Round 2 Preview – League One Men’s

League ONE Men's Round Preview 2

Cobwebs shaken off after the first round, round 2 of the FNSW League One Men’s competition is fast approaching and as such time to look at this weekend’s action.

The first of three games for all our teams in the space of seven days which brings the chance for some early momentum. Our match of the round takes place at Jensen Park, Friday night.

Match of the Round: Bankstown City Lions v Northern Tigers; Friday 23 February, 8pm, Jensen Park

Our match of the round takes us to Jensen Park as Bankstown City host Northern Tigers this Friday night.

It’s a meeting between two sides who we expect to feature in the top half of the table later this season who didn’t quite get off to the best start.

We’ll start with Bankstown City Lions who suffered a disappointing defeat in our season opener against Inter Lions. Post game in reflecting on the game, there was a sense that they weren’t up for the fight at times despite always being within touching distance of their opponents.

In brighter news, Mabior Garang scored a goal on debut for the club in the second half and there’s no doubt there’s quality in this side with the likes of Shun Maeta, captain Devante Clut as well as Rhett Dasilva all starting that game.

Starting the season with two straight home games, it’s important that they get a result here so they’re not playing catch up early.

Another week, another game against a team with “Lions” in their name for Northern Tigers. They started the season in steady fashion with a score draw at home against Rydalmere. After which, there was a touch of frustration after struggling to put their visitors away with a man advantage.

From an individual perspective, Hiyori Kawaguchi had a return one can only dream of with two goals in the first period. Though they will be without captain Shervin Adeli for this one whose overseas with the Futsalroos this week. Northern Tigers were a top four side away from home last season, can they continue that here?

Reminder that you can catch this live on the FNSW youtube page this Friday night with Nikola Pozder on the call.

Other Features: (These will rotate throughout the season)

Dulwich Hill v Bulls FC Academy; Saturday 24 February, 7pm, Arlington Oval

Two first round winners in Dulwich Hill and Bulls FC Academy face off in round two action at Arlington Oval.

The Tony Valavanis project at Dulwich Hill got off to the perfect start in 2024 with a victory away from home. One of the things that needed to improve there going into this season was their away record and confidence will be flowing heading into round two this weekend.

Though it wasn’t perfect, the visitors on that occasion withstood pressure in the first half before bouncing back in the second period. Daniel Fornito scored twice but Valavanis singled out Goncalo Paradanta and Liam Spiropoulos as two key figures in the comeback victory off the bench.

Bulls FC Academy on the other hand made a winning start to life in the division with a local derby victory over Macarthur Rams at home. A 1-0 victory is unusual for an academy side but it’s reason for encouragement going forward this season.

In truth, the result could have gone either way with the game opening up in the second half but a Ariath Piol goal from the penalty spot proved the difference. Their first trip away from home, let’s see how they go here…

Hakoah FC v Canterbury Bankstown; Sunday 25 February, 4:30pm, Hensley Athletic Field

One of two feature matches which involve two sides searching for their first win. Hakoah FC host Canterbury Bankstown at Hensley Athletic in our Sunday afternoon kick off.

Hakoah FC come into their first home game of the season after sharing the points with Dunbar Rovers away from home. It’s never easy to perform after one of your teammates picks up a serious injury but they did just that clawing their way back to parity in the first half before being perhaps unlucky to take three points in the second half.

Samuel Young stands out as their main threat coming into this one, scoring last week on the back of an impressive pre-season. They will be looking to improve their home record in 2024 after a disappointing campaign at Hensley last season.

It’s all about improving week to week for Canterbury Bankstown. Having undergone one of the more challenging off seasons in the competition in terms of player turnover, they went down to SD Raiders last weekend at Ernie Smith Reserve.

However, it will be tough to shake off that result having had a man advantage for a large period of the game. Look out for Bonmyeong Koo and Marco Turpeinen to lead their charge both this week and going forward.

This fixture saw the home side win both games last season and Hakoah FC will be favourites for this one.

Quickfire Previews

Rydalmere Lions v Bonnyrigg White Eagles; Saturday 24 February, 6:30pm, Rydalmere Park

Rydalmere Lions kicked off their season in positive fashion last weekend with a point against Northern Tigers on the road. Down to ten men for an hour of their fixture, Marcus Lal scored a late equalizer to give them a boost heading into this one.

Bonnyrigg White Eagles will be determined to bounce back after a defeat last weekend however. Against a ten men Mt Druitt side, they couldn’t find cohesion in the final third throughout the game succumbing to a 1-0 defeat.

SD Raiders v Mt Druitt Town Rangers; Saturday 24 February, 7pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

The SD Raiders move on to their next test with plenty of confidence after last weekend. Playing with ten men for 75 minutes, they scored twice either side of their red card through Yonatu Sebhatu and Riley Cox-Barlow. They will be without Mario Aleksik here.

Mt Druitt Town Rangers themselves played a portion of their first-round match with ten-men. And like their hosts, they ended up victorious with Charles Mendy scoring the crucial winner. Ivan Sunjic missing this one through suspension.

Dunbar Rovers v Blacktown Spartans; Saturday 24 February, 7pm, Fraser Park

Game two of a three game homestand to start the season, this game will be of importance for Dunbar Rovers after last weeks draw. Against Hakoah last weekend, they took the lead before their opponents equalised eventually settling for a draw.

Blacktown Spartans will play their first away game of the season here after faring well on the road in 2023. Ben Rollison will want his side to put together a 90-minute performance here after losing a two-goal lead last weekend. Aedon Kyra an important player for them here.

Macarthur Rams v Nepean FC; Saturday 24 February, 7pm, Lynwood Park

Macarthur Rams will feel battle-hardened after their round one defeat against Bulls FC Academy. Darren Jones was proud of his side’s efforts after the game and there will be a focus on getting things right in the final third ahead of this one.

Their opposition Nepean FC had a false start last weekend with their round one fixture washed out. As such, this provides the chance to make a statement on the road, something they were able to do last season with a 7-3-4 away record.

UNSW FC v Inter Lions FC; Saturday 24 February, 7pm, Village Green

2nd time lucky? UNSW will kick off their season this Saturday night after a false start last weekend. The students were hard to beat on their home ground last season in general and they haven’t conceded a goal at the Village Green in over 270 minutes.

There aren’t many tougher prospects than this for them in round one though. Inter Lions started where they left off in 2023 with an impressive victory over Bankstown City. A well organised side from the start, they will be favourites for this one.

By Justin Smith