With Spirit FC two points clear at the top of the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 competition, and on a run of seven straight wins, our feature game this week comes from Christie Park for our first video look at the leaders.
Spirit FC v Mounties Wanderers, Sunday 3pm, Christie Park, Marsfield
Spare a thought for Mounties Wanderers. Desperate for points but with an influx of new players to help turn things around, plus coming off a decent point at Hakoah last weekend, the last thing they really needed was to be the next potential victim at the hands of Spirit. It hardly needs repeating that Mounties are the lowest scorers in the competition with five, while Spirit FC have the best defence, conceding just a miserly six, so it would be tough to expect Mounties to gain too much reward on Sunday.
Spirit have shared the goals around eight players so far this season, Kuag Reec alone scoring as many as Mounties have as a team. It will be a difficult venture for Mounties for sure, but just maybe, a refreshed squad will add that extra impetus required. After all, Mounties have collected a point from each of their past two games, against top three opponents in Hakoah and Central Coast, while they were desperately unfortunate to concede in the final moments against Sydney University three games back. With eight home fixtures still to come, and only four away after this weekend, the second half of the season looks a lot more promising.
But first comes Spirit FC, and surely Mounties would like nothing more than to cause what would surely be the upset of the season.
St George v Sydney University, Saturday 7:30pm, St George Stadium, Kyeemagh
St George had one of their most impressive results of the season last Sunday at Mills Park, coming away with a 3-0 win. It was their first away victory of the year and ended a valuable week in which they earned seven points in nine days, more than doubling their season’s tally. Defensively they looked strong, and for the second game in a row kept a clean sheet. Stevan Ilic up front is knocking in some goals, five to date, while Wassim Hijazi has scored twice in the past three games. Things may just be starting to look up for the Saints, as the second half of the season appears around the corner.
Sydney University are the visitors to St George Stadium and this year could hardly have been any worse. It just hasn’t clicked for Uni, also struggling at the foot of the Club Championship. It may be that Peter Crevani can help turn things around, scoring on his return last week not a bad start. Crevani certainly won’t be any stranger to St George Stadium, being a member of the Saints’ 2010 Grand Final side.
Bankstown Berries v Mount Druitt Town Rangers, Saturday 7:30pm, The Crest, Bass Hill
Three losses in a row has seen Bankstown Berries tumble down to tenth spot after sitting comfortably in fourth just a month ago. Admittedly those losses were against the current top three clubs, and two were away from home, so perhaps the Berries can take some solace from that. This week’s game against Mount Druitt Town Rangers is the first of two at The Crest, so even though Rangers are high-flying at the moment, the Berries do have the opportunity to gain some much needed points.
Mount Druitt Town showed a lot of doggedness and tenacity in last week’s win over the Rams. They had little choice after being reduced to ten, but there was no question that they deserved the victory. Their confidence will be sky high after recent performances and results, and the solid teamwork on show last Saturday suggests that any opposition side looking for an easy victory might have to look elsewhere.
Macarthur Rams v Northern Tigers, Saturday 7:30pm, Lynwood Park, St Helens Park
Little has gone right for either the Rams or the Tigers in recent weeks. Macarthur had a horror past seven days, playing three and losing three, while the Tigers have surprisingly succumbed three times out of the past four. It would be even more of a surprise if that sort of run was to continue for either side, but something will have to give this weekend. Maybe it could end all square, helping no one in particular, but the strong possibility is that one of these two teams will still be hurting on Saturday night.
Central Coast v Fraser Park, Sunday 3pm, Pluim Park, Lisarow
Central Coast are hot on the heels of Spirit FC, and becoming the last of the clubs to be so. They are hoping that somewhere along the line Spirit will drop points, as surely they must at some stage, and the Coast will be ready to take advantage. Spirit have that game in hand still, a tough one though it may be, so Central Coast can ill afford any slip ups of their own. They have been impressive so far, they lead the goals for tally, and in young Josh Bingham, they have striker who is the second highest scorer across the competition.
Fraser Park have shown mixed form to date. They are the only team to have knocked off the leaders, at Christie Park no less, and they defeated the Lions a fortnight ago. But sandwiched between that effort was a 5-2 drubbing at Mount Druitt and a 4-2 loss at St George. Consistency has been lacking, alternating all season between a win and then a loss. Based on their victory at Sydney University last Saturday, it seems that Fraser Park are due for a defeat again. Maybe this week will be the time they collect two wins in a row, or at least, gain a point to overturn that sequence of results.
Bankstown City v Hakoah Sydney City East, Sunday 4pm, Jensen Park, Sefton
Bankstown City have lingered midtable for much of the season but now, with five of their next six matches at Jensen Park, don’t be surprised to see a rise for the Lions. They remain undefeated at home, with two wins and two draws, but face a big month with their next four fixtures all against clubs currently above them. The chance is there for some major gains should the Lions grasp the chance.
Just one win during May has seen Hakoah Sydney City East slip seven points behind the leaders but they still remain the best of the rest, as it were. It is becoming a close run thing though, with three clubs within two points, including their opponents this weekend. They won’t want all the good work to date to start to slip, so as difficult as the trip will be, Hakoah are sure to be up for the fight.
Source FNSW Website- by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2 Reporter