One last Super Saturday for season 2022 awaits us in Round 21 of the FNSW League One Men’s competition with five games kicking off simultaneously Saturday night.
With the top four positions locked in, we still have the premiership race and a finals position to be decided with two rounds remaining.
Round 17 Rescheduled matches: Blacktown Spartans FC v St George City; Wednesday 27 July, 7:15pm, Blacktown Football Park
Mounties Wanderers FC v St George FC; Wednesday 27 July, 7:30pm, Cook Park (Mt Pritchard)
Before we jump into our usual weekend preview, lets look at our two midweek matches tonight. In the more important of the two fixtures, Blacktown Spartans return to the field to face St George City.
A win would take St George City top of the table and they’ll be coming into It confident after trouncing Mounties Wanderers on the weekend.
Blacktown Spartans will be a tricky task however as they look to avoid the season sweep after going down to City in both cup and league earlier this season. They have won four of their eight home games this season.
In the other fixture taking place Wednesday night, St George FC make the trip to Sydney’s southwest to take on Mounties Wanderers.
Winless in their past four, Nefta Gonzalez’s side will be looking to turn their form around before meetings with both A-league academy sides in R21 and R22.
Mounties on the other hand also have a point to prove after a heavy defeat against St George City on the weekend. Having not scored a goal at home since May, they will be desperate to do so here.
Blacktown Spartans FC v Hakoah FC; Saturday 30 July, 5pm, Blacktown Football Park
Hakoah FC will be looking to keep their finals charge alive when they travel out west to face Blacktown Spartans.
But first lets briefly touch on the Spartans who haven’t taken the field since the last preview at the time of writing. Andy Montgomery’s team have proven to be tough to score against at home this season, only conceding nine goals in eight games. So, they’ll be tough to beat on both occasions this week.
Emmanuel Gonzalez will continue his chase for the golden boot, the striker scoring seven of the fifteen goals the Spartans have scored at home. While Suleyman Bangura also will be looking to add to his tally after scoring in their round 19 fixture with the Mounties. With the chance to half the gap to their opponents, they’ll be looking to keep their positive home record going.
They face a Hakoah side who have proved to be a trickier side to overcome on the road than at home. Not something you would normally associate with the club; they have picked up 15 points on the road this season and will come into this one confident after keeping just their 3rd clean sheet of the season.
George Tuson-Firth gave them the early lead last weekend before they withstood some significant pressure from their opposition. Another standout was Daniel Alessi in defense who cleared the ball off the line on one occasion and proved difficult for the Tigers to beat in central defense. Their finals tilt still depends on some results elsewhere, but they will be keen to do their part here.
Hills United FC v NWS Spirit FC; Saturday 30 July, 7pm, Blacktown City Sports Centre
NWS Spirit play their last game of the regular season against Hills United at Blacktown City Sports Centre.
One last home game for Hills United this season and with their opposition potentially eyeing clashes to come, they’ll see this as a chance to score an upset here. It’s a venue where all their points have come this season, having not scored a point on the road all season.
Last weekend they put in a respectable performance up at Pluim Park against Central Coast Mariners. Conceding two goals early, you could be forgiven for fearing the worst early, but they played their way into the fixture and nearly scored on multiple occasions during the first half. Returning home, they’ll be keen to finish the season on a high note here.
Nineteen games unbeaten, David Perkovic and his NWS Spirit team just keep finding a way to keep their streak going. And their reward? Their first Australia cup game next week against Peninsula Power followed by a cup final against Sydney United, Sunday week.
But first they have this league game against Hills United this weekend, an opposition who they haven’t lost too since 2019. Last weekend, they overcame one of David Perkovic’s former teams in St George FC. With Mitch Davidson scoring his second goal in as many appearances proving the difference. The Spirit have remarkably scored first in their past eight games, do so again here and they’ll be even tougher to topple.
St George FC v Western Sydney Wanderers FC; Saturday 30 July, 7pm, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre (Behind Closed Doors)
Western Sydney Wanderers will look to continue their premiership tilt when they face St George FC in Sydney’s South.
After showing the competition what they can do in the middle of the season, things have become tougher for St George FC in recent weeks, losing their past three fixtures. The Saints will come into this one having played another struggling side in Mounties Wanderers midweek, so they’ll be hoping to restore some confidence there.
