Round 20 Preview – League One Men’s

a person holding a football ball

Two top six clashes highlight round 20 of the FNSW League One Men’s competition this weekend.

With plenty at stake in the race for the top two spots, it’s also important to keep an eye on the other end as our match of the round takes us to Fraser Park for Dunbar Rovers against Rydalmere.

Match of the Round: Dunbar Rovers v Rydalmere Lions; Saturday 15th June, 7pm, Fraser Park

Our match of the round takes us to the bottom end of the table as Dunbar Rovers host Rydalmere Lions at Fraser Park.

A big game particularly for the hosts who are fighting for survival, they’ll need to overturn a 5-0 result in the first half of the season.

This will be the second of two big games for Dunbar Rovers in the space of four days. After a midweek fixture against Nepean FC, this will either be a chance to bounce back or capitalise on their momentum this weekend. Results definitely needed as they sit five points from safety in the competition.

Back to last weekend, they had a tough night against Bulls FC Academy going down by a 4-1 score line, A Bailey Stevens goal the rare highlight in the fixture. It’s defensively where they will be seeking improvement with the worse defense in the league. While they will rely on Daisuke Yamaguchi to pull the strings from midfield.

They come up against a Rydalmere Lions side who walked away with back-to-back draws from their fixtures last week. Sitting ten points above the bottom two, they are looking relatively safe with 13 games left in their season.

Five games without defeat, they very much gained a point last weekend against Canterbury Bankstown. Down to ten men for over 80 minutes, they were disciplined throughout frustrating their visitors. While Isaac Cunningham did what he does best with a goal to give his side a lift. A young side, it will be exciting where they can go from this point forward.

Other Features

Hakoah FC v Blacktown Spartans; Saturday 15th June, 4:30pm, Hensley Athletic Field

A top five clash awaits us as Hakoah FC host Blacktown Spartans at Hensley Athletic Field, Saturday afternoon.

These two sides couldn’t be seperated last time they met and Blacktown Spartans will be confident of another surprise over a side in the top three here.

Three wins from three while reclaiming third place on the table, Hakoah FC had a good week to kick off the winter months. Sitting just a point behind the Bulls above them, they will be keen to maintain the pressure on the top two here.

Against Macarthur in round 19 action, they once again found a goal in injury time having led twice previously. Jayden Tran scoring a brace in that one joined by Paul Araullo in the goal scoring stakes  They have the second best home record in the competition, tasting just one defeat at the venue in 10 games.

Blacktown Spartans meanwhile had a week of mixed fortunes with one win and two draws. Sitting in fifth position, they come into this one ten points behind their hosts looking to cause their second upset in three games after taking victory over Bulls FC Academy last week.

It’s hard to make any concussions based on their last fixture with Bonnyrigg White Eagles. On a tough pitch to play football on, they took the lead after perhaps edging the opening hour. Angus Chance has been in good goal scoring form, while we’ll give a belated happy birthday shout out to club captain Peter Pelekanos

UNSW FC v Bankstown City; Saturday 15th June, 7pm, The Village Green

Not content with one clash between top six sides, Bankstown City make the trip east to face UNSW at The Village Green, Saturday evening.

The first meeting of the two this season saw Bankstown City walk away with a narrow 2-1 victory back in round five so can the students bounce back here?

After seeing their unbeaten streak come to an end last weekend, UNSW FC have a chance to put that right with a clash against a top three opponent here. And it’s not something we would be completely surprised by which is a compliment on how they’ve taken to life in the division.

Let’s touch on last weekend however and how they lost to Northern Tigers. In truth, there wasn’t a lot between the sides apart from a lack of that final bit of class in the final third. Important to their recent form is the tightening up of their defence since the return of Claudio Fabiano conceding just two goals in their last four games.

It is once again, a clash between two sides in good form though with Bankstown City winning four of their last five. Four points behind Hakoah FC, they have a game in hand over them. Last week picking up two wins in their three games.

