Round 15 Preview – League One Men’s

a man holding a football ball

Round 15 sees the last set of fixtures before the halfway point of the FNSW League One Men’s season. As such, there’s plenty on the line particularly in the top two race while our match of the round sees near neighbours face off as Dulwich Hill host UNSW FC.

Match of the Round: Dulwich Hill v UNSW FC; Saturday 18 May, 7pm, Arlington Oval

Something has to give in our match of the round this weekend as Dulwich Hill host UNSW FC at Arlington Oval.

The hosts Dulwich Hill have found themselves in the midst of a bad run of form while UNSW FC have struggled to pick up points on the road so far this season.

It has been a tough month or so for our hosts for this one in Dulwich Hill. Losing four games in as many starts, they most recently went down to both Rydalmere Lions and Canterbury Bankstown in consecutive 2-0 losses.

As such, there is improvement to be shown across the park ahead of this one. The goals have very much dried up for Tony Valavanis and his side while they are yet to keep a clean sheet so far this season. In between times, they also went out of the Australia Cup in extra time against NPL side NWS Spirit, Goncalo Paradanta and Liam Spiropoulos both converting penalties in that one, a game in which they took the lead twice.

Last weekend was a frustrating one for UNSW FC who were denied their third straight victory at home. A combination of a lack of clinical touch in the first half and not having that bit of luck in the second half saw them fall to defeat against Bonnyrigg White Eagles.

Sitting in 10th position, those two victories before last weekend have seen them climb the table away from any danger. Look out for Thomas Quilligan and Jeremy Cox in this one. While Jack Fulton leads their goal scoring account with six goals this season in thirteen starts. They will fancy their chances in this one against a side struggling for form.

An important game particularly for the hosts, you can catch this one on the Football NSW youtube page under the live tab.

Other Features

Hakoah FC v Bulls FC Academy; Saturday 18 May, 4:30pm, Hensley Athletic Field

Capping off a period where our top three sides all play each other, Hakoah FC host Bulls FC Academy in another blockbuster this weekend.

Both sides picking up round 14 victories, there’s just two points separating these two sides coming into this one.

We’ll start with Hakoah here who left it late claiming their victory over Northern Tigers last weekend. With just one defeat to their name so far in 2024, they have claimed eight wins and five draws in their opening fourteen rounds.

Back to the Northern Tigers game however and it was Paul Araullo who changed the game for Craig Sharpley’s side who were backing up from midweek action. While Ginjiro Chiba picked up his second goal in as many weeks before Nicholas Drummond scored an injury time winner. They have scored a goal after the 65th minute ten times this season already.

There aren’t many tougher tasks than Bulls FC Academy though. The young academy side were dominant in our top of the table match of the round last weekend. One point behind the Town Rangers, a win here could, send them to the top.

It was an impressive showing across the board last weekend as Craig Noone’s side turned on the style. Zane Helweh is a player we haven’t touched on a lot this season but a goal last weekend was definitely deserved, While Mason Wells scored a hat trick in the 7-1 victory. They have picked up 13 points so far on the road this season.

Canterbury Bankstown v Bonnyrigg White Eagles; Saturday 18 May, 5pm, Jensen Park

Two round 14 winners face off as Canterbury Bankstown host Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Jensen Park, Saturday night.

Canterbury Bankstown are in the best form across the competition with four straight victories while Bonnyrigg White Eagles course corrected after two defeats the week before.

Climbing the table into sixth position, Canterbury Bankstown are proving tough to beat approaching the half way point of the season. Their last defeat came over a month ago against Mt Druitt Town Rangers, in recent weeks making themselves hard to score against.

Indeed they haven’t conceded a goal in the last three fixtures so their defence has definitely earned a shout out here. While Finley Hayhurst picked up his second goal in the past month in the win over Dulwich Hill, joined by Taiga Kawano on the score sheet. They are unbeaten at Jensen Park this season.

The return of Brian “Bomber” Brown to the dugout saw Bonnyrigg White Eagles pick up their sixth victory of the season last weekend. With some players returning to the first team side in forthcoming weeks, they are hoping to set up an eight game home run with a win here.

Sometimes in football, you just need that little bit of luck and Bonnyrigg got that last weekend with their first goal changing the momentum of their fixture against UNSW. That said, Mason Versi was impressive before Nikola Krljar scored a good individual effort after the hour.

Quickfire Previews

Nepean FC v Rydalmere Lions; Friday 17 May, 8pm, Cook Park (St Marys)

A chance for a reset, the first half of the season has been a tough one for Nepean FC with just three results in their opening 13 games. Five defeats in their last five, they will be hoping luck turns their way in this one against a side three places above them. Their last defeat was a heavy one, will we see a response here?

Indeed both these sides will be itching to get back on the pitch this weekend. Before last weekends postponed fixture, Rydalmere Lions secured their fourth win of the season over Dulwich Hill. Still early days in the Abbas Saad regime, a victory here could see them climb further up the table.

SD Raiders v Northern Tigers; Saturday 18 May, 7pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

SD Raiders find themselves in unfamiliar territory as of late in the bottom half of the table. Back-to-back defeats in round 12 and 13, they will be determined to pick up a result at home in this one. They have struggled to find the back of the net across the season, something they will look to rectify here.

Northern Tigers on the other hand will consider themselves due for a win this week after a topsy-turvy run of form. Last weekend there wasn’t much between them and Hakoah in a tight contest. Hiyori Kawaguchi scoring a late equaliser before a late winner came at the other end.

Blacktown Spartans v Inter Lions; Saturday 18 May, 7pm, Blacktown Football Park

Struggling for consistency results wise, Blacktown Spartans face a tough ask this weekend. In 8th position after 14 rounds, they are caught in a congested mid-table with sides threatening to pull away above them. Last weekend, they tasted defeat against Bankstown City with Jamie Percevski scoring a consolation in the second half.

That tough ask is in the shape of Inter Lions who have found their consistency in recent weeks. Three straight wins including one against Macarthur Rams last weekend has them roaring. JJ Morfitis was the standout with a brace but they will be backing up from cup action midweek against Coniston FC.

Dunbar Rovers v Mt Druitt Town Rangers; Saturday 18 May, 7pm, Fraser Park

Dunbar Rovers will return to action in their fixture with Mt Druitt Town Rangers this weekend. With just one point in their last five fixtures, a week off probably benefited them ahead of this one. All seven of their points have come at the venue this season, can they spring an upset in this one?

Not quite panic stations but Mt Druitt Town Rangers have dropped a few points in recent fixtures. Last weekend was their toughest yet going down 7-1 to Bulls FC Academy. Charles Mendy scored in the first half while Malcom Ward will be sitting this one out after a red card. Will we see a response here?

Macarthur Rams v Bankstown City; Saturday 18 May, 7pm, Lynwood Park

A second straight home game for Macarthur Rams brings a chance of redemption after a defeat against Inter Lions last weekend. Sitting on 15 points, they aren’t in imminent danger from the bottom two, but they will want a result to continue the momentum they picked up with the recent coaching change.

They face a Bankstown City side who are back in good form with three straight victories. In fourth place, this is a big chance to make up ground on teams above given Hakoah play Bulls academy. Goalkeeper Stevan Savicic had perhaps his best performance of the season last weekend, he faces his former club in this one.

By Justin Smith