Our 15's and 17’s girls into the Elimination Semi Finals

Congratulations to both our U15, U17 girls who have made it to the Elimination Semi Finals and thank you to the coaches and managers on their dedication and hard work.

FREE YOUR DIARY FOR SATURDAY 10 AUGUST 2019!!!

Come with family and friends, wear your red and white to cheer the girls on, its nothing better than the girls knowing that have that encouragement and support from the stands

And the parents and supporters singing "oh when the saints go marching in" will add to the attmosphere and spur the girls on.

Elimination Semi Final – Saturday 10 August -
Valentine Sports Park #3
235-257 Meurants Ln, Glenwood NSW 2768

Under 15 - 10.00am Kick Off
St George FC V UNSW FC

Under 17 - 11:45am
Central Coast Mariners FC V St George FC

Round 22 Preview – NPL 2 NSW Women’s

Round 22 of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens closes out the regular season where we bid adieu to seven teams while the other five head into the crucible of the finals series.

To send off an exciting regular season we have six exciting contests which will take place at the same time. Let’s get onto the preview.

Match of the Round: Gladesville Ravens vs Sutherland Shire FA, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, Christie Park

In the battle for second spot, Gladesville Ravens host Sutherland Shire FA at Christie Park for a dress rehearsal of a possible finals match up on Sunday afternoon.

Both teams are ready to rumble in the north west after convincing victories. Gladesville Ravens were comfortable in their 4-nil result against Western NSW while Sutherland Shire FA beat SD Raiders FC 3-1 at Ernie Smith Reserve.

Last time these two sides met – both were undefeated. Sutherland Shire FA claimed the spoils with a two-goal victory in the shire but eleven weeks later, Gladesville have a chance to extract some revenge headed into the finals.

Unless APIA slip up in Orange, these two sides will meet again next weekend in a Preliminary Semi-Final which makes for an interesting sidenote. Also, there is the battle of the sharpshooters – Jordan Baker (29) looking to claim the Golden Boot against Ravens poacher Emily Diaz (22).

Sunday’s Match of the Round shapes up as an exciting end to the regular season for both as they gear up for the post-season and take an early advantage for a possible rematch next weekend.

Western NSW Mariners vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, Sir Jack Brabham Park

The equation is simple for APIA Leichhardt Tigers – they head to Sir Jack Brabham Park needing a single point against Western NSW Mariners to secure the Premiership.

APIA are full of confidence headed to the central west after the Tigers swept aside Marconi Stallions 4-nil on a bumper night at Lambert Park. For Western NSW, they lost to Gladesville Ravens 4-nil in a tough contest.

Sunday is the final game this season for Western NSW Mariners. Coming to Orange is never an easy task so if there are any nerves within the APIA ranks, the Mariners might take advantage and give their fans something to celebrate.

It might be a depleted APIA squad but the competition leaders showed on last Sunday night that there is a ruthless streak in them. One final big haul of goals from striker Ash Palombi might give the Tigers some additional silverware in the Golden Boot to go with the Premiership.

SD Raiders FC vs Nepean FC, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

Locked into the fourth spot, Nepean FC use Sunday afternoon against SD Raiders FC at Ernie Smith Reserve as a tune up for their second consecutive finals appearance.

That fourth spot was locked up with their 3-1 success against a spirited UNSW FC side as Nepean FC head back to an elimination final. SD Raiders FC remain positive despite their 3-1 loss to one of the top sides in Sutherland Shire FA.

SD Raiders FC had a rollercoaster season but coach Terry Gray has always remained positive about the attitude and application of his side. The late season form of Kristi Pavlicevic and Sarah Mandile has given them options alongside striker Samantha Muscat. If they can click the Raiders can give the faithful a final moment to enjoy before the long off season.

Preparation will be the key word for Alan Tasses in the build-up for the weekend. Taking on SD Raiders FC and UNSW FC in the last two weeks is a good test for his side. Imogen Lane has broken through her early season slump and is ready to partner Stefanie Trovato up top for their tilt at the post-season.

Central Coast Mariners vs UNSW FC, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, Pluim Park

UNSW FC look to upset the applecart taking on finals bound Central Coast Mariners in an intriguing clash at Pluim Park on the final day of the regular season.

