Another public holiday festival of football awaits us in Round Seven of the Football NSW League One Men’s Competition.
With a headline fixture or two complimented by an enticing set of fixtures, who else is counting down the days to the weekend?
Our Pick: NWS Spirit FC v Northern Tigers FC; Saturday 23 April, 5pm, Christie Park
It’s derby day in Sydney’s North as NWS Spirit host neighbors Northern Tigers in the first of a double header between the two clubs.
Let’s start with the hosts. NWS Spirit come into this one on a four-game unbeaten run having faced the likes of Hakoah, Bonnyrigg, Central Coast Mariners, and SD Raiders. Last week against Hakoah, they took away a point from one of the tougher venues to play Perko-ball.
Geoffry he prefers Geoffry Lino scored from the penalty spot after Kota Odakura won the penalty. But the score draw gives us a chance to focus on some of the other key cogs in David Perkovic’s side. Them being Brian Jamba who plays a key role in creating things in transition and the ever-busy Louis Bozanic who plays a more attacking role, watch out for them if Spirit are to triumph this weekend.
It’s round seven and we’re running out of compliments for their opposition though. Yes, there’s a lot to like about Adam Hett’s Northern Tigers side. After showing off their defensive ability the week prior against Western Sydney Wanderers, the Tigers were devastating in attack against SD Raiders.
Scoring six while conceding nothing, there wasn’t a weak link in their performance. The David Silva of the Northern Beaches (Ally Brown) shone with a hattrick. While three defenders in Rhys Williams, Hiyori Kawaguchi and Jamie Lobb also found the net, enough to put a smile on the face of this former defender. Undefeated in six, they will be looking to silence the Christie Park crowd in this one.
Two sides who haven’t tasted defeat in a while, this one promises a lot and if you are going don’t forget to stick around for the women’s fixture afterwards.
Blacktown Spartans FC v Central Coast Mariners FC; Saturday 23 April, 7pm, Blacktown Football Park
After two games on the road, Blacktown Spartans return to Blacktown Football Park hoping to halt a winless run when they take on Central Coast Mariners.
So close yet so far. That’s the sentiment which Blacktown Spartans are portraying after six rounds of the competition. In every game they have played this season, they have been right in the contest at some point (yes even the 8-2, watch the first half).
Last weekend against St George City, the result could’ve been oh so different with a great keeping performance from Mackenzie Syron denying Hamish Lamberton, Alex Gollan and others from getting on the scoresheet. If they do that again here, it’s hard not to see them scoring a goal or even a few against a side who conceded three last weekend.
Caught your breath yet Mariners fans? It was an eggscellent weekend for all Mariners sides across the A league and academy set up. One which was capped off by one of the games of the season, Mariners clinching a deserved winner deep into added time.
In reality though, it should never have been that close as Andrew Christiansen’s side put in a season best performance against their fellow A-league academy. Let’s work from the last goal to the first shall we, Dor Jok scored the winner, Ezra Palombini contributed with their third as well as an assist for their winner, Lachlan Bayliss continued his scoring run and Nikola Skataric scored a goal of the week contender.
There was a lot to like about the Mariners last weekend. They’ll be looking to continue their good head-to-head record against the Spartans in round seven.
Hills United FC v Hakoah FC; Saturday 23 April, 7pm, Blacktown City Sports Centre
Hills United’s quest for their first victory sees Hakoah FC make the trip to Blacktown City Sports Centre, Saturday evening.
Time is running out for Hills United if they hold dreams of finals football/promotion this season. After earning their solitary point in round five, they had another night they’d want to forget last weekend against Mounties Wanderers at Cook Park.
As sometimes happens in football, a first half red card to Alexander Mansueto came just as they were starting to get a foot in the match. From there things turned ugly, conceding five including four in the second half alone. A lot of work has been put in to this defense on the training ground and they’ll be hoping to keep this weekend’s opposition quiet here.
Speaking of, Hakoah find themselves not in the best form themselves. After a good start to the season, a heavy schedule and light squad has caught up with them. Last week they had to put in the hard yards to find an equalizer against one of the better defenses in the league in NWS Spirit.
Although it did officially goal down as an own goal, Mitchell Knight probably deserves the plaudits for it after an impressive showing from right back. After losing James Baldachino in the preseason, you get the sense this backline is starting to get used to itself which will give them confidence at the other end of the field.
