It’s a super Saturday in Round 17 of Football NSW League Two Men’s with all the teams playing simultaneously as we begin to approach the business end of the season.
Our Match of the Round finds us back in the Southwest of the city, with Macarthur Rams hosting Dunbar Rovers in a match with plenty of implications for finals.
There’s plenty of action to get around with the remaining fixtures, starting with Dulwich Hill hosting the red-hot Central Coast United, Rydalmere facing a rejuvenated Inner West Hawks outfit and Bankstown City hosting Gladesville Ryde Magic.
Canterbury Bankstown will look to keep bragging rights against Bankstown United, with Inter Lions and Sydney University rounding out the weekend.
Saturday 2nd July, 2022
Match of the Round: Macarthur Rams FC vs Dunbar Rovers FC, 7pm @ Lynwood Park
Previous Meeting: Macarthur Rams FC 2-0 Dunbar Rovers FC
It’s a finals six-pointer at Lynwood Park, as sixth place Macarthur face seventh place Dunbar Rovers.
Macarthur will be looking for an improved showing in front of goal, after going down to Bankstown City 2-1 last week.
The Rams were making moves up the ladder in recent week after only losing one of their last seven games to find themselves in second.
But with one slip up they know sit outside of a finals spot but could return to the top five and finish the round as high as second with a win.
Macarthur will be encouraged by the reverse fixture where they held Dunbar goalless for just the second time in 2022.
Dunbar will also be looking for a bounce back performance, after conceding a late goal to Inter last week which ultimately cost them a result.
The Rovers have bolstered their playing stocks, after signing former Sydney Uni standout Peter Crevani who has settled in nicely and added some much needed experience.
Dunbar have started one of the hardest runs home in the league, facing only one side outside of the top eight in their final seven games.
A result here would be crucial for their finals hopes, but they will be met by a Rams side with similar ambitions.
The battle between the two defences will be likely decide the result, as both sides hold the two best defensive records in the league.
Dulwich Hill FC vs Central Coast United FC, 7pm @ Arlington Oval
Previous Meeting: Dulwich Hill FC 1-2 Central Coast United FC
Dulwich Hill return to Arlington Oval to face the form side of the competition, Central Coast United.
The hosts have hit a disappointing run of form, with their loss to Inner West last week giving them their third loss in four games.
Dulwich Hill will need to be desperate for a result in this matchup, with Gladesville Ryde sitting just four points below them in the race for promotion.
Ironically, it was Dulwich Hill who were the first victims to the rejuvenation of Central Coast with their round six loss igniting a historic run for their opponents.
The Pirates head back on the road after a successful three-game home streak where they achieved maximum points and a goal difference of plus six.
United have are in a purple-patch of form with all their players seemingly player in career-best form.
With an attacking line featuring Josh Swadling, Daniel McFarlane and newest signing Duncan Stewart, Dulwich Hill will have their hands full for the majority of the game.
Central Coast will be favoured to extend their winning streak to seven and unbeaten run to nine, but will cannot underestimate the quality we have seen from their opponents.
Rydalmere Lions FC vs Inner West Hawks FC, 7pm @ Rydalmere Park
Previous Meeting: Rydalmere Lions FC 3-2 Inner West Hawks FC
Rydalmere head back to their home ground on Saturday night to face an Inner West side full of confidence.
The Lions are looking for a return to the winners circle for the first time since their Round 13 victory over Inter Lions – after being held to draw with Bankstown United last week.
Rydalmere have fallen from equal first-place in the league to fourth and now find themselves eight points behind the league leaders Inter.
With just two goals in their last three games, Rydalmere will need to re-gain their spark in attack and will look to their leading goal scorer Ahmad Taleb to add his 13 goals for the season.
The hosts were pushed to their limits last time out against the Hawks and will need to be at their best to hold off the rejuvenated opposition.
Inner West are riding high on confidence after a massive 2-0 win over Dulwich Hill last week.
The Hawks kept just their second clean sheet of the year and their first since round one, showcasing their improvements defensively.
Although Inner West may be out of contention for a promotion spot they have plenty to play for and have shown lots of fight in recent weeks.
On paper Rydalmere should have an advantage in this matchup, but the Hawks may have another strong performance in them to pull off another upset.
Bankstown City FC vs Gladesville Ryde Magic, 7pm @ Jensen Park
Previous Meeting: Bankstown City FC 1-0 Gladesville Ryde Magic
Bankstown City will look to continue their push back up the table as they face Gladesville Ryde Magic at Jensen Park.
City have hit their strides under Ante Moric, with two consecutive wins and just one goal conceded in that time period.
The hosts will also look to debut a new signing this weekend as they continue to bolster their already deep playing stocks.
After holding the Magic scoreless in their previous meeting, City will look to keep another clean sheet to send them six for the year – tying themselves with Macarthur for the best record in the league.
The Magic will be desperate for three-massive points on Saturday night, after missing a golden chance to put themselves within one goal of Dulwich Hill in eighth.
With just one win in their last five, a result for Gladesville Ryde in this matchup may become a necessity in their promotion hopes.
The Magic have shown plenty of attacking promise away from Christie Park this year, scoring 16 goals in their seven matches on the road.
After taking a win at Jensen Park against Bankstown United in Round 12, the visitors will need to be at their best to take down Bankstown City at the same ground on Saturday night.
Canterbury Bankstown FC vs Bankstown United FC, 7pm @ The Crest Athletic Centre
Previous Meeting: Canterbury Bankstown FC 3-0 Bankstown United FC
It’s a Bankstown derby at The Crest Athletic Centre, with Canterbury Bankstown looking do the double on Bankstown United in 2022.
Canterbury Bankstown sent themselves into third place after a strong win over Sydney Uni last Friday.
The Berries are currently undefeated against their two local rivals and with a win can make it four straight wins against both City and United.
After finding himself in career-best form in front of goals, Bonmyeong Koo will look to extend his lead on top of the golden boot race and add to his 15 goals for the season.
The Berries will be full of confidence for another positive result, given their last match against United and their current five-game unbeaten run.
Bankstown United will be out for revenge as they search for their first points in a Bankstown derby this season.
United were left heartbroken after a last-minute equaliser against Rydalmere in Round 16 and will look to go one better this week.
After another solid defensive showing last week, United will need their captain Steve Wright to stand tall in holding off the rampant attack of the Berries.
With a mixture of youth and experience in the squad now, United will look to push the Berries out of their comfort zone in what should be a thrilling derby clash.
Inter Lions FC vs Sydney University SFC, 7pm @ Majors Bay Reserve
Previous Meeting: Inter Lions FC 2-2 Sydney University SFC
Our final game of the round takes us to Majors Bay Reserve as Inter Lions take on Sydney University.
Inter maintained their six-point lead in first place after another classic comeback against Dunbar last week.
The Lions have become notorious for some incredible second-half performances and seem to thrive after conceding first.
Although they boast they best attacking record in the league by some margin, they have surprisingly not kept a clean sheet all season.
Anthony Costa will face up against his previous side for the first time since making the move to Inter a couple of weeks ago, which may give the keeper added motivation in this clash.
Sydney Uni had their slim promotion chances cut short after a tough 2-0 loss to the Berries last week.
Uni are now in must-win mode for the rest of the season and anything other than three points may seal their fate in League Two for another season.
The visitors would consider themselves unlucky in the previous fixture, where they were another victim to a trademark Inter comeback.
With everything to play for and being one of the few sides to deny Inter of a win this season, Uni will look to get another result from their opponents in Round 17.
By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti