Some teams are finding form while others will look to pick themselves back up as the Football New South Wales League Two Men’s competition enters Round Three.
The Match of the Round sees Nepean FC on the hunt for a third-straight win, as they host Hawkesbury City FC, who are playing their third-consecutive away match to start the season.
Elsewhere, Camden Tigers and UNSW FC will be looking for wins after their respective draws last week, the winless Inner West Hawks FC and Hurstville FC face off while Prospect United and Parramatta FC will be hoping to bounce back from their respective losses.
Western Rage return after their bye as they visit Gladesville Ryde Magic, South Coast Flame FC and Fraser Park FC will look for back-to-back wins as they face off, while the high-flying Newcastle Jets are at home to Bankstown United FC.
Sydney University SFC have a bye in Round Three.
Friday 17th February, 2023
Match of the Round: Nepean FC vs Hawkesbury City FC, 8pm @ Wanderers Football Park
Previous meeting: Nepean FC 3-2 Hawkesbury City FC (AET)
Nepean FC will be looking for a third-straight win and third-consecutive clean sheet as Hawkesbury City FC visit.
These two sides last met in Week One of the Football New South Wales League Three finals series last year, which Nepean took out 3-2 after extra-time.
Nepean are looking strong on the defensive end as they have won their first two matches of the season 1-0.
They held on in the match through determination and last-ditch defending before they scored a goal late to come away with a 1-0 win away at Hurstville FC last week.
However, they host an opponent which has scored 5 goals across the opening two matches this week in Hawkesbury City FC.
Hawkesbury picked up a point away at UNSW FC last week as they scrapped from behind to earn the draw.
They were also hardworking as they pushed for an equaliser in the second half, which arrived through Zac Miletic.
Hawkesbury will hope to sure up in defence after conceding two goals in back-to-back matches.
They have the hunger to stay in matches when behind and have also shown they can take the lead, themselves, so will be a dangerous prospect for a resilient Nepean.
Both sides will look to continue their unbeaten starts to the season in what promises to be an intriguing encounter.
Saturday 18th February, 2023
Camden Tigers FC vs UNSW FC, 7pm @ Ron Dine Memorial Reserve
Previous Meeting: Camden Tigers FC 4-3 UNSW FC
Camden Tigers FC are winless from their first two matches as they host an unbeaten UNSW FC.
The last time they met, Camden prevailed in a final-round seven-goal thriller at home, 4-3.
Camden conceded a goal in added time in the second half last week away at Sydney University SFC and will be looking to focus for the whole match this week to get a result.
They will be looking to tighten up on the defensive end as they play their second home match of the season.
If the players on their right-edge of attack, especially, can gel like last week, they could find joy in this match.
UNSW FC forfeited a lead against Hawkesbury City FC last week as they came away with a 2-2 draw.
However, they showed their power in the air, as they scored one goal and hit the frame of the goal twice from headers.
UNSW FC showed they can dominate away from home after their 3-0 win away at Parramatta FC in Round One.
Kevin Lopes will be looking for a goal in a third consecutive match as he takes to the field on Saturday.
This will be another match with plenty of excitement, as UNSW FC have the hunger to stay unbeaten while Camden Tigers FC will be working to secure the three points.
Inner West Hawks FC vs Hurstville FC, 7pm @ Arlington Oval
Previous Meeting: Hurstville FC 0-2 Stanmore Hawks FC
Both the Inner West Hawks and Hurstville have lost their opening two matches of the season and so will be pushing for a positive result in Round Three.
This is the first time these two sides have met since the 2013 NSW State League Division 2 season, where the then-Stanmore Hawks came away with a 2-0 win in a season they were crowned champions.
Therefore, this fixture has a fresh new start ten years on, both teams with hope this will be the match to kickstart their respective seasons.
Inner West Hawks FC will be looking to bounce back after their 5-1 loss away to Bankstown United FC last week, after they could have gained a result in the opening round.
Peter Yannopoulos will be an outlet for the Hawks in attack as they look to show the promise they did in week one.
Expect the Hawks to show a lot of effort this week as they host an equally as determined Hurstville FC.
Hurstville have had a rough start to the season, facing the two teams at the top of the ladder at the end of Round Two in the Newcastle Jets and Nepean FC, respectively.
They will be hoping to build on a positive performance from last week, where they created chances and forced Nepean to dig deep in defence in a 1-0 home loss.