The Mariners confirmed back-to-back finals appearances with their 9-nil drubbing of Inter Lions. UNSW FC held a 1-nil advantage at half-time but were pegged back by the second half blitz of Nepean FC 3-1 at Wentworth Park on Sunday afternoon.

For the traveling UNSW FC side, Alex Nolan has considered the second half of the season a success as they have picked up 11 of their 16 points in this period. If the students can take the points on Sunday afternoon, they can move into the eighth position and finish with some joy to take into next season.

Central Coast Mariners have quietly gone about their work this season. The coastal club racked up 13 victories this term led by the 28-goal return from Danielle Wise. Her work alongside Gabrielle Blanch and Jade Mcatemney has helped the yellow-and-navy to back-to-back post-seasons and the chance to go one better.

Southern Branch FC vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex

Cut from the finals race in the final furlong, Marconi Stallions head to South Nowra Football Complex to finish the season on a high against Southern Branch FC.

Marconi’s finals hopes were extinguished last Sunday night in a 4-nil defeat to APIA Leichhardt Tigers while Southern Branch added another point to the bank in a wild first half which saw four goals and ended 2-2 in Nowra against St George FC.

Compared to last season, Southern Branch has improved their results. The south coast side has picked up an extra two victories and won’t finish with back-to-back wooden spoons. Much of this has been down to the goals from Shaylee Meehan and Jessica Muir as they aim to finish the season with the big scalp of the Stallions.

The Stallions are a proud club, whilst the sting of missing finals again will linger with them coach Matt Turvey can take plenty from the season. He will also want to finish on a positive note and pick up their 13th win of the season.

St George FC vs Inter Lions, Sunday 4th August, 3pm, St George Stadium

St George FC are set for one final hurrah taking on wooden spooners Inter Lions at historic St George Stadium as part of the blockbuster final round.

The Saints are coming into the game off a well won point against Southern Branch in their 2-2 draw between the two southern sides. Inter Lions lost their twelfth game of the season in a 9-nil thumping from Central Coast Mariners.

Inter Lions might have confirmed the wooden spoon weeks ago but the Lions can end the season on a high note with a result against their fellow strugglers. In their previous clash, Inter lost by a single goal so there will be belief for the visitors to even the season ledger and grab their second win of the season.

The home side have shown flashes of brilliance this season – defeating UNSW FC and Western NSW Mariners – now for them it will be building on that for the next campaign. In Marissa Nicopoulous, Yadira Renfigo and Amy Bennett there is a solid core alongside custodian Lani Dodd to make strides and finish 2019 with a result.

By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)

Source FNSW website

Round 23 Preview – NPL 2 NSW Men’s

We’re into the final month of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s home-and-away season. Cool conditions are forecast for this weekend, but there should be plenty of action to keep us warm.

Match of the Round: Northern Tigers v North Shore Mariners, 7:00pm Saturday 3 August, North Turramurra Recreation Area No. 1

Our featured match takes us to North Turramurra Recreation Area for a Northern Suburbs derby with huge stakes for both sides.

For Northern Tigers, their season might have been over after a heavy defeat to Bonnyrigg two weeks ago. However, a gritty 1-0 win last time out against Blacktown Spartans put them right back in the mix for finals football. That clean sheet was the ideal reaction from the Tigers backline, who face another stern test on Saturday in the form of North Shore sharpshooter Mitchell Smith. Tigers defenders Jordan Ferrier and Nicholas Kalogerou will be up for the challenge, while Tonu Liiband saved a penalty when these two met in Round 10.

North Shore’s task on Saturday is something they haven’t had to do often in 2019 – bounce back from a loss. Games between these two are usually tight (four draws in the last five meetings), and set pieces can often make the difference in close contests, so watch for Chris Lindsay at any dead ball situations. A victory on Saturday over their local rivals could set the Mariners up to secure the Premiership as early as the following weekend.

St George FC v Spirit FC, 7:00pm Saturday 3 August, Ilinden Sports Centre

St George FC will be hoping for a positive end to a busy week when they host Spirit FC at Ilinden Sports Centre.

The Saints didn’t get the win in the St George Derby on Sunday, however things are still looking up – they are now unbeaten in three rounds. This form has helped them close the gap to fellow relegation battlers Rydalmere, and they are now only three points behind the Lions in the Club Championship. Juan Carlos Romero has scored in each of the previous three matches, but the Saints will be backing up after their FFA Cup game against Sydney United, so Wally Savor may need to rotate his squad.

Spirit FC ended a run of three straight losses by defeating Western Sydney Wanderers on the weekend, with Duncan Stewart grabbing another two goals. It’s usually a good sign if he finds the net: from the eleven games in which Stewart has scored this season, Spirit have eight victories, two draws and only one loss. History also favours Spirit, who have won their last four meetings with the Saints, and have only lost once to them in 11 matches going back to 2013.

Hills United v St George City FA, 7:00pm Saturday 3 August, Lily Homes Stadium

Both Hills United and St George City FA had a win in their sights on Sunday, but settled for a draw in the end, so neither team should be short of motivation.

The Hills attack looks nearly unstoppable. Patrick Zwaanswijk’s side have scored 18 goals in five matches, and Daniel Fogarty hit the net again on the weekend to take his season total to 16. A repeat of their victory over City back in May would be welcome for two reasons: it allows them to take advantage of any North Shore slip ups, and also because a top two finish isn’t guaranteed yet.

A trip outside of familiar surroundings may be just what St George City FA need after five consecutive weeks at home. City have won their last three away fixtures, but in order to make it four, skipper Bill Tsanidis and Luke Burke need to have big games at the back. Meanwhile, Hiten Satoh caught the eye in the Derby with an excellent midfield performance and a goal – he definitely has the ability to unlock the Hills defence.

Macarthur Rams v Rydalmere Lions, 7:00pm Saturday 3 August, Lynwood Park No. 1

At Lynwood Park, two clubs coming off disappointing losses will try to get back on track. Neither team has won since Round 11, so both Macarthur and Rydalmere are keen to finally grab a victory, to say the least.

The Rams haven’t won against the Lions in three previous attempts (two draws, one loss). There is some hope for Macarthur though, as draws in their last three Lynwood Park fixtures mean they are more difficult to beat at home. A big defensive show is needed to stop the pacey Lions attack, so Danny Lazarevski and Lorenzo Fatica have important roles to play on Saturday.

Rydalmere need results to keep St George FC at bay in the relegation battle. Like their opponents, the Lions have had a few draws recently (three in the last five weeks), so now it’s just a matter of converting decent performances into victories. They’ll need to get the job done at both ends though – look to the physical presence of Samuel Messam in the final third, and the acrobatic shotstopping of Harrick Sinpraseuth.

Canterbury Bankstown FC v Blacktown Spartans, 7:00pm Saturday 3 August, The Crest Athletic Centre

The league’s bottom side hosts a finals contender, however it’s Canterbury who might be more confident heading into this one. They recorded a solid 2-0 victory on Saturday against Macarthur Rams, while the Spartans had a good run of form ended by Northern Tigers.

Canterbury kept their first clean sheet of the season on the weekend. More solid performances from the defensive trio of Mathew Clowes, Gino Cerasoli and Josh Gersbach would be a large step towards a repeat performance. At the other end of the field, Canterbury are much improved after a midseason scoring slump, and Zac Elrich keeps hitting the back of the net.

Blacktown Spartans can almost feel Western Sydney Wanderers and Northern Tigers breathing down their necks. A good result is vital if they are to stay in the top six, so Evan Patramanis and Lewis Fraser will look to help them control the midfield. The Crest is a tough place to play, but the Spartans should be up for the challenge – they have two wins and a draw in their last three away games.

Central Coast Mariners v Mounties Wanderers, 3:00pm Sunday 4 August, Pluim Park  

Two sides in contrasting form meet at Pluim Park. Central Coast are winless in three rounds, and Mounties have lost only once in six matches.

The Mariners did show good character on the weekend, rescuing a point against Hills despite being 3-1 down with 20 minutes left and 4-3 down in stoppage time. Matthew Hatch furthered his reputation as a Pluim Park scoring specialist, netting twice to make it four goals in five home fixtures. Matthew Cahill also bagged a double on Sunday, opening his account in 1st Grade after 18 goals in 20 appearances for the Central Coast U20s.

Coincidentally, Mounties also have a player who has 18 goals in 20 games for their U20 team. Speedy winger Michael Jeffrey is beginning to make his mark in 1st Grade, and he opened the scoring against Rydalmere on Saturday. Jeffrey is another weapon in an attack that is firing on all cylinders, with nine goals and seven different scorers in the last three weeks.

Since 2016, meetings between these two sides have followed a particular pattern: Central Coast win the first match, and Mounties get the three points in the return fixture. After a 3-2 victory for the Mariners back in Round 10, Brian Brown will be hoping history repeats on Sunday afternoon.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Bonnyrigg White Eagles, 8:00pm Tuesday 6 August, Valentine Sports Park No. 2

Five Wanderers players were called up to this week’s Young Socceroos training camp in Canberra, so their game against Bonnyrigg has been rescheduled for next Tuesday night.

This is the start of three matches in nine days for the Wanderers, a period that should determine whether or not they make the finals. Skipper Andrea Agamemnonos will be key in holding the midfield together, especially with Lochlan Constable’s suspension and Fabian Monge’s probable selection for the upcoming AFF Under-18 Championship. Right back Bailey Rule has also caught the eye since becoming a 1st Grade regular, and he even found the net on the weekend.

Bonnyrigg did what many teams couldn’t do on Sunday: stop Mitchell Smith from scoring. Can the best defence in the division do the same to Mohamed Adam and company? You’d have to say they’ve got a good chance, the White Eagles have kept three clean sheets in a row and only conceded four times in eight games. Credit must go to James Chronopoulos, Goran Subara and Nikola Zonjic for creating a rock solid foundation, and their performances are a big reason for Bonnyrigg’s record of seven wins and a draw in the last eight rounds.

By Eric Subijano

Twitter – @eric_subijano

Source FNSW website

Round 21 Preview – NPL 2 NSW Women’s

Round 21 brings the end of the regular season into sight as the battle for the Premiership and top five continues unabated. We have six mouth-watering contests that will help to decide the fate of all the sides in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens. Let’s get onto the preview.

Match of the Round: APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 28 July, 6:30pm, Lambert Park

There are so many stakes for this week’s Match of the Round that it could open an Outback Steakhouse. APIA Leichhardt Tigers take on Marconi Stallions under the bright lights at Lambert Park on Sunday night.

The scenario is simple for APIA to secure the Premiership, after their 5-2 result against Central Coast. Victories in their final two contests will be enough for the silverware. Coach Matt Constantini will have the side ready to complete the job and with Georgia Bridges in fine fettle alongside mid-season recruit Amy Dahdah give them a good base to perform.

The last week in July will be pivotal for Marconi’s finals chances. If they win their catch-up it will vault them back into the top five and give them almost a free hit against the ladder leaders. They also take back-to-back victories as their form line so Matt Turvey’s side are ready to rumble.

As a final appetizer for this exciting contest it will feature the top two in the Golden Boot standings. APIA’s talismanic leader Ashleigh Palombi leads the way with 27 two ahead of Marconi’s Jasmin Courtenay. Courtenay has had a stellar first season at Marconi, so we’re set for an exciting contest with goals almost guaranteed.

Western NSW Mariners vs Gladesville Ravens, Sunday 28 July, 2:35pm, Jack Brabham Park

In their penultimate home game this season Western NSW Mariners aim to play spoiler as they welcome Gladesville Ravens to Jack Brabham Park for the Sunday afternoon kick-off.

The Ravens continued their impressive form with a slick 6-nil result against St George FC. Western NSW Mariners FC are limping to the end of the season after their 2-nil loss to SD Raiders FC in windy conditions last weekend.

Job one is done for Gladesville Ravens – they have qualified for the finals. Now, they could possibly swoop in late to finish second or even take the Premiership. The Ravens have a mid-week catch up against Marconi so they might rotate some of their team for Sunday but there is enough quality in their four different goal scorers to collect another three points.

Both Western NSW Mariners last two fixtures are in Orange so there is a chance for the Mariners to cause an upset. Josh Ward might be struggling for numbers but Anna Hunt has a nose for goal and might give them some joy on the scoresheet whilst they might end up on the wrong side at full-time.

Inter Lions vs Central Coast Mariners, Sunday 28 July, 3pm, Concord Oval

After their wild encounter last weekend, Central Coast Mariners head to hopefully more serene surroundings to take on Inter Lions at Concord Oval on Sunday afternoon.

