With two months remaining in the League One Men’s competition, the heat is being turned up on field with another cracking round of action awaiting us in Round 14.
In our pick, third plays second out at Wanderers Football Park while Hakoah will be looking to continue their memorable week, even featuring in a bonus review.
That and so much more as we approach the final third of the regular season.
Our Pick: Western Sydney Wanderers FC v St George City; Saturday 11 June, 7pm, Wanderers Football Park
In our pick of the weeks action, Western Sydney Wanderers host City in another, yes, another top four showdown.
Let’s start with the hosts shall we. Quietly going about their business and in similar form to the other A-league academy side, Western Sydney Wanderers sit one position below their opponents this weekend. Six games unbeaten, they came out on top of their closer than expected fixture against Hills United last weekend.
And it was a case of two players returning to the score sheet after some time away with goals to both Alexander Badolato and Jordi Swibel proving the difference there. With a plenty of depth in their attacking ranks at the moment, you would suggest that’s where the main headache is for Tomi Vidovic in approaching this one. A good headache to have mind you, his side scoring 16 more goals than the 2nd most efficient side in the competition.
Featuring in their third consecutive game against top four opposition, St George City should be familiar to anybody reading these previews at this point. Facing all the other top four sides in the first few weeks of the second half of the season, City have taken four points from a possible six so far.
And who could forget last weekend’s game against Northern Tigers last Saturday night? Coming from behind twice at home, you could tell how big that win was for the club simply by the fact that even coach Mirko Jurilj got involved in the celebration. Matthew Keremelevski scored the winner in a contender for feel good moment of the season, after Paolo Mitry and Reuben Awaritefe both equalized earlier.
Last time these two met, it was another one to savor with St George City edging out their visitors 3-2 back in late March.
Hakoah FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC; Saturday 11 June, 7pm, Hensley Athletic Field
Hakoah FC host Bonnyrigg White Eagles in the first of a league-cup double in the space of three days.
After a lean couple of months, I think we can officially say that Hakoah FC are back to their best after two wins in their latest two fixtures. Backing up after a victory over Mounties Wanderers last weekend, the eastern suburbs based side scored a second straight victory against neighboring SD Raiders at Ernie Smith on Tuesday night.
And to their credit, they made things easy for someone typing the preview with three individual performances standing out in said games. Firstly, Luiz Lobo who was at his technical best against Mounties Wanderers before Jordan Koton and Yianni Spyrakis stole the limelight in their victory over SD Raiders, check below for a report on that one.
Just four points outside the top four/five, they’ll be keen to keep their momentum going in this one.
It’s the second game of a three game away trip for Bonnyrigg White Eagles who need to win to keep pace with their opposition in this one. After going into last week with a few wins under their belt, they found Central Coast Mariners just a bridge too far in round thirteen.
In that one, they matched it in an even first half before eventually succumbing to fortress Pluim. It makes that charge up the table that little bit harder going into the final two months of the season. That being said, if any team were to do it, it could well be this Bonnyrigg side who we know can match it with the best in this competition.
Last time these two met, Bonnyrigg came away with a three-goal victory so they will be looking for similar here.
Northern Tigers FC v Hills United FC; Saturday 11 June, 7pm, North Turramurra Recreation Area
Northern Tigers host Hills United in an intriguing round 14 match up at North Turramurra Recreation Area.
The performances are there but the points aren’t for Northern Tigers who will be looking to break a three-game losing streak in the league. In a match some have dubbed “the game of the season” so far, Adam Hett’s team took the lead twice before falling victim to a stunning injury time goal late.
It’s at this point you would be worried if the team weren’t performing on the park, but apart from the defense being a bit shaky after injuries to Elliot Carwardine and Rhys Williams, there’s still a lot to like about the team from Sydney’s Northern suburbs. Look out for Jack Fulton and Ally Brown who both got on the scoresheet last weekend.
Despite going down last weekend to Western Sydney Wanderers, you could argue that last weekend was one of the better showings from Hills United this season. Against a team sat firmly in the top four, they were perhaps unlucky to not to take a point away from the contest, creating as many chances as their visitors in the opening half.
Now it’s about building off that showing, something they have struggled to do in the first half of the season. Leading their charge this weekend will be Matias Toro Suazo who combining with Wade Giovenali gave them an attacking spark last weekend, something they desperately need having only scored thirteen goals in as many games.
Last time these two met, Northern Tigers came out on top in a 5-goal thriller at Blacktown City Sports Centre. Same again here?
Mounties Wanderers FC v Central Coast Mariners FC; Saturday 11 June, 7pm, Cook Park (Mt Pritchard)
A goal-shy Mounties Wanderers face a tough ask when they host Central Coast Mariners this weekend.
Two goals in their past five matches, the scoring has well and truly dried up for Mounties Wanderers. Granted in that time they have faced three of the top sides in the division, but recent losses to both Bonnyrigg White Eagles and Hakoah FC have been a blow for the once second placed side in the competition.
