ALL going well, we will get a return to action this weekend and where better to start than at this week’s feature game at Lynwood Park.
MATCH OF THE ROUND
Macarthur Rams v Bankstown City Saturday 7:30pm, Lynwood Park, St Helens Park
In the feature game of the week Macarthur entertain the visiting Bankstown City looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season.
The Rams traditionally start off well and have done so again this year, and the trip to Lynwood Park is generally a tough one for visiting sides. The Lions found that out last season, going down 6-1 on the final day so if nothing else, they will be ensuring that there will be no repeat of that scoreline.
It is unlikely to be of course, the Lions defence, which conceded thirty seven goals last season, clearly strengthened for this.
A central defensive pairing of Michael Beauchamp and Billy Darwich have helped limit the goals to just the one so far, but as important as the Lions defence is, the Rams will do well to keep a watchful eye on the visitors attack as well.
Bankstown have scored five in their last game but may have had one or two more, and the goals were shared around the team.
The Rams backline versus the Lions attack will be worth a watch.
Hakoah Sydney City East v St George Saturday 7:30pm, Hensley Athletic Field, Pagewood
One of only two clubs to play last weekend, Hakoah may now well wish they had also been one of the postponed brigade. A loss to Central Coast at home dented their start a little but there is still plenty of optimism at the club and certainly reason to expect that they will be thereabouts this season.
A number of absentees may return for this weekend, although Gavin Rae is still expected to be out for a further week or two.
St George most likely appreciated their own postponement. They had to suffer an hour against Hawkesbury City last Wednesday a man down, including extra time, and one or two Saints were struggling to remain standing by the end of the match. With time now to recover for this fixture, St George will be prepared although they will need to be so without Hussein Salameh, sent off in that Cup tie.
Sydney University v Mount Druitt Town Rangers Saturday 7:30pm, Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Sydney University will be looking to recover some pride after their hammering from Hakoah Sydney City East a fortnight ago. Just one scored and eight against in two games is not a great start but they meet a Mount Druitt Town Rangers side who conceded five themselves last round.
It is still early days of course and they will both expect better things to come. No doubt Raul Blanco and Aiden Desmond will have spent some time on their respective team’s defensive frailties so they will certainly be hoping for some improvement this weekend.
Mounties Wanderers v Bankstown Berries Saturday 730pm, Cook Park, Mount Pritchard
Two of the expected challengers this season face off at Cook Park. There has been a differing start to the league year for the two clubs but both came through their cup games without too much trouble. Especially pleasing for the Mounties would have been the goals each scored by Matthew Mayora and Elsid Barkhousir in that cup win so they are bound to be fired up to repeat the dose.
They will need to be as they face a Berries who have started the season in very good form. A win over Northern Tigers and a draw against Macarthur shows their intent and if they can come away from Mounties with all three points, they really will have made an early statement.
Fraser Park v Northern Tigers Sunday 3pm, Fraser Park, Sydenham
Fraser Park will finally get the chance to christen their new home ground with league action when Northern Tigers visit this Sunday. After a false start two weeks ago, Fraser will welcome playing at home once more despite having still taken the three points when switching the match versus Spirit.
The Tigers will have fond memories of the Sydenham ground, having won the title here back in 2012 on the last day of the season. There may not be too many players that remain from that day, but all the same, the Tigers will be expecting a win.
Central Coast FC v Spirit FC Sunday 3pm, Pluim Park, Lisarow
Sitting proudly atop the league, Central Coast will see Spirit FC come visiting on Sunday afternoon. Three wins from three is where the Coast are at and the fact that two of those wins were away from home would be particularly agreeable to coach Peter Preston.
The Coast were unbeaten at Pluim Park last season and already have one win under their belts for this, so they will expect to continue on with that record this weekend. Surprisingly, they went out of the Westfield FFA Cup prelims on Tuesday, losing to Prospect United, so they will want to return to winnings way this Sunday.
Despite the Coast’s unbeaten home record last year, Spirit FC were one of the clubs to come away with a draw, and will head to Lisarow expecting to earn some points.
It may be a case of whether their defence (one goal conceded in two games) will be stronger than the Coast’s attack (eight goals scored in three).
– by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 2 Reporter