The Mariners fought hard but a late onslaught from APIA Leichhardt Tigers condemned them to a 5-2 loss at Pluim Park. For Inter Lions, they battled hard but three goals in the second half saw Sutherland Shire FA take the spoils.

Suddenly, the race is back on. Central Coast Mariners hold fifth spot by a single point from Marconi and can see the Stallions riding alongside them. Coach Dan Barrett will have to juggle his side with red cards to Jordyn Drysdale and Brooke Miller making selection tougher.

One constant for the Mariners is Danielle Wise. the striker found the net for the opener against APIA for her 24th goal of the season, so she is another that can make a late push for the Golden Boot. Inter Lions can spy the end of the season but will hope for one final moment before they sign off.

Southern Branch FC vs St George FC, Sunday 28 July, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex

Two sides looking to finish the season on a high clash with St George FC traveling to South Nowra Football Complex to take on Southern Branch FC.

Both sides sit in the bottom half of the competition ladder coming off losses to Gladesville Ravens and Nepean FC respectively. They will eye Sunday afternoon as a big chance to have one more rendition of the team song for 2019.

These two played out an entertaining Match of the Round back in Round 10. St George FC held off a fast-finishing Southern Branch FC side for their first win of the season. Down on the south coast, Southern Branch FC have the chance to square the ledger.

UNSW FC vs Nepean FC, Sunday 28 July, 3pm, Wentworth Park

Getting themselves ready for the finals series, Nepean FC go to take Wentworth Park, taking on UNSW FC looking to keep their roll going.

Nepean FC put together a solid performance as they returned from Nowra with a 4-nil victory against Southern Branch FC. UNSW FC were thumped 7-2 against a rampant Gladesville Ravens side.

With back-to-back finals series confirmed for Nepean FC, Alan Tasses has time to figure out his side for the upcoming finals series. Stefanie Trovato is their top goal scorer with 10 goals but has gotten contributions from Imogen Lane and Annie Halls to make them a threat to any of the other top four sides.

The students are using these final games as a litmus test for themselves in preparation for next season. Coach Alex Nolan has enough at his disposal to make a push for the finals next season but they need to regularly compete and defeat teams like Nepean FC.

SD Raiders FC vs Sutherland Shire FA, Sunday 28 July, 5pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

Chasing the leaders, Sutherland Shire FA head to Ernie Smith Reserve with one goal as they take on SD Raiders FC on Sunday night, win and take the Premiership race into the final week.

Both sides come into the contest off victories – SD Raiders FC arrested their slide with a 2-nil success against Western NSW Mariners. Meanwhile Sutherland Shire FA were made to work for their 4-nil result against Inter Lions.

If Sutherland Shire FA are to overhaul the two-point deficit to claim the Premiership, they will need to continue their clinical nature in front of goal. Sutherland Shire FA has plundered 14 goals in their last three games and sharpshooter Jordan Baker could make a late play for the Golden Boot with a big performance on Sunday.

For SD Raiders FC, whilst it won’t be back-to-back finals appearances, they can still have an impact on how things shake out. In Kristi Pavlicevic, Sarah Mandile and Christina McGrath they have enough support to give their strikers a chance to upset the applecart.

By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)

Source FNSW website

ROUND 20 PREVIEW – NPL 2 NSW WOMEN’S

Three weeks remain and it is a week of away trips for the top five as the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens competition sprints to the finish line. The six games all kick-off in the afternoon with some exciting contests to play out. Let’s get onto the preview.

Western NSW Mariners vs SD Raiders FC, Sunday 21 July, 1:05pm, Sir Jack Brabham Park

Kicking off the weekend, SD Raiders FC head over the mountain to take on Western NSW Mariners at Sir Jack Brabham Park in Orange at 1pm.

SD Raiders FC endured a tough week with three losses culminating with their 3-1 defeat to Gladesville Ravens that torched their finals flame. Western NSW Mariners made the tough decision to forfeit against Marconi Stallions.

The Mariners finish what has been a tough slog of a season with three home games all scheduled for Orange. That gives them a chance to end on a high and in Anna Hunt, Sarah Colman and Teegan Courtney they have the tools to cause an upset.

