Round 30 Preview – League Two Men’s


Round Thirty, the final round of the Football New South Wales League Two Men’s season, has arrived and there is still one final major position up for grabs, which is the promotion play-off position of 2nd, with two teams in contention – Nepean FC and the Newcastle Jets.

The Match of the Round this week will focus on 2nd-placed Nepean FC’s duel at home to Sydney University SFC, which will kick-off at the same time as the 3rd-placed Newcastle Jets away match to Hawkesbury City FC – buckle up for two hours of high drama.

Before that, though, Gladesville Ryde Magic finished off their season with a catch-up match away to Parramatta FC.


Tuesday, 22nd August 2023

Parramatta FC 1-1 Gladesville Ryde Magic

Gladesville Ryde Magic came from behind in their final match of the season as they drew 1-1 away to Parramatta FC at Melita Stadium.

Two Magic youth players were given their debuts in the match – seventeen-year-olds Maverick Anderson and Matt Ashcroft, both long-term Magic youth players.

The match was also the final match for Magic Captain, Chris Gaitatzis, who announced his retirement following the clash; however, he will return to the club next season in a coaching capacity.

The Magic started well through David Ustimenko, who had a long-range strike go wide, while three minutes later he had a shot which rolled across the face of the Parramatta goal.

Gaitatzis had a shot from long-range which went over the crossbar, while at the other end Parramatta had a long shot of their own saved by Magic goalkeeper, Gabriel Koliomihos.

Gaitatzis continued to be dangerous for the Magic with a shot from the edge of the box saved by Parramatta goalkeeper, Jameson Hinwood, while Parramatta struck the side netting at the other end.

Then, in the 44th minute, Parramatta launched an attacking corner directly into the box; the ball was headed onto the crossbar before it fell to Alhaji Bangura, who slotted the ball home to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.

The Magic wanted to fire back in the second half and continued to fire shots at the Parramatta goal, but they were off target, such as one from Kosta Tsournahakis.

However, they plugged away and were rewarded in the 70th minute when David Ustimenko was found with a long ball in space; he delivered a low cross into the box for Gaitatzis, who took a shot towards goal which was deflected by Parramatta captain Blake Steward into the back of his own net.

The Magic captain thought he had a goal in his final match for the club but will have to settle for an assist for the equalising goal via a deflection.

The remainder of the match saw both teams attack, looking for a winner late, but a mixture of erratic shooting and good defensive work kept the result at 1-1.

Gladesville Ryde Magic already had their 4th-placed finish assured following last weekend but finish the season on 46 points due to their bye in Round Thirty, while Parramatta FC moved to 25 points, two ahead of last-placed Inner West Hawks FC.


Friday, 25th August 2023

Match of the Round: Nepean FC vs Sydney University SFC, 8pm @ Wanderers Football Park

Previous Meeting: Sydney University SFC 1-3 Nepean FC

It is crunch-time for Nepean FC – they have their destiny in their hands; they sit in 2nd place on 54 points, one point ahead of the 3rd-placed Newcastle Jets, ahead of their clash at home to 13th-placed Sydney University SFC.

Both sides will have plenty to play for as Sydney University SFC will want to avoid a last-placed finish.

Nepean were 3-1 victors against Uni in their reverse fixture this season and will settle for nothing less, knowing a slip-up could well be capitalised on by the Newcastle Jets in the battle for 2nd.

The hosts will be under no illusions as to how tough this clash will be with so many factors at play – the pressure of fighting for a promotion play-off match against League One side Mounties Wanderers FC or Dunbar Rovers FC awaits.

They have held their nerve lately, though, and find themselves twelve matches unbeaten, including seven wins; they will be well-prepared for the challenge Uni will pose to them with their strong play in midfield.

Look for a leader or two to step up for Nepean, where a strong defence from the beginning will be a priority in what is no doubt their most important match of the season.

Sydney University SFC, meanwhile, have their own battle – they sit two points ahead of last-placed Inner West Hawks FC and would love a win not only to ensure they do not finish bottom, but to have the biggest say on the promotion play-off race thus far.

They have endured a tough time, winless in their past seven matches, but with one final round to ensure they can rescue some pride, they will be hopeful of showing their positive signs for the next year.

Look for them to be strong in midfield to set the tone for success, where they would love nothing more than to be the ultimate dream-killers for Nepean FC, as well as rescue their own pride ahead of a strong look towards next season.

With plenty for both sides to play for at opposite ends of the ladder, expect plenty of fire in this encounter, where nerves and quality will be tested in the battle for promotion.


Hawkesbury City FC vs Newcastle Jets, 8pm @ David Bertenshaw Field

Previous Meeting: Newcastle Jets 4-1 Hawkesbury City FC

It is also crunch-time for the 3rd-placed Newcastle Jets as they travel to face 9th-placed Hawkesbury City FC in their pursuit of promotion, where they sit on 53 points, one point behind 2nd-placed Nepean FC.

It is a case of form vs fire as these two teams meet in high spirits to end the season, where the outcome will have consequences not just for a week, but for an entire season.

The Jets were 4-1 victors in their Round Fifteen clash and will hope to double the dose as they look to capitalise on any slip-up from Nepean FC in the simultaneous kick-off, where the news will filter through.

Hawkesbury City FC are one of the form teams of the competition; nine matches unbeaten, including seven wins, has seen them skyrocket from near last to 9th on the ladder.

A top-half finish is out of reach for the Hawks, but they could rise to 8th and will want to avoid ending the season as low as 10th; add to that the ability to affect the promotion play-off race and the Hawks should be fired up at home in front of a loud home crowd.

Expect the Hawks to attack the whole night, where the fear of losing will not stop them from claiming the biggest scalp of the season so far.

The Newcastle Jets are hoping to join fellow A-League Men’s academy side Bulls FC Academy in League One Men’s next season after their relegation from the NPL NSW Men’s competition.

They have plenty of firepower up top with Ezra Palombini and Xavier Bertoncello with 17 and 14 goals, respectively, 3rd and 4th on the top goal scorers charts for the season, respectfully.

If there was ever a match where the pressure could tell on the Jets, it is now when a draw would be enough if Nepean lose, but a win will be what they will aim for; expect them to fire plenty of shots in a match which may get frantic late if the scores are level.

With a top-half finish and promotion on the line, respectively, for these two sides, there should be no shortage of shots, drama, and action; expect both sides to have plenty of chances at goal where a case of ‘who wants it more’ may be the difference.


Saturday, 26th August 2023

Parramatta FC vs South Coast Flame FC, 5pm @ Melita Stadium

Previous Meeting: South Coast Flame FC 0-2 Parramatta FC

Two sides who have endured tough seasons will hope to end on a high note as 14th-placed Parramatta FC host 11th-placed South Coast Flame FC at Melita Stadium.

These two teams have endured a rough second half to the season, particularly, and will hope to build on the positives as they look for their 8th and 9th wins of the season, respectively.

Parramatta FC overcame the Flame in the Round Fifteen Match of the Round between these two sides, where an early goal from Abdul Aljabery and a late goal from Abdullatif Ghazzal proved to be the difference; expect there to be plenty of drama as Parramatta chase their third league double of the season.

The Eagles have endured a tough time lately with only one win and one draw from their pat fourteen matches this season but will hope to put in a good performance in their final outing for the season, where a win could take them as high as 12th.

They play a third match in a week to finish the season, which they hope will not hinder them as they look to avoid a last-placed finish – they sit two points above last-placed Inner West Hawks FC, where a draw would only be enough to avoid last-place if the Hawks fail to win their match.

Ahead of the final match and a new season next year where they hope to improve, their discipline and quality will be tested one final time ahead of an off-season they hope will reap rewards.

South Coast Flame FC have fallen from their strong first half of the season, with only one win and two draws in the second half; they will hope to end with a bang and look at the positive signs ahead of next season.

