With Westfield FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds scheduled this midweek, it has been a busy time for most of the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 clubs. The focus returns to league action this coming weekend, with the standout being the feature game between Hakoah Sydney City East and Central Coast FC.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Central Coast FC Good Friday 3:00pm Hensley Athletic Field, Pagewood
These two early season table toppers meet at Hensley Field in the only Good Friday game, getting the weekend’s holiday action off to an early start. It will be a tight turnaround for Hakoah, less than 48 hours after their FFA Cup win over Glebe Gorillas. Last week’s comprehensive victory over Sydney University gives an idea of their form at the moment. It has been a great start for the newly promoted club and a further victory here will really catch the attention of the rest of the competition.
Central Coast’s Cup game is scheduled for next Tuesday and so they have had plenty of time to prepare for this fixture. Freshness may win out for the Coast, although a fighting fit Hakoah will prove tough opposition as Uni found to their cost last week.
This should be an entertaining encounter, and being the only game on the day, sure to attract an expectant crowd.
Macarthur Rams v Mounties Wanderers Saturday 7:30pm, Lynwood Park, St Helens Park
The undefeated Macarthur Rams take on the pointless Mounties Wanderers on Saturday night in what is traditionally a hard fought fixture. It may prove to be even more so this week with off-season transfers seeing Daniel Willoughby and Mark Symington moving south to Lynwood Park from Cook Park.
The Rams have scored twice in each game so far so they appear to have little trouble in finding the net at the moment. The same can’t be said for the Mounties. Still yet to register a goal in the league, it surely can’t be too far away and a victory over their rivals would be just the tonic to kick-start their season.
Both sides saw off their Westfield FFA Cup opponents on Wednesday, the Rams defeating Padstow 4-0 and Mounties overcoming Dulwich Hill 2-1, so they should each head into this match in a positive frame of mind.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v Fraser Park Saturday 7:30pm, Popondetta Park, Emerton
Coincidentally, both Mount Druitt Town Rangers and Fraser Park were the only PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 clubs to meet teams in the Westfield FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds from a higher league. Perhaps not surprisingly, both succumbed at the first hurdle. Fraser Park, playing at Bonnyrigg White Eagles, lost 3-2, while the Rangers would have taken a lot of confidence away from their clash with the South Coast Wolves, taking the Wolves to extra time before also going down by the same scoreline.
They will both refocus their efforts now on league action, the Rangers particularly keen to put behind them their horror result against Bankstown City. Fraser Park, surprising a few with their win at Spirit FC, will look to carry on where they left off last Sunday. Kevin Oliviera has been the one to watch for Fraser Park so far this season, a goal in both games a fine start.
St George v Bankstown Berries Saturday, 7:30pm, St George Stadium, Kyeemagh
It has been an indifferent start to the season for St George, two losses to date are an indication that the new team is still in the process of being bedded down. The Saints weren’t too far off the pace in their opener against Macarthur but finding themselves three goals behind against Central Coast last weekend wouldn’t have been on the agenda. Things didn’t improve in the Cup either, a ten-man St George going down to Hawkesbury City 1-0 after extra time. The stakes will be raised further when Bankstown Berries come calling this weekend.
The two clubs met in the Preseason Cup at the same venue, with the Berries running out 4-0 victors. Clearly they will be happy with a win by any margin again and following on from their comfortable FFA Cup win over Granville Rage, they won’t be short of confidence.
Spirit FC v Sydney University, Sunday 3:00pm, Christie Park, Marsfield
Both Spirit FC and Sydney University are coming off losses last round, although the results in the Cup midweek would certainly have raised morale. Spirit FC had the easier of the ties and the lesser of the travel, defeating Sutherland Shire Association side Lilli Pilli 3-0. Sydney Uni had to travel to southern Wollongong to meet the Illawarra Premier League’s Albion Park White Eagles and would be pleased with the result, taking away a 4-3 victory.
But while both lost last weekend, there was some difference in the respective margins. Spirit lost by just the single goal however Uni will have nightmares about the six they conceded, four before the break. Uni are bound to be tighter at the back this weekend as they seek to get their season on track.
This will be Spirit’s third home game in a row and nothing less than two wins will surely be the target.
Northern Tigers v Bankstown City, Sunday 3:00pm, Mills Park, Asquith
After both clubs lost their opening fixtures, the Tigers and the Lions turned around their opening misfortunes to claim good victories in round two. Both played their Cup fixtures on Tuesday night, and recorded hefty wins, against Hills Brumbies (8-1} and Dunbar Rovers (5-2) respectively, so they should head into this clash quite buoyant by results this past week.
The better record between the two is held by Northern Tigers. In the six meetings which have taken place since Bankstown City were relegated to this level in 2012, they have failed to beat Northern Tigers on any occasion with the Tigers claiming three wins while there have been three draws. Not a great record by any measure but if they can play anything like they did last Sunday, Bankstown City could finally get that victory.
Northern Tigers will have other ideas though, and after beating Mounties at Cook Park, will know that they have the ability to take on all-comers. It should be quite a match.
by Peter Rowney