Two sides in need of a win, this may not be the most appetizing affair, yet it’s just as important as the other fixtures this weekend.
Western Sydney Wanderers FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC; Saturday 23 April, 7pm, Wanderers Football Park
Two sides looking to return to winning ways meet when Western Sydney Wanderers welcome Bonnyrigg White Eagles to Wanderers Football Park.
The hosts Western Sydney Wanderers hold a good record at Wanderers Football Park with three victories and one defeat so far this season, in contrast to zero from two on the road. That is perhaps a little simplistic though as you’ll probably come to realize in a second.
Last weekend, it was heartbreak at the death against fellow A-league academy. After equalizing in the final minute of regulation, they conceded deep into extra time. But let’s focus on something positive in that they have found a route to goal which doesn’t include Jordi Swibel with Alex Badolato, Connor Rose and Miguel Di Pizio all finding the net in round six.
They face a Bonnyrigg White Eagles side who are yet to find consistency in 2022. With two wins, two draws and two defeats, Bonnyrigg are hardly out of any conversation regarding promotion, but they’ll want to string some results together sooner rather than later.
Last weekend, they played out a score draw with Mark Milligan’s St George FC. After falling behind in the second half, Aaron Peterson equalized when Radovan Pavicevic found him inside the area after a high press. It’s a high-pressure fixture against another team around them in the table, win and suddenly the sky is the limit for the White Eagles, lose and they could be on the backfoot in their promotion charge.
Anyone else getting finals vibes in this one? Let’s hope it lives up to the hype when two sides on the edge of the top four meet, Saturday night.
St George FC v Mounties Wanderers FC; Saturday 23 April, 7pm, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre
A few familiar faces return to their old home when Mounties Wanderers face St George FC at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre.
Coming into the season, no one would’ve picked Mounties to be in the top four after six rounds. Yet here they are with three victories to their name. Crucial to that has been the scoring form of Brad Bartels who now has seven goals in six games, but I feel we’ve mentioned him too much already.
So, lets focus on Sam Perre this week. Perre has made a notable difference to Jerry Bilokapic’s attack in recent weeks. Grabbing two goals in as many starts while linking up with Bruno Pivato and Bartels seamlessly. With confidence high, it wouldn’t surprise to us to see Mounties be only the second side to win three in a row this season.
Standing in their way are hosts St George FC. Perhaps another surprise packet in recent weeks, Milligan’s side have taken a point off both St George City and Bonnyrigg White Eagles (no easy feat), substitute Evangelo Souris the goal scorer in the latter.
In both those fixtures, they have taken a lead only to be pegged back a few minutes later. A learning curve for sure, but you suspect it will only be a matter of time before they hold onto a lead.
In the last meeting between the two sides, Brad Bartels captained a St George FC side including Bruno Pivato to a two-goal victory over Mounties. Those two will be looking to turn that around this time.
St George City v SD Raiders FC; Monday 25 April, 7pm, Penshurst Park
Anzac Day football rounds out the weekend when St George City and SD Raiders take to Penshurst Park, Monday night.
Just thankful it’s not North Turramurra. Alarm bells aren’t ringing just yet for SD Raiders, but they can’t be too far away as Goran Ljuboja’s continues to slide after a positive start to the season. Last weekend, they faced a rampant Northern Tigers.
And it was a case of getting to half time without conceding. If they did that, you’d suspect the result could have been different. Instead, we’re reflecting on a hefty defeat where they conceded six. Now, coming up against a St George City side who will have played three games in a week, they’ll be hoping for a turn around of form for this one.
After a hefty suspension carrying over from last season, Tarik Ercan is back to lead St George City on the park. And you get the feeling it’s come at the right time for Mirko Jurilj’s men who although find themselves in third position, have a lot left in them.
Just wait, I’ll explain why I say that. Unlike last season where their victories went to their plan, this season they’re finding themselves in more of a contest evidenced by their victory over Blacktown Spartans. Mark Moric the man stand out in that one with a goal and an assist off the bench while Damian German also found himself a goal.
There’s a lot of “what ifs about this fixture” with St George City playing a cup game Thursday night, so don’t ask us for a prediction.
By League One Men’s reporter Justin Smith