Last weekend however, they went down narrowly to NWS Spirit in a real battle at this same venue. With a core of around seven players, there has been a lot of testing out different personnel in recent weeks as they try and put themselves in a good position for 2023. However, they always seem to lift against the Wanderers, can they seal an upset here?
Points on the board or games in hand? Western Sydney Wanderers will be hoping that the points on the board count more come the end of the regular season. Sitting in first position with two games left, the Wanderers have established themselves as the league’s entertainers scoring 22 more goals than the next best side.
Last weekend, they featured in a high scoring affair with SD Raiders eventually triumphing in a 4-3 score line. Zac Sapsford, Alessandro Lopane, Alex Badolato and George Daniel all found the net while Jarrod “Doggie” Carluccio starred once again. Top four position secured; the pressure is off the Wanderers who now will be hoping to add a trophy to cap off their season.
St George City v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC; Saturday 30 July, 7pm, Penshurst Park
St George City play their third game in a week returning home to face Bonnyrigg White Eagles, Saturday night.
If a result goes their way on Wednesday night, St George City could be leading the table coming into this one. Picking up a win in style last weekend, City under the guidance of Mirko Jurilj and Aytek Genc secured their top four place and promotion last weekend.
Yes, City have developed a ruthless streak against sides outside the top five in recent weeks, scoring four goals or more twice in their past month. Last weekend, Reuben Awaritefe extended his lead as their top scorer with seven goals while Nathan Roberts, Jordan Morfitis and Jakub Prajza also found the net. Having felt like the premiership was taken away from them last season, don’t expect them to take their foot off the pedal here.
Well, if they didn’t have a point to prove before, now they certainly do. It’s been a tough week for Bonnyrigg White Eagles after conceding five goals in their big Australia Cup tie last Thursday against Oakleigh Cannons.
After showing they could match it with their opponents in the first half, they couldn’t back it up in the second. It’s unfortunately a familiar story for Bonnyrigg who have never really got going despite the talent which they possess in the squad. The great thing about football though, is there’s always another game…
SD Raiders FC v Central Coast Mariners FC; Saturday 30 July, 7pm, Ernie Smith Reserve
Taking to the road one last time this regular season, Central Coast Mariners travel to Sydney’s South-West to take on SD Raiders.
Although they have fallen to four defeats in their past four fixtures, the form line isn’t currently doing the SD Raiders justice. After a midweek defeat to Northern Tigers last weekend, we saw some mental fortitude from Goran Ljuboja’s side who gave the top side quite the scare last weekend.
It took the Wanderers till the final ten minutes to land their killer blow after SD Raiders kept them honest for the majority. Starring on the night was Mark Cindric who picked up a hat-trick with some stunning goals to take his season total to eight goals. They can give their opponents a scare this weekend, if they do, it will give them a great boost heading into 2023.
Spot in the top division secured, Central Coast Mariners have the premiership in their hands if they want it with three fixtures in the upcoming week. Sitting two points behind the Wanderers with a game in hand against Blacktown Spartans next Tuesday, the premiership could well be heading up the M1.
Last weekend, they fielded a squad which was barely recognizable from what we have seen earlier this season. Nonetheless, they got the job done against Hills United with the main talking point being the emergence of Aydan Hammond who looked threatening every time he got the ball. Just another one in an impressive production line which continues to perform all across the park.
Northern Tigers FC v Mounties Wanderers FC; Saturday 30 July, 7pm, North Turramurra Recreation Area
Northern Tigers will be looking to solidify a finals spot when they host Mounties Wanderers at North Turramurra.
If Northern Tigers were an F1 driver, they’d be Charles Leclerc (F1 fans will get the reference). After starting the season so positively and proving they could match it with the best, they seemed to lose that little bit of control before crashing into the wall.
Last weekend, it was another narrow defeat in the league against Hakoah (the team below them). And it was just one of those nights where the ball just wouldn’t go in the net for them despite their efforts. Still a win here like the one in the first round in the season would pretty much guarantee them a place in the top five and finals.
Mounties Wanderers like their opposition also have found the going tough in recent times. This game will be their third fixture of the week after hosting St George FC during the week. In a stat which shows impressive consistency, Mounties have scored one more goal away from home while conceded the same number of goals both home/away.
This season has seen improvement from Jerry Bilokapic’s side, who will be looking to finish the season right in their last appearance of the season. A result here would put a dent in the Tigers finals chances, can they do it? Time will tell.
By League One Men’s writer Justin Smith