It’s coming down to the wire in League Two Men’s as Round 20 presents us with an unmissable weekend of crucial fixtures.
Our Match of the Round finds us at the Crest Athletic Centre as Canterbury Bankstown host Rydalmere Lions in a potential finals preview.
We will have some more clarity in the race for promotion as Dulwich Hill travel to face Dunbar Rovers, Sydney University look to spoil Bankstown City’s finals aspirations, with Central Coast United looking to take down Bankstown United.
Inner West Hawks will be looking for revenge against Macarthur Rams, with Inter Lions hosting Gladesville Ryde Magic in the final game of the round.
Match of the Round: Canterbury Bankstown FC vs Rydalmere Lions FC, 7pm @ The Crest Athletic Centre
Previous Meeting: Canterbury Bankstown FC 2-3 Rydalmere Lions FC
Canterbury Bankstown return to the Crest looking to return to the winner’s circle as they play an in-form Rydalmere side.
The Berries’ finals hopes have stalled in recent weeks, going two matches without a win and falling to sixth place after a tough draw to Central Coast last time out.
Canterbury Bankstown are once again heading into a log-jam of fixtures in the final weeks of the season and will need to get off to a positive start to keep their top-five aspirations alive.
The Berries’ goalscoring frenzy has slowed down in recent weeks, with just two goals in as many games that has seen them fall below their season average of 2.1 goals per game.
In the previous meeting, the Berries were denied of a point when Dillan Kahale produced a last-minute goal to secure the win for Rydalmere.
Rydalmere were back to their best against the Magic last week in a 4-1 win that saw them take a healthy lead in second place.
With promotion secured and finals all but assured for the Lions, the focus for the final three games of the season will undoubtedly be on catching Inter in first.
Rydalmere will have to remain perfect for the remainder of the season and will be boosted by the current form of Ahmed Taleb, who scored a stellar hat-trick last week to send him two goals clear in the race for the golden boot.
With both side’s playing for separate goals to finish the season, we are sure to see a highly competitive and thrilling game to cap off the weekend.
Friday 22nd July, 2022
Sydney University SFC vs Bankstown City FC, 8:15pm @ Sydney University Football Ground
Previous Meeting: Sydney University SFC 1-3 Bankstown City FC
Sydney Uni return to their home ground to face a resurgent Bankstown City side that is flourishing with confidence.
Uni fell out of the race for promotion last week after conceding two second-half goals to the Hawks and subsequently losing the fixture.
The hosts have shown plenty of promise against the elite of the competition this year and have made it difficult for any side that has to play against them on a Friday night.
The late start combined what is sure to be an incredibly cold night could play a massive part in the result, as Uni look to build for next season.
In the reverse fixture, City flew out to a three goal lead at the half hour mark and will be looking to inflict further punishment on Uni on Friday night.
City are surging back up the table in the final stages of the season, after a convincing 3-0 win over Dunbar last week that sent them back into the top-five.
Under new coach, Ante Moric, City have boasted a much improved record with just one loss since he took over six weeks ago.
With a few new signings and some youth players coming into first-grade, theirs is plenty of confidence amongst the playing squad.
After an outstanding showing as a facilitator last week, Nikola Todoroski will look to add to his assist total after setting up two of his teammates for goals in the win against Dunbar.
Another player to keep an eye on for the visitors is Antonio Chiavaroli who has a made an immediate impact after debuting for the first-grade side last week.
City will enter this match as favourites with Uni looking to put a hold on their finals hopes for another week.
Saturday 23rd July, 2022
Dunbar Rovers FC vs Dulwich Hill FC, 7pm @ Fraser Park
Previous Meeting: Dunbar Rovers FC 1-4 Dulwich Hill FC
It’s a promotion six pointer at Fraser Park as Dunbar Rovers battle Dulwich Hill, with both sides desperate for a win.
Dunbar succumbed to their fourth defeat in five games after a disappointing loss to Bankstown City last week.
After going an impressive in run at the start of the second half of the season, the Rovers have been plagued with injuries and have had their playing stocks depleted.
With two more injuries coming from Round 19 it continues to get worse for Dunbar as they now face the prospect of potentially falling out of promotion.
The Rovers sit two points above the Magic in ninth and with a loss they could be out of promotion with just two games remaining.
Dunbar were outclassed in the previous meeting and will be out to prove the doubters wrong in this meeting.