An indicator for their season has been their game management, which the young side will hope to improve ahead of next year, while they have promising young players, including Alexander and Samuel Alston, as well as leaders in Jacob Poscoliero and James Baldacchino in defence, who they hope to build around for next season.

They will hope to end the season on a high away to the Eagles and look at the positives; a win would ensure an 11th-placed finish while a loss opens them up to finishing in 12th.

With two teams hoping to end the season on a high and build on the positives for the next, pride and passion will be on the line, where the more passionate of the two sides will go a long way to picking up the three points.


UNSW FC vs Hurstville FC, 7pm @ The Village Green

Previous Meeting: Hurstville FC 1-1 UNSW FC

League Two Men’s Champions, UNSW FC, will hope to end the season at home strongly against a side out to spoil the party in 10th-placed Hurstville FC.

UNSW were crowned Champions following their 1-0 away win over Inner West Hawks FC last week, while Hurstville FC have found form lately with back-to-back wins and would love to end the season strongly as they look to build for the next.

Kevin Lopes’ first-half strike for UNSW was cancelled out in the second half by Mouhamed Hamdache in the Round Fifteen clash between these two sides; this clash could throw up anything following a week of celebration for the students against a hard-working Hurstville outfit.

The league-winners will hope to achieve one more feat before the season ends and that is to secure the Club Championship; they sit on 340 points, two ahead of the Newcastle Jets in that battle and a win in the under-20s as well as first-grade would ensure they take out that mantle, too, in an historic season for the club.

Another more personal milestone would be for Kevin Lopes, who has a two-goal lead at the top of the top goal scorers list ahead of the final round; he sits on 23 goals, two ahead of Bankstown United FC’s Mitchell Cross and would love to add another accolade to UNSW’s strong season.

Following perhaps a slightly more relaxed week, UNSW FC will be as determined as ever to lift the league trophy following a victory.

Hurstville FC, meanwhile, are finishing the season on a positive with back-to-back wins and would love to add a third to that collection against the Champions.

They found solidity in defence with their first clean sheet since Round Twenty and will hope to use that as a base to assert some control in the match; look for Allie Jayee to put in a big performance at the back, as well as Lachlan Birrell, and for their attack to look to fire through the likes of Jesse and Paul Gagro, as well as Mouhamed Hamdache.

A win could take them as high as 8th while they have nothing to lose as they cannot drop below 10th; look for Hurstville to play without fear in the final round.

In front of a home crowd welcoming home the League Champions, expect UNSW FC to give a good account for themselves as they chase victory before they lift the league trophy, while Hurstville will be out to sour the celebrations.


Prospect United SC vs Inner West Hawks FC, 7pm @ William Lawson Park

Previous Meeting: Inner West Hawks FC 2-4 Prospect United SC

A clash which will have big ramifications in the middle and lower end of the ladder awaits as 5th-placed Prospect United SC host last-placed Inner West Hawks FC.

Prospect have endured a rough second half to the season and have been inconsistent, while the Hawks have fallen and will want all three points to save some pride ahead of the end of the season.

The last time these two teams clashed, a six-goal thriller saw Prospect prevail away from home; expect there to be plenty more chances for goals in this clash as the two teams chase their own bit of pride.

Prospect have found the second half of the season tough but will hope their squad can gel one last time as they look to mount a challenge towards the top next season, starting with one final good showing at home to the Hawks.

Look for them to bring enthusiasm to this contest early as they look to complete their fourth league-double of the season.

A win would ensure a 5th-placed finish on 43 points, three points behind 4th-placed Gladesville Ryde Magic, while a loss would open them up to finishing the season as low as 7th.

Inner West Hawks FC, meanwhile, would love to end the season on a positive note as they look to escape last-place; they sit on 23 points, two points behind 14th-placed Parramatta FC and 13th-placed Sydney University SFC.

In last week’s Match of the Round at home to the Champions, UNSW FC, they did not look out of place and showed they could bring the fight for the whole ninety minutes; they will compete hard again this week.