For the visitors, in her three appearances Trudy Camelliri has done well to partner Samantha Muscat up top plus scored a pair of goals. Left with their pride to play for, SD Raiders will challenge every game and try to finish as high as they can on the ladder.

Inter Lions vs Sutherland Shire FA, Sunday 21 July, 3pm, Concord Oval

Sitting second on the ladder, Sutherland Shire FA look to keep their run going as they take on Inter Lions down at Concord Oval on Sunday afternoon.

The teams come into the weekend in contrasting spirits. Inter Lions were beaten 11-nil by Nepean FC at Cook Park meanwhile down at Harrie Denning Centre, Sutherland Shire FA triumphed 5-nil against UNSW FC.

Three weeks to go, and Sutherland Shire FA are in the thick of the Premiership chase. They trail APIA by two points and should eye up three more this weekend. Ursula Bratjanscak put together a pair of assists with a trick shot goal herself in their rout last week as the rampant Sutherland Shire FA aim to keep the victories rolling.

Inter Lions can avoid the wooden spoon but it will take two wins in their last three games with two of those being against top five sides. Otherwise, the Lions can look to build for next season and create one more moment in taking a big scalp.

Marconi Stallions vs St George FC, Sunday 21 July, 3pm, Marconi Stadium

The Marconi Stallions have to keep winning to keep their finals hopes alive and it starts this Sunday against a stubborn St George FC side at Marconi Stadium.

Marconi had an unscheduled week off after a mid-week forfeit from Western NSW Mariners which has them fresh for this weekend. St George FC were the latest victim of the rampant APIA side, 6-nil on Sunday night.

The next fortnight shapes up as the make-or-break for Marconi. Starting with the game against St George, they follow up with their catch up with Gladesville then end with a marquee fixture against APIA. So, the Stallions will need their key players in Ceyda Cambaz, Jasmin Courtenay and Chloe Carmichael to see them through.

For St George FC, they can play spoiler against their much-fancied opposition. Their season hasn’t gone to plan but sat in tenth, the Saints have shown flashes of promise. Both Amy Bennett and Yadira Renfigo know the way to the back of the net and will need to if they can take a big scalp.

Central Coast Mariners vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 21 July, 3pm, Pluim Park

The thigh rubber of the weekend sees leaders APIA Leichhardt Tigers make the trip to Pluim Park to take on the fifth place Central Coast Mariners on Sunday afternoon.

These two sides have been the form sides in NPL2 in recent weeks. APIA Leichhardt Tigers come into the contest off a four-game win streak since their draw to Nepean FC. Mariners might have slipped up against Sutherland Shire FA but netted 18 times in the last month to make this an attacking showcase.

APIA took the spoils in the fixture earlier this season, but these two played out a dramatic contest on the coast last season where the yellow-and-navy prevailed. Tigers coach Matt Constantini has played the percentages with his assessment of his side this year, now they have Ash Palombi and Georgia Bridges on song and ready to get them 100% to their goal.

Central Coast know that one or two points will secure their passage to the top five. Danielle Wise has been talisman with eight goals in her last four games. Barrett’s side have started to find the net regularly and ready for their chance to make back-to-back Grand Finals.

UNSW FC vs Gladesville Ravens, Sunday 21 July, 3pm, Seymour Shaw

UNSW FC face Gladesville Ravens down by the Seymour Shaw on Sunday afternoon as the Ravens look to position themselves in the top five.

The Ravens secured back-to-back victories with their tense 3-1 result against SD Raiders FC on Sunday night whilst UNSW FC battled hard but fell 5-nil to Sutherland Shire FA.

Doubt the Ravens nevermore. After missing the finals by a single point last season, Gladesville set themselves a goal to taste the post-season this year. They have cemented themselves in the top five, now with their stars like Emily Diaz back and firing alongside Annalise Schiraldi and Zoe Zaczek, they look to roll into the finals with momentum.

Yes, the season is over UNSW FC. Despite that, the students have been molded into the side Alex Nolan envisioned in pre-season since Round 11 with improved results. He has targeted these final three games for Uni to stamp their mark early for next season.

Southern Branch FC vs Nepean FC, Sunday 21 July, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex

Nepean FC start their three-week away odessy to end the season with a visit to South Nowra Football Complex to take on Southern Branch FC.

The side from the west warmed up for their trip with an 11-nil result against Inter Lions while Southern Branch FC were thrashed 7-1 against top five Central Coast Mariners.

