Round Seven of the Football NSW League One Men’s competition brings with it plenty of close fought action to sink your teeth into this Saturday night.
Highlighted by a match of the round towards the top end, plenty of sides face another in and around them on the competition table.
So, let’s take a look ahead to the weekend.
Match of the Round: Canterbury Bankstown FC v Blacktown Spartans FC; Saturday 18 March, 7pm, Jensen Park
An in-form Canterbury Bankstown side host Blacktown Spartans in our round 7 match of the round at Jensen Park.
Yes, its back-to-back weeks where our match of the round takes us to Jensen Park, let’s hope for more goals in this one.
Canterbury Bankstown come into this one as perhaps the surprise packets of the season so far. Three wins and one draw in their last four fixtures have them placed in 6th position with the possibility of overtaking this week’s opponents with a victory.
A team who are quickly growing confident in their ability to match it with anyone in the division. Wally Savor’s side only needed to be given a sniff last weekend against Dulwich Hill quickly putting three goals into the opposition net. They have found the net through nine different players this season which is equal top, Jake Bradshaw their top goal scorer with 4 goals.
An opponent who tasted defeat for the first time in 2023 last weekend in Blacktown Spartans. A Spartans side who before that won four games and drew one in their opening five fixtures. However, that run was ended by a dominant St George FC performance.
Yeah, it’s a night that Ben Rollison’s side will be in a hurry to put behind them. That being said, they did show why they were unbeaten in their opening five. A side who has pace both up front and in wide positions, their transition play is dangerous and will surely keep their hosts on edge at Jensen Saturday night. Look out for Emmanuel Dolo and Jovan Blagojevic as their main threats ahead of this one.
This should be a good one, make sure you check it out in person or via NPL.TV, live or on demand.
Hakoah FC v Inter Lions FC; Saturday 18 March, 5pm, Hensley Athletic Field
In need of a victory and a bit of luck, Inter Lions make the trip east to take on Hakoah FC in one of two early kick offs, Saturday afternoon.
It’s been an inauspicious start for both these sides in 2022 but let’s start with Hakoah FC. The hosts in this come into this one depleted in personnel and on the back of a scoreless draw with Bankstown City in our match of the round last weekend.
In that one, it turned out to be a frustrating evening in front of goal for both sides despite showing some promise. With captain Yianni Spyrakis out for another few weeks at least and Cam Philpot joining him on the injury list, points during this period will be well received by Craig Sharpley’s side.
There was a fair bit of expectation on Inter Lions coming into the season after finishing first in league two last season. And perhaps that has had a negative affect on the side with only two victories in their opening six games.
Last weekend they went down to SD Raiders narrowly in a high scoring contest despite taking the lead two times in the first half. However, they are playing some good football so surely it is only a matter of times till things turnaround, they just need to sort out things defensively so you’d imagine that would be a particular focus in training.
Central Coast United FC v Bankstown City FC; Saturday 18 March, 5pm, Pluim Park
Central Coast United host Bankstown City as both sides chase their second win of the season at Pluim Park.
It’s a fixture that favored the away side in 2022, so let’s take a look at them first ahead of this one. After a round five victory over Inter Lions, they took a point from their round six match with Hakoah FC at Jensen Park last weekend.
And it really could have been more with captain Nikola Todoroski having three very good chances in the first half, uncharacteristically not taking any of them. So you can be sure he will be keen to correct that this weekend in what stands as an important fixture towards the lower mid-table, a win giving them a little more breathing space going forward.
Sitting in 14th position after three straight defeats, it’s been a couple of tough weekends for Central Coast United away from home. After an encouraging performance against Blacktown Spartans in round five, they struggled against Macarthur Rams last weekend.
The good news however is they return to Pluim Park, the venue where they secured their only victory of the season so far. And it’s defensively where they’ll want to improve having conceded 14 goals so far this season.
Dulwich Hill FC v Mounties Wanderers FC; Saturday 18 March, 7pm, Arlington Oval
Dulwich Hills FC and Mounties Wanderers lock horns in what could be a crucial lower table clash in round 7 action.
Coming in favourites for this weekend will be Dulwich Hill who have two victories to their name this season. Sitting in 13th spot, they’ve struggled in the front third this season with just six goals to their account, conceding 13 over the same time period.
Last weekend, it was a period of 20 minutes which saw them lose control against Canterbury Bankstown in a previously even match with three quick goals condemning them to defeat. However, you only have to look to the week before to see what they can do on their day. Is this where they secure their third victory?
This one stands out as a pretty important fixture for Mounties Wanderers. Pre-season, their early draw looked favorable with six of their opening seven games coming against new sides to the division. However, looking at it now they have just 4 points before heading into a tough second quarter of the season, it’s pretty close to must win.