Last weekend, they secured a victory over SD Raiders with an early goal proving the difference between the two sides. In which, they got better as the game went on with Chris Payne once again scoring a crucial goal. They’ve been a solid team on the road so far this season with 16 points in their eight games away from Jensen Park.

Quickfire Previews

Bulls FC Academy v Nepean FC; Saturday 15th June, 3pm, Sydney United Sports Centre

After a midweek slip up against Blacktown Spartans, Bulls FC Academy returned to form against Dunbar Rovers on the weekend. A four goal victory, both Dean Bosnjak and Daanish Awaz stood out for Craig Noone’s side. A victory here is important to keep pace with Mt Druitt Town Rangers above them.

Their opposition could be forgiven for having their sights elsewhere with a midweek fixture against fellow strugglers Dunbar Rovers. Four points in their last five games, they had last weekend off with another postponed fixture. Both games a chance to bounce back from their 3-0 defeat to SD Raiders.

Previous Meeting: Nepean FC 2-2 Bulls FC Academy

Canterbury Bankstown v Northern Tigers; Saturday 15th June, 5pm, Jensen Park

Luck is a funny thing in football, sometimes you have it and at other times you don’t. Such has been the case for Canterbury Bankstown had a tough week with two losses and a draw. Against both Macarthur Rams and Rydalmere Lions, they certainly had their chances, they just need to take more of them.

Particularly when it comes to facing a side like Northern Tigers who steadied their course with a 1-0 victory over UNSW last weekend. Possessing one of the best defences in the league, the addition of Kai Denton at striker should bolster their stocks in attack, Denton scoring on his return to the starting side last weekend.

Previous Meeting: Northern Tigers 1-0 Canterbury Bankstown

Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Inter Lions; Saturday 15th June, 7pm, Bonnyrigg Sports Club

It’s another home game for Bonnyrigg White Eagles who are yet to use it to their advantage. Playing a catch up game midweek against Northern Tigers, this will test their fitness as they look to rise up the table. At the time of writing, they are on a run of three draws in which they’ve been behind in two of which, so scoring first will be important.

They come up against an Inter Lions side who are struggling for form in recent times. It could very well be a case of a weeks break helping out with their game against Nepean postponed to a later date. Prior to which they are without a win in their last four. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see them claim a result in this one.

Previous Meeting: Inter Lions 2-2 Bonnyrigg White Eagles

Macarthur Rams v Mt Druitt Town Rangers; Saturday 15th June, 7pm, Lynwood Park

Despite only having three points to show for their last two fixtures, the is reasons to be encouraged from a Macarthur Rams perspective. A victory over Canterbury Bankstown was nearly built upon at Hensley last weekend. John Fahmi scored a goal for the highlight reel to equalise late but they were left heartbroken after conceding deep into injury time.

That been said, Mt Druitt Town Rangers and in particular Andre Martins are proving hard to stop in recent times. The Town Rangers have a 5 point lead at the top after a perfect week which saw them win three times. Aside from Martins, Cooper Coskerie has played an unheralded role at right back but adds a lot to their attack.

Previous Meeting: Mt Druitt Town Rangers 2-1 Macarthur Rams

SD Raiders v Dulwich Hill; Saturday 15th June, 7pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

After a mixed week on the field last week, SD Raiders will be eyeing another home victory in this one. In their last game it was a familiar story as they just couldn’t find the back of the net despite having good periods throughout. Last time they played at the venue, they secured a 3 goal victory, can they get a repeat here?

The draw hasn’t been friendly to Dulwich Hill in recent times with back to back games against two top three sides. On the weekend they went down to Mt Druitt Town Rangers, yet despite this coach Tony Valavanis was proud of his sides output. There will be a focus on less individual errors which cost them against the Town Rangers.

Previous Meeting: Dulwich Hill 1-2 SD Raiders

Also this week!

R19: Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Northern Tigers; Wednesday 12th June, 7:30pm, Bonnyrigg Sports Club and R14: Dunbar Rovers v Nepean FC; Wednesday 12th June, 8pm, Fraser Park

We’ll have reviews of both those games this weekend.

By Justin Smith