Round Nine of League Two Men’s once again gives us some intriguing matchups, that’ll be sure to shake up the ladder.
Our Match of the Round takes us to Lynwood Park, as Macarthur look to get back in the winner’s circle against a rejuvenated Inner West Hawks side.
Elsewhere, Bankstown United make the trip up the coast to face Central Coast United, Rydalmere Lions look to tame the in-form Canterbury Bankstown, with Dulwich Hill and Dunbar Rovers doing battle at Arlington Oval.
Bankstown City return home to face Sydney University, with Gladesville Ryde Magic locking horns with Inter Lions to round out the weekend.
Saturday 7th May 2022
Match of the Round: Macarthur Rams FC vs Inner West Hawks FC, 7pm @ Lynwood Park
Macarthur returns to Lynwood Park to host a resurgent Inner West Hawks side in the Match of the Round.
The Rams are on the heels of two tough defeats, both by one goal and consequently dragging them back to down into the stacked midfield of the league table.
Macarthur’s missed chances in front of goals cost them massively last week, being unable to convert on some periods of dominance.
Heading into this week, the focus will be on finishing their chances, whilst remaining wary of a rejuvenated Hawks attack.
The Hawks are flying high on the back of a maiden win for this season and will look to make it two in a row come Saturday night.
After a disappointing start to the season and a few agonisingly close encounters, Inner West finally got the monkey of their back and will look to make a serious run at a top-eight finish.
Mark Younes’ crucial strike last week was what got the Hawks over the line last week and he’ll certainly be a player to watch in this match.
The Match of the Round is sure to live up to the title, with both teams eager to get another win in round nine.
Central Coast United FC vs Bankstown United FC, 5pm @ Pluim Park
Central Coast United return home with an eagerness to avenge their disappointing loss last week, when they face Bankstown United in the opening game of round nine.
The hosts were taken apart by a clinical Canterbury Bankstown side last week, in a performance that captain Daniel McFarlane described as ‘poor’.
On a positive note, it was an outstanding showing from Josh Swadling, who will be looking for a repeated performance against United on Saturday.
Defensively, United have struggled lately conceding 13 in their last five games and are currently tied for the most goals conceded with 20.
However, they are matched up against a side that has scored the least amount of goals in League Two in Bankstown United.
United are full of confidence after a massive win over Macarthur Rams in round eight and look set to get their season back on track.
With a win on Saturday, United can jump their opponents and be within one win of reaching the top eight for the first time this season.
In one of the toughest games to predict all weekend, both sides will likely throw caution to the wind in search of three big points.
Rydalmere Lions FC vs Canterbury Bankstown FC, 7pm @ Rydalmere Park
Rydalmere Park hosts a fascinating matchup, as the Lions entertain Canterbury Bankstown.
Rydalmere were left disappointed in round eight, with a late equaliser from the Magic salvaging a draw in the final minutes of play.
The Lions are in an unfamiliar position this season, without a win in two consecutive games and being held to draws in both outings.
Rydalmere remain neck and neck with Inter in the battle for first place and will be up against it when they face the Berries in round nine.
The Berries are riding high as one of the form teams in the competition, fresh off a convincing 5-2 win over Central Coast.
The visitors were dealt a massive blow and will head into the fixture without Nathan Manno, who will be on the sidelines for several weeks with a collar-bone injury.
Although his presence will be missed up top, the Berries will feel confident that Bonmyeong Koo will be able to provide them with the goals in this fixture.
The Berries will head into this match full of confidence in getting a result, however Rydalmere will be hungry to return to the winners circle.
Dulwich Hill FC vs Dunbar Rovers FC, 7pm @ Arlington Oval
Dulwich Hill will look to snap a below average run of form, when they host Dunbar Rovers.
The hosts enter this matchup after two last gasp goals resulted in them getting a draw.
With just one win in its last five games, Dulwich Hill are searching for a consistent return to the winners circle.
Dulwich Hill have proven they have one of the best attacks in the league, however going against a Dunbar side that is eager to turn the results and boasts the best defensive record in the league, will be no easy task.
After starting the season undefeated with ten points in the first four games, the Rovers have only managed one point in their last four.
The results are bound to turn around for Dunbar, who have proved their defensive quality despite the results not going their way.
Dunbar will be up against it however, with Dulwich Hill looking to maintain their spot in the top four and give themselves breathing room on Canterbury Bankstown, who have a game in hand.
Bankstown City FC vs Sydney University SFC, 7pm @ Jensen Park
Bankstown City round out the Saturday night fixtures when they host Sydney University.
The hosts are in good form in front of goals, with 12 in their last five, winning four out of five games.
City’s attack ranks them second best in the league, whilst they haven’t let themselves down at the back, with the tied-best defensive record.
Dimi Petratos will be looking to add to his goal tally for this year and score in his third straight match.
In their current form, City are a side that no one wants to be matched up against and will be sure to cause problems for Sydney Uni on Saturday.
The visitors in this match were left reeling, after a surprising 1-0 loss to the Hawks in round eight.
Uni would of felt like they were the better team on the night and were deserving of a point at the bare minimum.
Using last week’s result as motivation will be key, as they look to tame the red-hot City side.
City enter this matchup as the favourites, but cannot take Sydney Uni lightly as an upset may be on the cards.
Sunday 8th May 2022
Gladesville Ryde Magic vs Inter Lions FC, 7pm @ Christie Park
Our final game of round nine sends us back to Christie Park, as Gladesville Ryde host Inter Lions.
The Magic enter this game full of confidence, after fighting until the end with Rydalmere to salvage a point.
With four draws and without a win in their last five games, Gladesville have struggled to close out and games and more often than not are coming back from behind.
If they can get off to a strong start in this game anything is possible and a positive result would up for grabs.
Going up against an Inter Lions squad averaging three goals per game is not going to be easy, however the Magic have shown their defence capabilities and may be able to tame the Lions.
Inter Lions also head into this match on the back of a disappointing draw, conceding a stunning late goal against Dulwich Hill, forcing them to share the points.
Inter will definitely feel that the win got away from them in that fixture and they’ll be eager to go one better this week.
The league’s top goal-scorer, Ollie Green re-found his sensational form and could be a major source of concern for their opponents this week.
The Lions will enter this match as favourites, but the Magic can’t be ruled out in getting a surprising result on Sunday night.
By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti