Round 27 Preview – League One Men’s


Entering the final month of the FNSW League One Men’s competition, Round 27 serves up some important fixtures at either end of the table. Let’s take a look at the weekend ahead.

Match of the Round: St George FC v Hills United FC; Saturday 5 August, 7pm, Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre

Our match of the round takes us to Sydney’s south, as St George FC host Hills United at Rockdale Ilinden Sports Centre.

St George FC will need to bounce back after their defeat to Bonnyrigg White Eagles last weekend while Hills United maintained their lead up top with a clinical 4-2 victory over Blacktown Spartans.

An end to their unbeaten run and top two threat? There was one result which St George really couldn’t afford last weekend and unfortunately it happened.

Prior to that game they had won four of their last five, so they won’t be easily beaten in this one. And at home, only this week’s opposition are better than them. There still is quality across the park heading to this one and keep a particular eye on captain Troy Danaskos and the midfield pairing of Conor Quilligan and Harry Jones.

Hills United were the side to come away with a victory in the last game these two faced off back in April. Not much else needs to be said about this side who have a two-point gap at the top.

Three wins in their last four games has them in good form leading up to this one including their win over Blacktown Spartans last weekend. They were clinical scoring four goals without many more chances. Keep an eye out for Jamal Belkadi who scored a brace last weekend and their threat in transition if they go ahead.

It’s set up once again for a great Saturday night of action. Be sure to check it out in person or on NPL.TV.

Dunbar Rovers FC v Hakoah FC; Saturday 5 August, 7pm, Fraser Park

It’s a crucial battle in the lower half of the table as Dunbar Rovers host Hakoah FC at Fraser Park.

The Rovers secured their 8th victory of the season last weekend, while Hakoah FC went down to Northern Tigers in round 26 action.

The hosts are perhaps a result or two away from securing their status in the league after last weeks victory over Canterbury Bankstown.

On 27 points, they hold a four-point buffer over Mounties Wanderers. Last week being perhaps their best victory of the season on paper. Olivier Beltran-Woodward continues to provide goals with three in his last four games and he was joined on the scoresheet by Aram Tayebi and Andrew Alvarenga.

Like their hosts on this occasion, Hakoah FC aren’t out of the woods just yet however unlikely it may seem.

Last weekend was a disappointing one for the Eastern Suburbs based club having held a numerical player advantage for 80 minutes of their fixture with Northern Tigers. Indeed, that is where their season has faltered to an extent, in the close matches with seven of their losses coming by just one goal.

Canterbury Bankstown FC v Central Coast United FC; Saturday 5 August, 7pm, Jensen Park

Two sides looking to recapture some form meet as Canterbury Bankstown welcome Central Coast United to Jensen Park.

Tasting their second defeat in a row, Canterbury Bankstown went down to Dunbar Rovers last weekend. While Central Coast United got thumped 6-0 at home by the SD Raiders.

Despite similar recent form in the league, their fortunes couldn’t be any more different across the season. Defying expectations are Canterbury Bankstown who sit in fourth position.

Last weekend was a tough loss though falling to Dunbar Rovers away from home. They are in the midst of a bit of an injury crisis, and it is showing in their performances, they will want to finish the season strong though.

We knew survival was going to be tough for Central Coast United but it’s still disappointing to see them where they are with four rounds remaining.

Last weekend was a tough watch for the pirates going down by six goals against SD Raiders, so if nothing else, pride is at stake here. Dean Heffernan has since stepped aside with the pirates using internal personnel for the rest of the season.

Blacktown Spartans FC v Inter Lions FC; Saturday 5 August, 7pm, Blacktown Football Park

Time for another mid table outing as Blacktown Spartans host Inter Lions in a Saturday night showdown at Blacktown Football Park.

The Spartans have had a rollercoaster run of form of late, last week conceding defeat to Hills United, while Inter Lions look to be in good form ahead of a cup tie next Thursday night!

Brave in defeat, Blacktown Spartans were perhaps a tad unlucky going down to Hills United last weekend at Landen Stadium.

Their opposition was efficient converting their chances in front of goal hence the defeat but the Spartans kept going. Peter Pelekanos scored from the penalty spot (and off the field as well, congrats mate) and Angus Chance also found the back of the net as well.