With their positioned confirmed in the finals, Nepean FC coach Alan Tasses will look to fine tune his side before they get into the crucible of the semi-finals. Whilst they are the lowest scorers in the top five, Nepean are tough to break down which is headed by their captain Desiree Vassallo at centre back.

By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)

Source FNSW website

ROUND 21 PREVIEW – NPL 2 NSW MEN’S

We’re into the final quarter of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s competition, and the big games just keep coming. Some of the teams at the top are playing sides near the bottom of the ladder, but if we’ve learned anything about this league over the years, it’s that anyone can beat anyone else on their day.

Match of the Round: Hills United v GHFA Spirit FC, 5:00pm Saturday 20 July, Lily Homes Stadium

Our featured match is an early evening meeting on Saturday between second placed Hills United and third placed Spirit FC.

Hills are six points ahead of Spirit, so a victory would be a huge step to a top two finish and a bye for the first round of the finals. The emergence of Kento Sakurai has been key, and the curly-haired midfielder has scored two spectacular goals in recent weeks.

Of course, it’s not only about one man, and Hills have been on fire as an attacking unit. 10 goals in the last three games mean they now have the joint best attack in the league (with Western Sydney Wanderers). However, they do have to overcome a very poor record against Saturday’s opponents – Hills United haven’t beaten Spirit FC since August 2013.

Spirit need a win to keep their top two hopes alive, and also because a finals spot is far from guaranteed – one point separates them from seventh placed Mounties. David Perkovic’s men need to turn around a recent run of indifferent form which has seen them go winless in four games, but they’ll have to do it without skipper Grant Cornwell, who is out due to a broken arm.

On the plus side, winger Ahmed Sweedan scored twice on Saturday night to open his account for the season. Sweedan is teammates with a few of the Hills players when he kits up for Dural Warriors in the Futsal Premier League, will he be able to use that familiarity to his advantage?

Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Northern Tigers, 6:30pm Saturday 20 July, Bonnyrigg Sports Club

In form Bonnyrigg White Eagles host Northern Tigers in a crucial clash at Bonnyrigg Sports Club. The two sides couldn’t be split back in Round 8, and only four points separate them on the ladder, so we should expect another close contest.

The White Eagles are soaring up the table thanks to five wins and a draw in the last six weeks. On Sunday, it was another clean sheet for the stingiest defence in the division, and the win saw Wayne O’Sullivan’s team deal a blow to Central Coast’s finals hopes – can they do the same to the Tigers? As usual, Sam Gallaway is expected to be an important player on the left side of Bonnyrigg’s formation in both defence and attack.

For Northern Tigers, this is the start of a stretch of games which could define their season. The next five matches are against clubs currently above them in the table, and a good run could launch them right into the mix of a congested finals race. One loss in 13 matches means Adam Hett’s men are hard to beat, and two late goals on Saturday against Rydalmere show that they always push until the very end. The Tigers have been benefitting in recent times from some new names on the scoresheet: Ollie Wiggin has two goals in the last three weeks, and William Foristal has scored in each of the last two rounds.

Macarthur Rams v Central Coast Mariners, 7:00pm Saturday 20 July, Lynwood Park No. 1

At Lynwood Park, both teams will be looking to bounce back after disappointing results last time out.

Macarthur’s search for a win goes on. They have generally been better at home, so there is some hope as the Rams try to end a winless run against Central Coast stretching back to April 2017. A solid defensive performance won’t hurt, and so Macarthur will be looking to the likes of Chris Sheerin, Lorenzo Fatica and Danny Lazarevski to keep things tight at the back.

With their finals hopes hanging by a thread, the long trip to Lynwood Park might be just what Central Coast need – they’ve won more away games than home games in 2019. The Mariners have been boom or bust in recent weeks, scoring four against Rydalmere and five against Canterbury, but also being kept scoreless by North Shore and Bonnyrigg. Dylan Ruiz-Diaz could be the one to help Nick Montgomery’s team find some consistency in front of goal: he netted a hat trick when these sides met on Easter Sunday.

Canterbury Bankstown FC v North Shore Mariners, 7:00pm Saturday 20 July, The Crest Athletic Centre

The division’s bottom club face off against the league leaders on Saturday night, and the ladder suggests there’ll be a similar result to North Shore’s 3-0 win over Canterbury in Round 8.