Look for the Hawks to hit with pace up front and fight with all they have, where a win would help them avoid a last-place finish and potentially help them end the season as high as 13th.

One final push to finish as high as they can this season awaits both sides, where they will both be hopeful of showing positive signs for next season; expect a fighting contest where one moment could decide it.


Fraser Park FC vs Western Rage, 7pm @ Fraser Park

Previous Meeting: Western Rage 2-2 Fraser Park FC

The last round of the season is bringing with it plenty of chances to improve final league standings and for 6th-placed Fraser Park FC and the 13th-placed Western Rage, that is no different.

Both sides have been in inconsistent form to end the season but will be hopeful of ending it positively as the two sides meet with high hopes for next season.

In their last clash, a late equaliser from Fraser Park’s Shu Torihara rescued a point for the away side; expect this contest to provide just as much entertainment as both teams look to end the season on a high note.

Fraser Park FC will hope to pick up an important three points, which could see them finish the season in 5th, while a loss could see them end the season in 7th.

They will want a quick and forceful response from their 6-2 loss away to the Newcastle Jets last week and will hope a positive end to the season is ahead for them.

Look for the likes of Shu Torihara and Samuel Shepherd to fire Fraser Park to success, while they will hope to focus defensively after their run out last week.

The Western Rage only picked up four points in the first half of the season and have picked up 24 in the second half, which shows their progress they will hope to maintain ahead of next season, but as for this week they will be without Jad Moussa and Jacob Carluccio.

Rage Head Coach Carlo Ianni will hope to end the season well against a friend in Fraser Park Head Coach, Alex Araujo, where he will let his side’s football do the talking.

They were bottom of the league for a large part of this season but their seven wins from thirteen matches in the second half of the season has them poised for a finish as high as 11th if they win on the weekend, while a loss could see them end the season in 14th.

With plenty of pride and personal bragging rights to play for, expect a clash between these two sides which should be filled with fun and a storyline or two.


Camden Tigers FC vs Bankstown United FC, 7pm @ Ron Dine Memorial Reserve

Previous Meeting: Bankstown United FC 4-2 Camden Tigers FC

This match will decide which of these two sides will finish the season in the top half of the ladder; will it be 8th-placed Camden Tigers FC or 7th-placed Bankstown United FC?

These two teams have had contrasting ends to the season which sees this clash take on more importance than they would have thought a month ago – Bankstown have lost four matches in a row while the Tigers have won three in a row to close the gap to just one point between the two teams.

Mitchell Cross was the hat-trick hero for Bankstown in the reverse fixture and would love to repeat the dose to not only give his side a top-half finish, but also help him towards potentially finishing the season as the league top goal scorer – he is on 21 goals for the season, two behind UNSW FC’s Kevin Lopes.

The Tigers will hope to take all three points to cap off a resurgent second half of the season for the Camden club; they have picked up 23 points in the second half of the season so far compared to 13 in the first half and will hope for a 7th-placed finish rather than a potential 10th-placed finish.

The two clubs have a good relationship so a good encounter can be expected; regardless of the result, Camden Head Coach Dean Bradley said his side will shout Bankstown dinner afterwards.

Following their bye last week, look for Camden to finish the season with strong attacking flair in front of a home crowd hoping for the Tigers to finish in the top half in a show of what they will be capable of next season.

For Bankstown United FC, they have endured a rough final month to the season and will hope to ensure a top-half finish with a draw at minimum, while a win could see them end the season as high as 5th.

The aforementioned Mitchell Cross will be the main goal threat for Bankstown as he chases Kevin Lopes for the top goal scorer mantle; expect to see him be at his threatening best.

Despite players out injured, they will be hopeful of turning the tide and pick up a result against the form and momentum of the two teams.

As far as clashes go, a battle for a top-half finish will not be short of importance for these two teams; expect a match with plenty of chances and a contest where a bit of history could be made, one way or another.

Bye – Gladesville Ryde Magic

By Football New South Wales League Two Men’s Reporter, Dylan Costa @_dylancosta