If Hurstville’s attack can click, with their midfield and defence holding up, they could be on their way to their first points of the season.
Expect this to be a match filled with chances and hard tackling as both sides look to put their first points on the board this season.
Prospect United SC vs Parramatta FC, 7pm @ William Lawson Reserve
Previous Meeting: Parramatta FC 1-2 Prospect United SC
Another two teams who have lost their opening two fixtures, both Prospect United SC and Parramatta FC will look to put points on the board this week.
These two clubs met in FNSW League Three last season, where Prospect got the better of Parramatta on both occasions, 2-1.
Prospect will be hoping to continue that head-to-head form as they host a second-straight match at home.
They missed good quality chances in front of goal last week, as they went down 2-1 to South Coast Flame FC, but know they will need to have high concentration to build some momentum.
If they can utilise their grit and determination in a focused effort this week at home, they could cause trouble to Parramatta and pick up the three points.
Parramatta FC showed promise in their 5-3 defeat to the Newcastle Jets but know they will need to tighten up their defensive errors.
Furthermore, if they can bring the fight and desire to Prospect, they could do well to stay in the match and give themselves a chance at victory.
Having played two tough sides in UNSW FC and Newcastle Jets FC, Parramatta will know what is required this week to be competitive.
This match could go either way as both sides are desperate for their first points of the season.
Gladesville Ryde Magic vs Western Rage, 7pm @ Christie Park
Previous Meeting: Granville Rage 0-2 Gladesville Ryde Magic
Gladesville Ryde Magic have a win and a loss to start the season, while the Western Rage drew in Round One before they had a bye last week.
These two sides will meet for the first time since the 2019 NPL 3 NSW competition, where the Magic came away with a 2-0 win away.
The Magic almost completed a comeback from three goals down against Fraser Park FC, but eventually went down 3-2 away.
However, they showed promising signs with their speed in attack and utilisation of long balls forward.
It was the opposite of their opening round victory, where they took the lead and held on late; the Magic will be hoping to start fast against the Western Rage.
The Rage come into this match off the back of a bye last round and a draw in their opening match.
They held resolute in their 0-0 against the South Coast Flame and will look to bring that solid defence to Christie Park.
However, playing away from home again, the Rage will look to start with a solid defensive base and build from there.
Expect a close encounter in this one as both teams search for the win.
South Coast Flame FC vs Fraser Park FC, 7pm @ Sir Ian McLennan Oval
Previous Meeting: Fraser Park FC 3-2 South Coast Flame FC
Both of these sides will be looking for back-to-back wins as they clash at Sir Ian McLennan Oval.
These two sides picked up a win a piece against each other last season, but Fraser Park won the most recent encounter 3-2 at home.
South Coast Flame FC held off a determined Prospect United FC away last weekend as they came away 2-1 winners.
The Flame were dangerous down the right in attack as they looked to win the physical battle in midfield.
They also showed their effort in defence and in tackles, as they slid to cover in defence well.
If the Flame can play out from the back and negate any press from Fraser Park, they can play their own way to achieve success in this matchup.
Fraser Park FC played their first match of the season last week as they overcame a fast-finishing Gladesville Ryde Magic 3-2 at home.
They looked to utilise their speed up front and break quickly to catch out the Magic last week to good effect.
Against a determined Flame defence, Fraser Park will have to be at their best to break them down and score.
Expect this to be an encounter with plenty of fight as the Flame look to defend their home turf against a strong side in Fraser Park FC.
Sunday 19th February, 2023
Newcastle Jets vs Bankstown United FC, 5pm @ Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility
This is the first meeting between these two clubs.
The Newcastle Jets are top of the table and among the contenders early for the League Two title come the end of the season as Bankstown United FC visit.
The Jets showed their firepower again last week as they picked up a 5-3 win away to Parramatta FC.
They have scored nine goals across their opening two matches and will look to show what they can do at home again.
The Jets have been sharp and ruthless to start the season and with the goals being shared around the squad, Bankstown United will have to defend well to keep them at bay.
Bankstown United FC also scored five goals in their last outing as they won at home over Inner West Hawks FC.
It was a confidence-building result for Bankstown after a loss in their opening match and they will look to take that momentum to Newcastle.
If they can control the match away from home and not give up easy chances, they could do well to contain the Jets and create an entertaining contest.
With two strong teams going head-to-head, expect to see a tactically challenging match where either side could come out on top.
By Football NSW League Two Men’s Writer, Dylan Costa @_dylancosta