Yes, the Inter Lions are building nicely towards their cup tie next week with two victories and a draw in their last three.

Last weekend they shared the points with Macarthur Rams in their second meeting this season, conceding their first goal in three weeks. Fikret Berisha was the goal scorer in that one, while this week will also see the return of coach John Theo.

Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC v Bankstown City FC; Saturday 5 August, 7pm, Bonnyrigg Sports Club

It’s another derby day in Sydney’s South-West as Bonnyrigg White Eagles host Bankstown City at home this weekend.

Bonnyrigg claimed perhaps their most important three points of the season against St George last weekend, while Bankstown City conceded late to go down to Mounties Wanderers.

Victory last week for Bomber Browns side saw the top three side become a two-team shootout at the top and with a round 30 clash between the sides.

Back to the short term however and the Eagles are soaring winning four of their last five games. Last weekend, they showed confidence in their game plan to claim the victory. Zac Sfiligoi coming up with the decisive goal. They’ll be heavy favourites in this one.

Bankstown City will be looking forward to play the role of spoiler however with three points giving them further insurance over the Mounties in 15th.

They will have to reverse their form however after losing to Mounties Wanderers last weekend at home which wasn’t an ideal result. They lost the first meeting between the two back in April.

Mounties Wanderers FC v SD Raiders FC; Saturday 5 August, 7pm, Cook Park (Mt Pritchard)

Mounties Wanderers will be searching for a second straight win when they host SD Raiders at Cook Park, Saturday night.

In 15th spot, they kept touch with the teams above them grabbing a late win over Bankstown City last weekend, while SD Raiders were rampant in dismantling Central Coast United by six goals.

As such, this isn’t an easy task for Mounties Wanderers who have four games to avoid a home and away relegation playoff. However, their morale will be boosted after last weekend’s victory.

And as mentioned before, it’s the kind of moment that can boost a side. Anthony Vastag grabbing the decisive goal, his third for the club since moving from Macarthur. While last weekend was also just their second clean sheet of the campaign.

On the other hand, SD Raiders is coming into this one after their most comprehensive victory of the season.

Against Central Coast United, they scored six goals in a dominant display highlighted by a Mark Cindric hat-trick. While Noah Chianese has also returned in recent weeks to give the Raiders more firepower as they look to finish the season strong.

Northern Tigers FC v Rydalmere Lions FC; Saturday 5 August, 7pm, North Turramurra Recreation Area

Northern Tigers will continue their charge in the second half of the season when they line up against Rydalmere Lions at North Turramurra.

The Tigers had a morale boosting 1-0 win over Hakoah FC last weekend, while Rydalmere Lions secured their first point in three weeks in their contest with Dulwich Hill.

Some of the best victories come against the odds and that was the case for Northern Tigers last weekend in their win over Hakoah.

Down to ten for over 80 mins of the contest, Adam Hett’s side managed to graft out the victory. Shervin Adeli will miss this one because of the red card. While we must mention Kai Denton again who has 28 goals in as many games across all competitions as a danger man.

Their opposition Rydalmere Lions were a bit unlucky to only come away with a draw against Dulwich Hill at home last weekend.

Once again conceding a goal from a set piece, they’ll look to tighten up in that aspect ahead of this one. Kyle Sande was awarded the internal man of the match, Aidan Taouil found the back of the net and Adil Toska was solid last weekend so keep an eye out for them.

Dulwich Hill FC v Macarthur Rams FC; Saturday 5 August, 7pm, Arlington Oval

Another important matchup in the bottom half of the table, Arlington Oval hosts Dulwich Hill and Macarthur Rams this weekend.

Both these sides drew their last game, Dulwich Hill against Rydalmere Lions while Macarthur Rams took a point away from home against Inter Lions.

Fresh off two consecutive score draws, Dulwich Hill will be aiming to go one better in this one as they look to crack the 30-point mark.

In the game against Rydalmere, Dulwich Hill had a slow start against a side that surprised them. However coach Tony Valavanis praised his side for their response as they put in a much better performance after the break.

Macarthur Rams have bounced back from a 4-0 defeat a few weeks ago well with four points in their two games following.

Last week they took away a handy point from their fixture with Inter Lions away from home. They have struggled away from home this season but five points in their last four away fixtures will give them confidence ahead of this one.

By Justin Smith