Dulwich Hill are in a similar spot to their opponents in Round 20, going down against Inter last week in their fourth loss in five games.
The visitors have become stale in attack and are hanging on to their spot for promotion by just three points.
Dulwich Hill have scored just three goals in their last five games and will be eager for a turnaround in front of goals in this fixture.
It’ll be an interesting match-up between the two sides, with Dunbar’s strong defence going against a formidable attack in Dulwich Hill.
A loss for either side could spell disaster in the race for promotion, as the winner will all but secure their ticket to League One next year.
Bankstown United FC vs Central Coast United FC, 7pm @ Jensen Park
Previous Meeting: Bankstown United FC 1-3 Central Coast United FC
Bankstown United return to Jensen Park to face third place Central Coast United, who will be looking to repeat their success of their Round Nine victory.
United were held to a draw against the Rams last week in a performance where they should of walked away with a goal to their name.
The attacking struggles of United have been well documented this year and have plagued them in getting results throughout the season.
United looked promising in the first half last week and will be hoping to build on the positives that they had in both defence in attack.
The hosts were outclassed in the reverse fixture, falling victims to Pluim Park and will be hoping to get their revenge on the Pirates on Saturday at their home.
Central Coast secured promotion last week with a draw against the Berries and now have their focuses set on locking down their spot in the top-five.
The Pirates have struggled on the road this year, with just three wins from their nine games away from home.
Central Coast will need to win their next two away games in order to secure a top-three finish and will feel confident of a result here, given their recent form.
After causing plenty of headaches for the Berries last week, Daniel McFarlane will be in for another big game at the centre of the Pirates’ attacks.
The hosts will be on upset watch but will have to be at their best to take points away from Central Coast.
Inner West Hawks FC vs Macarthur Rams FC, 7pm @ Arlington Oval
Previous Meeting: Inner West Hawks FC 0-4 Macarthur Rams FC
Inner West return for to Arlington Oval for the third time in as many weeks to host Macarthur Rams.
Inner West secured their second win in four games with an incredible comeback over Sydney Uni last week.
The Hawks have shown promising signs lately and the chemistry between the veteran players and newly promoted youngsters has been key to this.
Sam Awad will be looking for another big game after having one of his best performances of the season last week, with a goal and leading the defence in the final period to hold on for the win.
The last time these sides met, the Hawks were dispatched by a potent Rams outfit who looked dangerous every time they went on the attack.
The Rams secured promotion last week after a tough goalless draw against Bankstown United.
Macarthur have met their preseason goal of promotion and now need to take their game to another level to keep their spot in the top-five.
The Rams youthful squad has been prone to a lack of concertation in crucial moments this year and will need to work in that area in the final games of the season.
With a win here, the Rams will give themselves as much as four points breathing room in the top-five and will go one step closer to finals.
Although they don’t have much to play for, the Hawks recent form suggest we are in for an entertaining bout between two interesting sides.
Inter Lions FC vs Gladesville Ryde Magic, 7pm @ Majors Bay Reserve
Previous Meeting: Inter Lions FC 5-3 Gladesville Ryde Magic
Majors Bay Reserve plays host to the final game of the round that could have massive implications, as Inter Lions host Gladesville Ryde Magic.
Inter are peaking as the season comes to a close, winning for the fourth time in five games with an impressive 3-0 win over Dulwich Hill.
The Lions five point gap on Rydalmere in second place has put them in pole position for the premiership and a win here could deliver them the first available silverware of the season.
Inter’s defensive improvements have been on display in their last two weeks, after not having a clean sheet all season they’ve secured two in a row.
With a full strength squad and a defence at the highest level it’s been all year, Inter look nearly unbeatable and will give the Magic their hardest test of the year.
Gladesville Ryde will have to be reeling after a missed opportunity to jump into eighth spot last week with a loss to Rydalmere.
This is undoubtedly the biggest game of the Magic’s season, with both seventh and eighth place playing each other, giving them the opportunity to leap frog one of them.
The Magic have struggled to convert on their chances to win games and were punished in the reverse fixture when Inter’s early lead proved too much to overcome.
Inter will be favoured for a result in this one, but given the Magic’s season may be on the line, it’s impossible to rule them out for a result.
By Football NSW Men’s League Two Writer, Dominic Criniti @DominicCriniti