However, on the weekend Canterbury grabbed a much needed victory against Western Sydney Wanderers. 10 of their 11 points have been earned at The Crest, so if we’re going to see an upset, this is the venue for it. Zac Elrich keeps scoring (he’s now up to seven goals in eight games for Canterbury), and the flamboyant attacker also set up a goal on Saturday night. Scott Tonkin provides a different kind of threat, and he always causes problems at set pieces due to his his aerial ability.

North Shore Mariners are truly a well-oiled machine. Even when the Smiths (Mitchell and Marquin) don’t score, others step up – last week it was Sean Eve and Chris Lindsay. Their record against Saturday’s opponents is excellent, with six wins and a draw in seven previous clashes against Canterbury. Joe Haywood’s side need to keep this run going not just for the Premiership, but also for the promotion race, as Western Sydney Wanderers are still hot on their heels in the Club Championship.

Rydalmere Lions v Blacktown Spartans, 7:00pm Saturday 20 July, Valentine Sports Park No. 2

If the previous meeting between these two teams is any guide, this one will go right down to the wire. Back in April, Rydalmere scored a 90th minute equaliser, only for the Spartans to race straight down the other end and grab the winner.

Rydalmere are far from safe, and need points to create space between them and the bottom three of the Club Championship. They haven’t beaten the Spartans in three previous attempts (one draw and two losses), however these kinds of records are there to be broken. The Lions definitely have the pace in attack to cause problems for any opponent, but the midfield trio of Mitchell Gibbs, Addison Sayan and Abuzar Awaz is just as important to their chances of success.

The Spartans have well and truly recovered from a midseason slump, six victories in seven weeks taking them back into the top six. Connor Eldridge’s double against Spirit FC took his tally for the year into double figures. Eldridge has been bearing the attacking load for most of the season, so Spartans coach Paul Hubbard must be pleased that Finley Hayhurst is starting to find the net, with two goals in the last two rounds.

St George City FA v Mounties Wanderers, 3:00pm Sunday 21 July, Jubilee Oval

The Sunday afternoon fixture sees St George City FA play at Jubilee Oval for the fourth weekend in a row – Mounties are the opponents this time.

City were beaten convincingly by Mounties back in Round 8, but they have improved greatly since then, so we could very well witness a close game. In defence, Matthew Mayora’s suspension will be a big loss for a side that hasn’t kept a clean sheet in seven matches. Things have looked better at the other end as City have displayed a variety of attacking threats: they have had seven different goalscorers in the last six rounds.

For Mounties, the loss to Hills on Saturday was a double whammy: it ended a good run of form and they slid out of the top six. Like their opponents, Mounties can get goals from seemingly anywhere, and not just from the attackers. A combination of aerial strength and nerveless penalty taking has taken deep-lying midfielder Theo Kofinas to a tally of seven goals for the campaign, and he is now the team’s joint top scorer with Sean Rooney.

Western Sydney Wanderers v St George FC, 7:00pm Sunday 21 July, Lily Homes Stadium

Not only does the round start at Lily Homes Stadium, it also finishes there on Sunday night as Western Sydney Wanderers host St George FC.

The Wanderers are hoping for a better result than in their last NPL 2 match at this venue, a 1-0 loss to Bankstown Berries (as they were known then) in May 2017. They also need a win to stop a recent slide down the table.

Here’s a fact which will surprise nobody: Mohamed Adam scored the winner when these two met in April. The previous meeting with St George FC was part of an eight game scoring streak for Adam, and a goal on Sunday would mean he repeats that milestone. The young striker is one of a number of players named in the provisional Wanderers squad for Saturday’s match against Leeds United, and Arthur Diles must be pleased to see his squad getting noticed.

The Saints should be confident following a vital victory against Macarthur, their first since Round 13. They looked much better in attack, and Juan Carlos Romero found the net with a trademark strike. The Spanish goal-getter has a fantastic record against the youngsters in Red & Black, scoring six goals in four previous appearances. This is in contrast to St George FC’s history against the Wanderers (one win in seven games), however that solitary win in March 2018 came after a Romero hat trick.

By Eric Subijano

Twitter – @eric_subijano

Source FNSW website