Last week, they took the lead through an Antonio Farkas goal in the early stages but couldn’t contain Luiz Lobo who undid them with two good goals at the other end. Without Matthew Self this weekend due to suspension, they’ll hope that their return to Cook Park will bring with it goals as they look to break their recent scoring drought.
That won’t be easy though as they welcome one of the league’s most stringent defenses to Cook Park this weekend. It’s weird to be talking about an A-league academy like that but here we are… Yes, the Central Coast Mariners are proving they are just as strong in defense as they are lethal in attack.
Coming into the game on a six-game unbeaten streak, the Mariners have conceded just two goals in that time. Last weekend accounting for an inform Bonnyrigg White Eagles side up at Pluim Park. Dor Jok claimed a double in that one in an impressive showing from the athletic front man. While the likes of Jakob Cresnar, Dean Larson and Sasha Kuzevski proved solid at the back.
As the weeks go by it’s getting harder not to see Andrew Christiansen’s side achieving promotion, but can they take victory from one of the harder venues to travel too in the competition?
Blacktown Spartans FC v St George FC; Saturday 11 June, 7pm, Blacktown Football Park
Blacktown Spartans conclude their three-game home stand when they host St George FC in round 14 action.
Still undefeated at home, Blacktown Spartans will be looking to make it count against their visitor’s this weekend. Last weekend Andy Montgomery’s side steadied the ship after a midweek cup loss against St George City.
Against NWS Spirit, the Spartans went toe to toe with their opposition with neither side landing a killer blow. It’s the latest in a series of results which shows why they are in the mid table of the competition, not quite managing the feat of back-to-back wins.
What was noticeable in the last couple of weeks, is how vital Alex Gollan is to Andy Montgomery’s side. Seven points in the past three games would definitely be the goal after this weekend, can they manage it here against a rejuvenated opposition? Time will tell.
Speaking of, if the goal before the season for St George was to play football which puts a smile on your face, well they’ve succeeded. Having not been far off a victory for what felt like a long time, the Saints have found a way to get the ball in the back of the net in recent weeks and definitely look like a banana skin for opposition sides in the second half of the season.
Last weekend they had to show patience in overcoming SD Raiders and in particular Mario Aleksik, but two second half goals gave the young Saints just reward for their performance with both Anthony Morabito and Cam Philpot finding the net.
Last time these two met, the Saints prevailed by a solitary goal in a feisty contest which saw three red cards.
NWS Spirit FC v SD Raiders FC; Saturday 11 June, 7:30pm, Christie Park
Finally this week, NWS Spirit host SD Raiders in the Arctic Circle with the late kick off this Saturday night.
Unbeaten in six games, NWS Spirit will be looking to return to winning ways after drawing their last two matches. After a three-game week which saw a cup game sandwiched between their two league games, training won’t look so bad for Perkovic’s side before they go again next week.
But first, lets go back to last week where they played out a scoreless draw against Blacktown Spartans. It was a frustrating night for the Spirit who couldn’t quite play the game on their terms. Look out for Musashi Kokubo who along with Kota Odakura is providing the Spirit with plenty of goals from the set-piece this campaign.
Still breathing down the necks of the top four, NWS Spirit would have penciled this in as a winnable fixture. If they do, they’ll have every chance of being in the four come weekends end.
They face an SD Raiders side who will be desperate to hit back after a few defeats earlier in the week. Losing two games without scoring a goal to both St George FC and Hakoah FC, it’s been a tough week for Goran Ljuboja’s side.
Conceding twice as many goals as they have scored this season, the Raiders will be looking for an improved defensive effort this weekend. While they’ll be hoping the return of Noah Chianese inspires them in attack.
Last time these sides met, it was the NWS Spirit who came away with victory back in March.
Round 11 Review: SD Raiders FC 0 v Hakoah FC 5 (Koton 7‘ 13‘ 51‘, Spyrakis 58‘ 80‘)
Hakoah FC put in a five-star performance to coast past SD Raiders in a round eleven catch up game, Tuesday night.
The result brings Luka Hrzina’s team back into contention in the finals/promotion race as they sit just four points behind the teams above. Jordan Koton opened the scoring early in the first half and the visitors never looked back with Koton completing his hat-trick before Yianni Spyrakis joined in on the party.
After victory on the weekend, Hakoah wasted no time in finding the net seven minutes in. Koton finding himself beyond the defense on the end of a Dominic Cox through ball before placing it into the bottom corner.
Going down one goal at one end, SD Raiders almost managed the perfect response soon after. Franco Maya hitting the left post with his effort from close range, before the ball eventually went out for a corner. Maya going close once again hitting the crossbar after the visitors failed to clear.
However, their job got trickier before the quarter hour, Koton doubling his tally after a wicked Ben Fuchs cross found it’s way to him at the back post.
Two became three shortly into the second half with Koton completing his hattrick with a sweet strike into the bottom left corner, Cox with another assist.
Unfortunately for the home side, it was a case of how many at this point with Yianni Spyrakis securing a double late, the first from close range before he sealed the deal with a left footed strike from around the penalty spot with ten minutes left.
By FNSW League One Men’s writer Justin Smith