Another gargantuan round of League Three Men’s competition will see six matches across the week, as the season well and truly enters the final stage.
UNSW FC will begin the set of fixtures on Wednesday when taking on South Coast Flame before they travel to Melita Stadium on Saturday evening to face Parramatta FC.
Two Saturday 7pm matches will see Camden Tigers come up against South Coast and Western Rage host Nepean FC, with Hawkesbury City vs Fraser Park kicking off later in the evening.
In the lone Sunday game, Prospect United will face Hurstville FC in a crucial match in the race for the top five, with Newcastle Jets getting a week off with a bye.
UNSW FC vs South Coast Flame – Wednesday 8pm, Hensley Athletic Field
A catchup match from round 14 will begin the football for the week, as UNSW host South Coast Flame at Hensley Athletic Field on Wednesday night.
UNSW’s nine-game unbeaten run came to an end last Friday as they went down 2-1 to Nepean FC.
Interestingly, on either side of that elongated streak, the loss that first kickstarted the run and the loss that ended it both came at the hands of Nepean.
UNSW will be looking to return to winning ways while continuing to secure its place in the top three with a victory over South Coast Flame on Wednesday night.
The away side, meanwhile, hasn’t played since the 18th of June and played only two matches throughout the previous month thanks to a combination of postponements and byes.
South Coast Flame’s most recent game came in a 2-1 loss to top of the table Hawkesbury City, with their match prior resulting in a 2-0 win over Parramatta FC.
They’ll be looking to find consistency both in games and good form in their midweek clash with UNSW FC.
Parramatta FC vs UNSW FC – Saturday 5pm, Melita Stadium
Parramatta FC will take on UNSW FC in the first of four Saturday matches as they look to build on their impressive performance from last weekend against Hurstville FC.
The home side for this match took away a point from Hurstville in their previous game and a victory over UNSW on Saturday could see them climb up the ladder.
Parramatta also has two and three games in hand respectively on the duo teams above them.
UNSW, on the other hand, will be facing a quick turnaround as they feature in two League Three Men’s matches in a row, with their previous fixture coming against South Coast Flame.
Both sides, for different reasons, will be looking for three points at Melita Stadium on Saturday evening as UNSW look to stabilise their position for finals and Parramatta look to propel themselves up the ladder.
Camden Tigers vs South Coast Flame – Saturday 7pm, Ron Dine Stadium
In one of two Saturday 7pm games, Camden Tigers will take on South Coast Flame at Ron Dine Stadium to continue the League Three Men’s action for the week.
Camden Tigers have been in fantastic form in recent weeks, picking up three wins in their last five matches with their only loss coming against second-placed Newcastle Jets.
However, the loss against the Jets still saw them find the back of the net on three occasions – the third time they’ve scored three goals within their last five games.
They’ve scored 42.3% of their total goals this campaign in their last five matches (which makes up a third of their season), showing the upturn in goalscoring form over the last quintet of matches.
Camden currently sits seventh on the League Three Men’s table, four points ahead of opponents South Coast Flame, although the away side for this match has three games in hand.
Meanwhile, South Coast Flame will be looking for consistency within their matches – this will be their second match in four days.
The distance between their last played match at the time of writing against Hawkesbury City and their game against UNSW on Wednesday is 19 days, showing the vast disparity in their unlucky scheduling.
They’ll be looking for a strong result against a strong Camden side at Ron Dine Stadium this weekend.
Western Rage vs Nepean FC – Saturday 7pm, Blacktown City Sports Centre
In the other 7pm Saturday night game, Western Rage will take on Nepean FC, as both sides look to continue their good form heading towards the end of the season.
The pair of participating teams for this matchup have both won two in their last five games, with Western Rage defeating Prospect United and Hurstville FC and Nepean FC beating Fraser Park and UNSW FC.
Western Rage has fallen by the solitary goal in their three losses in their other matches within the five, as they went down 3-2 to Hawkesbury City before losing 2-1 to Camden Tigers and Fraser Park respectively.
They’ll be looking to continue their positive performances in a tricky game against fifth-placed Nepean FC, who have just recently found form of their own with a crucial victory over UNSW FC.
Prior to their last match, Nepean had lost to Hawkesbury City and Newcastle Jets, albeit with those sides forming the top two on the table.
Interestingly, in their last three recorded matches, they’ve played the incumbent top three in the league and will face another tricky challenge as they look to build a winning run as they head into the business end of the competition.
Hawkesbury City vs Fraser Park – Saturday 7:30pm, Valentine Sports Park
In the last Saturday fixture of the round, Hawkesbury City will take on Fraser Park as they look to continue their form at the summit of the League Three Men’s table.
Hawkesbury City is currently on a winning streak of four matches, as they’ve defeated Western Rage, Nepean FC, South Coast Flame and Hurstville FC within their last few fixtures.
Their winning streak of four is the current longest run of any team in the league, while only twice in the season has a team managed four wins in a row, with Hawkesbury themselves forming another time along with Nepean FC.
Hawkesbury could become the first side in the competition to win five games in a row but will be coming up against a tough side in Fraser Park, who have been rejuvenated by multiple signings in the latest transfer window.
Fraser picked up their third win of the season last week with a 2-1 victory over Western Rage, and they’ll be looking to build on the positive result in a clash with Hawkesbury this weekend.
Prospect United vs Hurstville FC – Sunday 7pm, William Lawson Reserve
To conclude round 18 of League Three Men, Prospect United will take on Hurstville FC in a crucial match in the race for finals.
Prospect is currently placed sixth on the table, with Hurstville six points above in fourth.
Nepean FC is in between the two sides, and are only two points behind Hurstville with two games in hand, meaning the away side for this match is at risk of falling into fifth.
That would be enough to secure them a finals spot with the top five making it, but Prospect is hot on their heels with a multitude of matches in hand to makeup – they’ve played 12 games compared to Hurstville’s 16.
A win for Prospect would significantly increase the pressure on Hurstville, who haven’t won in six matches, while a victory for the away side would be a massive boost in the context of their season.
Bye: Newcastle Jets
By Football NSW League 3 Men’s Reporter, Jack George (@JackGeorge0004)