As we approach the pointy end of the League Two Men’s season, every round bring us a stacked weekend of meaningful fixtures.
Our match of the round keeps us up the coast, as Central Coast United host Dunbar Rovers.
The action kicks into gear with four simultaneous kick-offs on Saturday night, starting off with Rydalmere looking to bounce back against Sydney University, Bankstown City hosting Inner West Hawks and Dulwich Hill battling Macarthur Rams.
Inter Lions continue their premiership aspirations against Bankstown United, as Canterbury Bankstown travel to the ever-cold Christie Park to face Gladesville Ryde Magic.
Saturday 18th June 2022
Match of the Round: Central Coast United FC vs Dunbar Rovers FC, 5pm @ Pluim Park
Previous Meeting: Central Coast United FC 1-3 Dunbar Rovers FC
Our opening game of the round is a blockbuster matchup between two sides unbeaten in their last five games and on four-game winning streaks respectively.
The hosts come into this match with their confidence at an all-time high after taking down the second placed Rydalmere Lions.
The Pirates four game winning streak and six game streak at home will be on the line on Saturday, with a win that could send them as high as second on the ladder.
After an outstanding showing in front of goal last week, Josh Swadling will look to add on his seven goals for the season.
Central Coast will be out to avenge the reverse fixture, where they comfortably dispatched by Dunbar.
The Rovers have regained their early season momentum to enter this game with four straight wins with just one goal conceded.
Dunbar gave themselves breathing room in the race for promotion and asserted themselves into a finals place with a win over Sydney Uni.
The leagues equal best defence will be looking to shut down the rampant home attack of Central Coast, having scored 17 times in their first seven games at Pluim Park.
Key to Dunbar’s chances in defence is Luke Del Vecchio between the sticks, as he looks for his fourth clean sheet in five games.
The long trip up the coast has taken its toll on all but one opponent thus far and will certainly give Central Coast a massive advantage on Saturday.
Rydalmere Lions FC vs Sydney University SFC, 7pm @ Rydalmere Park
Previous Meeting: Rydalmere Lions FC 5-3 Sydney University SFC
Rydalmere will be looking to return to the winner’s circle when they face Sydney University at Rydalmere Park.
The hosts were stunned by a second-half barrage from Central Coast last week and will have to re-find their clinical nature in front of goals in this contest.
It was an unusual performance for Rydalmere, who were held goalless for just the second time this season and will be looking to add to their average of 2.3 goals per game.
Crucial to their attacks will be Ahmad Taleb who is currently just one goal off first place in the race for the golden boot, despite not finding the net in his last two outings.
Sydney University are looking for a fresh start when they look to go one better against Rydalmere.
Uni came agonisingly close against Dunbar last week, but let themselves down in front of goals.
On the heels of three-straight losses, Uni are desperate for a result and will have to repeat the formula that saw them put three past Rydalmere in the previous meeting between the sides.
Rydalmere have a massive advantage at home and with recent form playing onto Rydalmere’s side, the hosts will be favoured for the win.
Bankstown City FC vs Inner West Hawks FC, 7pm @ Jensen Park
Previous Meeting: Bankstown City FC 4-1 Inner West Hawks FC
Bankstown City return home to Jensen Park on a run of four straight losses, with their eyes firmly on returning to the winners circle as they host Inner West Hawks.
City slumped to their fourth consecutive loss last week against Canterbury Bankstown and will be arguably the hungriest side in the competition to regain their ladder position.
In a matter of weeks, City have gone from finals contention to possibly slipping out of the promotion zone.
The hosts have proven their quality throughout the season and will need to recapture their deadly form in front of goals to begin the climb back up the table.
City will gain plenty of confidence by the reverse fixture where they walked away with a comfortable win and were unlucky to not have scored more.
Inner West head to Jensen Park on the heels of a much improved performance against the league-leading Inter Lions.
