host St George FC in our pick of the weekend’s fixtures, so grab a Ćevapi and join us for what’s set to be an intriguing fixture.
What do we make of Bonnyrigg White Eagles at the moment? After two victories leading into their last outing against NWS Spirit FC, they looked set to make good on their pre-season hype. Yet last weekend they came off second best against the Spirit. Radovan Pavicevic found the net in the second half, a goal which they would consider just reward after growing into the first half.
Overall though, they will be keen to return to the scene of their three goal victory over Hakoah FC a week ago. A game which saw Marie Gauthier and Aaron Peterson on the scoresheet. With a full week of training in preparation of this one, expect a strong showing from the hosts here.
They face an ever-improving St George FC outfit. Yes, Mark Milligan’s men have looked good in recent weeks despite the fact they’ve only got a point to show for it. Backing up from an impressive showing taking it to Northern Tigers away from home. They proved that was no fluke by nearly beating their close neighbors. Harry Jones scored an impressive curling finish to put them in front before an unfortunate own goal meant they had to settle for a point.
After two good performances against two of the competition’s big names, confidence will be building in this young side. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if they were to get a result in this one.
Hakoah FC v NWS Spirit FC; Thursday 14 March, 8pm, Hensley Athletic Field
Two promotion hopefuls meet at Hensley Athletic as Hakoah FC host NWS Spirit FC, Saturday night.
After a positive start to the season, Luka Hrzina’s Hakoah team hit a bit of a hurdle last weekend. In a tough schedule of games, they faced St George City, Bonnyrigg, and Central Coast Mariners in the space of a week. In the latter of those games, they fell in a close tussle with the Mariners with a stunning Lachlan Bayliss goal proving the decisive difference.
With a week between games, expect a fresher looking side to turn up in this one and Hrzina’s team will hold positive memories from their corresponding fixture last season, prevailing by two goals that day.
Their opposition NWS Spirit FC are on the opposite trajectory. Having lost their first two games, David Perkovic’s team put in their best performance of the season against Bonnyrigg last weekend. And perhaps more refreshing for the Spirit was the combination up front between Geoffrey Lino and Michael Konestabo. Lino and Konestabo playing a part in all three goals, the latter with a brace.
This while possessing one of the league’s best defensives, having only conceded two goals in their past four fixtures. Suddenly, Spirits are high at Christie Park, another win here and they’ll be right back in the promotion conversation.
Northern Tigers FC v SD Raiders FC; Friday 15 March, 7pm, North Turramurra Recreation Area No.1
Northern Tigers welcome SD Raiders to North Turramurra in our one and only Friday fixture for the season.
It’s looks a tough ask for the SD Raiders who come into the match without a win since their round two victory over St George FC. Last weekend, they struggled against a well-disciplined pressing side in Mounties Wanderers. Declan Cotter found the net for a consolation late in the contest while we also saw the return of Jordan Figon to the side.
Nevertheless, this side always has the potential to find the back of the net, something they will have to do multiple times if they are to get the better of their opposition.
In complete contrast to their opponents, Northern Tigers will be itching to get back on the park after a successful away trip to Western Sydney last weekend. The only side boasting an unbeaten record in the competition, Ally Brown and Oliver Scott put themselves on the scoresheet in an all-round impressive performance against their closest competitor of the early stages.
In their previous two meetings with the Raiders, the Tigers have scored a combined ten goals without conceding both at this venue. You’d be hard pressed to find someone willing to tip against them here.
Mounties Wanderers FC v Hills United FC; Saturday 16 March, 7pm, Cook Park (Mt Pritchard)
Mounties Wanderers will be looking to beat Hills United for the first time since 2014 when the two sides meet at Cook Park, Saturday afternoon.
The Wanderers will come into this one confident after they tasted another victory last weekend. Their second win of the season saw them overtake last years points tally and we are only five games in. Crucial to their success is a well-organized pressing structure which saw them win the ball in advanced areas against a SD Raiders side usually comfortable in possession. Brad Bartels continued his goal scoring ways adding his 5th for the season before Sam Perre made sure of things a few minutes later.
Returning to Cook Park for the first time in a long time, they’ll want to make it a difficult place to come too for visiting sides.
We’ve touched on what a late goal can do for a side struggling previously. And Hills United will be hoping that’s the case here after a last gasp equalizer against Blacktown Spartans last weekend. In a game where they could mount a case for taking the three points, Adolph Koudakpo gave them the lead and u20’s graduate Jacob Lattuga found the net for the equalizer in a back-and-forth fixture.
Spurred on by a late goal and a good historical record against Mounties Wanderers, Can Hills United secure their first victory of the season?
St George City v Blacktown Spartans FC; Saturday 16 March, 7pm, Penshurst Park
St George City begin a four-week home stand when they host Blacktown Spartans, Saturday evening.
Both these sides come in after round five draws, St George City against their local neighbors St George FC. In that one, City saw the return of Nathan Roberts after missing the first four weeks of the season. With Roberts co-conspirator Jay Jay Morfitis also playing an extended role of the bench. Add to that the return of Tarik Ercan is the near future and this City side is looking more like the one we got used to in 2021.
But don’t discount the likes of Jakub Prajza and Joshua Keremelevski who both combined to set up their equalizer. It’s rare that you get an extended period free from travel in football, and Mirko Jurilj’s side will be looking to make the most of it here.
A case of another week, another similar story for Blacktown Spartans although this time they fell victim to a late equalizer. Sure, Andy Montgomery’s men weren’t at their best against Hills United, but they would’ve been disappointed to concede a late goal after Mason Ireland and Hamish Lamberton added to their goal tally earlier in the first half.
Having not tasted victory since round two, the Spartans will be keen to not lose pace with the teams above them in this one. With a good head-to-head record against their hosts, can the Spartans upset their hosts in this one?
Central Coast Mariners FC v Western Sydney Wanderers FC; Sunday 17 March, 3pm, Pluim Park
Two sides in the top three face off to round out the weekend this Easter Sunday as Central Coast Mariners host Western Sydney Wanderers.
What a difference a week makes for Central Coast Mariners when it comes to table position. After a gritty point against NWS Spirit the week prior, Andrew Christiansen was able to call upon a bit more firepower in their travels to Hensley. With the likes of Cameron Windust, Bradley Tapp and Dor Jok returning to the academy squad.
But it took the brilliance of Lachlan Bayliss with two late goals out of the top drawer to break the game open. After gaining four points from a possible six, the Mariners will be confident of prevailing at their home this Sunday.
Win, loss, win, loss, win? Western Sydney will be hoping to keep the pattern going when they match up with a fellow A-league academy here. Last weekend, they fell to a narrow defeat against league leaders Northern Tigers.
Having got into the final third on multiple occasions, they will be disappointed with their lack of effectiveness without Jordi Swibel in the team who missed his first game of the season, only having a Jakov Malbasa goal to show for it. It will be a tough task for Tom Vidovic’s men though, with neither of these two sides scoring against the other away from home in 2021.
By FNSW League One Men’s reporter Justin Smith