Like their opponents, they have conceded 13 goals but of more concern is the four goals in which they have scored at the other end. Against another side struggling for consistency, it’s a big weekend for Harry Tsironis and his side.
SD Raiders FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC; Saturday 18 March, 7pm, Ernie Smith Reserve
There’s more than one derby taking place Saturday night as SD Raiders host Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Ernie Smith Reserve.
The hosts find themselves in the unfamiliar position of being above their rivals coming into this one. Back-to-back wins in round five and six have them sitting in 7th position after six rounds with three wins and a draw to their name.
Last weekend was far from convincing though against Inter Lions. They were outplayed for large chunks of the fixture but benefitted from some efficient finishing in front of goal. Mihael Marcic continues to find the net on the regular while Noah Chianese has also returned to fitness as another attacking threat. They’ll be looking for an improved performance here.
They’ll be facing a Bonnyrigg White Eagles side who will be wanting to put together a full 90-minute performance. Yes, it’s something which has evaded Brian “Bomber” Browns side in recent weeks highlighted by last weekend.
The hosts on that occasion found themselves two goals down early in the second half against Northern Tigers. The positive being they brought themselves back into it with a late equalizer giving them plenty of momentum into this one. However, football is played over the 90 minutes, and they’ll want to make a statement here.
Dunbar Rovers FC v St George FC; Saturday 18 March, 7pm, Fraser Park
Bottom plays top in R7 action as competition leaders St George FC make the short trip to face Dunbar Rovers.
It’s pretty safe to say that Dunbar Rovers have just recently found their feet in the competition after a slow start. Yes, they still occupy last place in the competition but their performance on field has shown improvement in recent weekends.
Coming into last weekend on the back of their first victory of the season, they oh so nearly gave Hills United a shock holding a 2-0 lead at the half time break. Described as their best first half of the season, Daniel Goni and Olivier Beltran-Woodward gave them the advantage. However, they couldn’t hold on but it’s enough to tell us they’re in with a chance here.
Still a tough ask though as St George FC await them this weekend. Jane Talcevski’s side were impressive in round six action putting three unanswered goals past the previously undefeated Blacktown Spartans at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre.
Indeed, it was football worth paying for as they often showed an ability to open their opponent’s defense with quick passing interchanges. Keep an eye on Conor Quilligan and Jay Mcgowan in the starting side as well as Reuben Awaritefe off the bench ahead of this one.
Northern Tigers FC v Hills United FC; Saturday 18 March, 7pm, North Turramurra Recreation Area
There’s plenty of potential in this one as Northern Tigers host Hills United looking for their first win in three weeks.
Particularly in the early weeks of a season, things change quickly as the Northern Tigers are finding out. A couple of weeks ago, we were looking at a side who had won three games in a row however a loss to Dulwich Hill and a draw against Bonnyrigg sees them longing for a victory here.
And last weeks draw with Bonnyrigg was a result which was tough to take having held a two-goal advantage in the second half before the then hosts came back. This stands as a test of character after that one against a good side in Hills United.
Speaking of which, Luke Casserly’s side are now sitting in second place in a three-way tie for the competition lead. Unlike their hosts, they will come in with the momentum of a second half comeback behind them after Dunbar Rovers gave them a scare.
The halftime introductions of Wade Giovenali and Jordan Parfait were key in changing the momentum of the game and that round six victory has taken them beyond the amount of wins they managed in a full campaign last season. In terms of a player to watch here, keep an eye on Thomas Makko who scored the clubs man of the match award last time out.
Rydalmere Lions FC v Macarthur Rams FC; Saturday 18 March, 7pm, Rydalmere Park
Finally, Macarthur Rams and Rydalmere Lions face off in a league two preliminary final rematch at Rydalmere Park.
And we can only hope that this one lives up to the action on that night which saw Macarthur Rams take out a thriller. Turning our focus to this one, both these sides have had a relatively uneventful start to League One, both sitting in midtable with three wins each.
Rydalmere coming into this one having dispatched of Mounties Wanderers last weekend, a win which was a positive response to two defeats in previous weeks.
In fact, that’s a notable thing to give Paul Fraser’s side credit for having shown bounce back ability on a few occasions this season. Look out for right back Timothy Wohlfiel who both scored last weekend and put in a man of the match performance.
While Macarthur Rams did similar with a round six victory over Central Coast United, Brett Hewit’s side putting together one of their better performances with Daniel Bittar scoring a brace with two impressive goals.
Is revenge on the cards or will Macarthur Rams prove last years final result was no coincidence. Join us for the review Sunday to find out.
By Justin Smith