There can only be one consideration for our feature game this week, and that is at Christie Park, for the top of the table clash between Spirit FC and Central Coast.
Spirit FC v Central Coast, Sunday 3pm Christie Park, Marsfield
This could be make or break as far as the title is concerned. A Spirit FC win against their nearest challengers will see the table toppers kick nine points clear with seven rounds remaining. While a collapse could possibly occur over future weeks, it appears to be a most unlikely scenario, two losses from fourteen matches a pretty good indication of their strength. A far superior goal difference doesn’t hurt either so there is not much in the way of negatives against Spirit at the moment.
Central Coast won’t have appreciated their loss last Sunday. It would have been ideal had they been within three points before this week’s game, but they will have to be content with attempting to reduce that lead instead. It is not out of the question of course, although they will arrive at Christie Park with little apparent to surprise Spirit’s John McLafferty, a coach well versed with the goings on up the Coast.
St George v Hakoah Sydney City East, Saturday 7:30pm, St George Stadium, Kyeemagh
It also looks likely to be make or break for a few other clubs this weekend too but for other reasons. St George are one of those clubs, surprisingly coming off three straight defeats after a good period had seen them rise to just outside the five not too long ago. Conceding goals in quick succession has been a recent bugbear of coach David Perkovic, and the two late goals conceded again, this time against the Berries last Saturday was costly, when a valuable win seemed more than possible. Hakoah won’t be any easier this week, with only the top two clubs having scored more.
The visitors would once again have been rapped with last week’s victory at Central Coast. The 4-1 win caught many by surprise but it was a great response to the loss the previous week. Hakoah are starting to share the goals around too, after relying on Neil Jablonski for a period there. Twelve different players have now scored for Hakoah, so the Saints will need to be aware across the park.
Bankstown City v Macarthur Rams, Saturday 7:30pm, Jensen Park, Sefton
Bankstown City and Macarthur Rams are another two of those clubs who can ill afford too many more dropped points, as we look towards the final third of the season. Seventh and tenth respectively, and four and eight points behind a finals spot as the table now stands, time will soon be running out. The Lions dropped two points late last Sunday which didn’t help but at least they are within striking distance, provided the wins return.
It is getting to the stage for the Rams where only victories will do. The reigning champions may miss out on the finals altogether unless results improve almost immediately, but a visit to Jensen may prove problematic. The availability of Chris Becerra in the goalkeeping ranks will help but it is going to be a tough ride from here on in.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v Sydney University, Saturday 7:30pm, Popondetta Park, Emerton
It is just one point from their past nine for Mount Druitt Town Rangers, a sequence of results which has seen them drop to fifth on the ladder. They will want to get back to winning ways when Sydney University come to visit, especially with Central Coast away the next cab off the rank.
After two straight wins, Uni came back to earth a little last week against Spirit FC, but thankfully, you don’t play Spirit every week. What may help determine Uni’s season will be how Marton Vass and Nathan Sansom recover from their injuries, and whether they take to the field on Saturday. It will be a tough fixture irrespective, with Rangers needing the points just as much, so this should be close.
Bankstown Berries v Mounties Wanderers, Saturday 7:30pm, The Crest, Bass Hill
It was a relieved Berries who took the points last week to re-kick their finals challenge. They are hanging on in the fight for the five but have little wriggle room left now. This is one game in which they won’t accept anything less than a win, but if they can show the same determination this Saturday as they did last, there is plenty of promise for three points. Having Dimitri Zakilas back too can only be a boost, his late equaliser helping to push the Berries over the line last weekend.
Mounties finally won during the week, hard fought though it was. But with that monkey off their backs now, it may just provide the release they needed. Keeping a full team on the park seems to be their next target, but if they can manage that, further wins may not be too far away.
Northern Tigers v Fraser Park, Sunday 3pm, Mills Park, Asquith
Northern Tigers seem to have regained their form, four games now without defeat. Equal third on points with Hakoah, the Tigers nonetheless are surrounded by other challengers all with the same idea of a top three berth. They won’t want to drop points here, against one of those challengers, especially with a difficult fixture schedule after the break. The late point against Bankstown City was valuable, as it kept the Lions at arm’s length, a not unimportant consideration.
Fraser Park had the chance to go third on Wednesday but faltered, and so remain in sixth, though just two points behind their opponents this weekend. It was a missed opportunity and they will do well to take something away from Mills Park on Sunday, after that tiring encounter.
Wednesday 24 June 2015
Mounties Wanderers v Fraser Park
At last Mounties got their win.
But nothing comes easy and when Mitchell King was given a straight red after just twenty one minutes, for a foul on Stefan Jovanovic, and they were down to ten so soon, it seemed that this would be yet another game that Mounties would be left to rue.
But an individual goal on the break to the pacy Reid Taylor eight minutes before half time gave them the lead and the ten men battled all the way before securing their first victory of the season. It wasn’t Fraser Park’s night, as they looked off colour for much of the game, plenty of possession but unable to get through a resolute Mounties team.
Hussein Akil had the best opportunity to equalise, breaking clear midway through the second half before shooting against Ali Akbal, but there were few other chances of note.
At the final whistle, a few Mounties collapsed to the ground, in relief most likely, perhaps in exhaustion, or maybe just both.
Mounties Wanderers 1 (Reid Taylor 37’) v Fraser Park 0
Mounties Wanderers: 30. Ali Akbal 3. Neftali Gonzalez 6. Aleksandar Tomic 8. Edward Stewart 15. Shane Webb (16.Rory McGeown 85’) 18. Mark D’Alessandro (c) 20. Reid Taylor (14. Dragan Savic 90+1’) 24. Mitchell King 26. Jacob Carluccio 27. Gongjun Lee 28. Leon Faria.
Subs not used: 1. James Stojcevski 2. Jamie Dib 11. Daine Merrin
Red card: Mitchell King 21’
Fraser Park: 1. Wayne Estavao 2. Rocci Gabey 5. Nick Dimitripoulos 6. Suad Ameti 8. Hussein Akil 10. Paulo Oliviera (c) (3. Davide Talone 55’) 11. Stefan Jovanovic 12. Adem Kir (9. Jeffrey Issa 69’) 17. Nikola Todoroski 18.Aleksandar Todoroski 20. Kim Daisan (4. Alexander Veljanovski 62’).
Sub not used; 22. Riley Keayes
Source FNSW Website-by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2 Reporter