Although the result didn’t go their way, the Hawks took their chances and will look to carry over the momentum into this fixture.
Gus Cerro has begun his rebuild of the squad and has begun to bleed in some impressive youth players that have made an immediate impact on the side.
Inner West will have the odds stacked against them, but may have caught City at an optimal time to try and get a result from them.
Dulwich Hill FC vs Macarthur Rams FC, 7pm @ Arlington Oval
Previous Meeting: Dulwich Hill FC 0-1 Macarthur Rams FC
It’s a promotion six pointer at Arlington Oval as Dulwich Hill host Macarthur Rams.
After going a solid run mid-season, Dulwich Hill have only one point to show from their last two games and subsequently have slid down the table.
With a draw against Bankstown United last week, they now find themselves in 7th place on the ladder and with another loss could find themselves in danger of slipping out of the top eight.
On the other hand, a win could put Dulwich Hill as high as second – such is the incredibly tight race in League Two.
After losing the reverse fixture by an incredibly late penalty, Dulwich Hill will be keen to go one better and capture the three points off Macarthur.
The Rams sit just one point above their opponents on the table and will be eager for another victory to potentially push them into finals contention.
Macarthur’s 2-1 victory over the Magic last week cemented them six points ahead of the promotion battle and added to their respectable defensive record.
The Rams have conceded just two goals in their last three games, which has seen them hold onto the equal best defensive record in the league.
With Steven Savicic back in goals finding his best form last week, the Rams will feel confident of hanging on to another clean sheet on Saturday.
Recent form suggest Macarthur have the upper hand, but there’s no doubt Dulwich Hill will be out to avenge their previous loss.
Inter Lions FC vs Bankstown United FC, 7pm @ Majors Bay Reserve
Previous Meeting: Inter Lions FC 5-1 Bankstown United FC
Inter Lions return to their home at Majors Bay Reserve as they await a resurgent Bankstown United.
The Lions returned to the winners circle last week in a much closer than expected outing against Inner West.
Inter’s attack has been back to its best recently, however they may of conceded more goals than they would of liked.
With 13 goals conceded in their last five games and a below average showing defensively last week, Inter will be sure to crease out these issues before Saturday’s clash.
After an incredible first half hat trick last week, Fikret Berisha will be front and centre on the scouting report as he looks to continue his good run of form.
Bankstown United will enter Majors Bay Reserve in search of three much needed points as their season hangs in the balance.
United snapped a two game losing streak against Dulwich Hill and showed flashes in front of goals.
The visitors were outplayed in the previous meeting between the sides and will know how much damage Ollie Green can pose as he netted four goals against them.
Inter will enter this game as the favourites, but their shaky form of late will boost the confidence of United.
Sunday 19th June 2022
Gladesville Ryde Magic vs Canterbury Bankstown FC, 3pm @ Christie Park
Previous Meeting: Gladesville Ryde Magic 1-2 Canterbury Bankstown FC
Leave your jackets and beanies at home because Gladesville Ryde Magic and Canterbury Bankstown are bringing the heat to ever-cold Arctic Circle (Christie Park).
The Magic will be desperate for three points to potentially catapult themselves into a promotion slot.
Gladesville Ryde were agonisingly beat by Macarthur last week in a frustrating outing for them in front of goals.
When these sides met a couple of weeks ago, it was the Berries who came out on top and sent the Magic out of a promotion spot where they haven’t returned since.
Canterbury Bankstown will be looking to do the double on the Magic in 2022 and send themselves further up the table.
The Berries took down Bankstown City last week as they extended their win streak to three in an impressive fashion.
The visitors have proven their quality in recent weeks and have a genuine chance of contending for both titles if they keep their current form up.
Canterbury Bankstown will be boosted in confidence by the previous result, considering how recently it was.
With recent history on their side, the Berries will have an edge in this but considering how close the promotion race is, the Magic may have another level they can take their game to.
By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti