As the season turns for the second round of fixtures in the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 competition, our feature game takes us to Jensen Park as Bankstown City become the latest club to tackle Spirit FC.
Bankstown City v Spirit FC, Sunday 3pm, Jensen Park, Sefton
Bankstown City are the next club with the task of upsetting Spirit. No doubt they will relish the challenge to do what most other teams haven’t managed and they certainly have the squad to do it. What is surprising is that, with the quality of the lineup, they have only won four games. What better way to change that statistic than to get a win this Sunday.
Spirit continue of course to collect those wins. It is going to be tough period ahead though with four away games in a row, including three over the next week, before meeting Central Coast at home on the weekend before the break. It will be an interesting month, starting with the Lions. Spirit got up by the single goal back in round one, they will be content with a repeat of that scoreline once more.
Goals may be few, with the best two defences on show, but it is sure to be a fixture keenly watched, to see who comes out on top.
Sydney University v Central Coast, Saturday 7:30pm, Lambert Park, Leichhardt
It looks like it might be another difficult night for Sydney University this Saturday when second placed Central Coast come to town. Uni are still neck and neck with Mounties at the foot of the table and are just having trouble getting themselves over the line in matches. The recent signing of Stefan de Jesus from Bankstown City will certainly aid their cause but while Nathan Sansom is excelling as a makeshift striker, and almost scored again last week, the captain is primarily a defender and the lack of goals in general must be a concern. Territory, possession and work ethic haven’t been in short supply, but it is goals that win games.
Central Coast have no such worries. They remain the league’s highest scorers at an average of just over two per game, with Josh Bingham, Trent Buhagiar and Adam Woodbine having fifteen between them. They remain hot on Spirit’s tail and after having gone through May undefeated, are likely to be the only constant threat to the leaders. Perhaps even more importantly, they remain top of the Club Championship at the half way point, and that has its own reward.
St George v Macarthur Rams, Saturday 7:30pm, St George Stadium, Kyeemagh
The first half of the season hasn’t been too kind for these two traditional heavyweights, but the tide seems to be turning for the Saints at least. They haven’t been defeated since a midweek loss to Spirit four games ago, and they rose into the top half of the table for the first time following last week’s victory. Even more importantly, they are just one point from the five, so things are looking up.
Macarthur had a poor week before claiming a point against Northern Tigers. Unusually they sit in ninth position, a rarely seen sight. The Rams are nothing if not dogged though and they claimed the points when these two met on the opening day. Matches are invariably close and there is nothing to suggest that this weekend should be any different.
Bankstown Berries v Northern Tigers, Saturday 7:30pm, The Crest, Bass Hill
It has been a terrible time for Bankstown Berries who have lost their past four games. After a promising start, the Berries are in something of a slump with just one win in their past seven matches, something of a surprise after strong off season activity. But a lack of recent points aside, they are still only six points from fifth with a game in hand, next Wednesday night against Fraser Park. There is time for improvement of course, and while Gerard Ouffoue may have moved on, the return to the field of Dimitri Zakilas may be just what the doctor ordered.
Fortunately for the Berries, this weekend they face another club who seem to have lost form. Northern Tigers were sitting pretty for a while but have now failed to win in their past five matches and are on the verge of dropping out of the top five, should the poor run continue. The Tigers aren’t likely to take that scenario lying down, so poor form or not, the Berries will have a fight on their hands.
Mounties Wanderers v Mount Druitt Town Rangers, Saturday 7:30pm, Cook Park, Mount Pritchard
With three of their next four games at home, the time is ripe for Mounties to start to gather some points as they look to move away from the bottom end of the table. It has not been a season to write home about, that’s for sure, and their season’s aim would now be different to that at the start of the season. But an improved second half looks promising and that win, which would surely bring some confidence to the squad, can’t be far away.
It will be a return to Cook Park for Elsid Barkhousir, who moved across to Rangers from Mounties at the start of the transfer window. It may not have gone to plan at Mounties, with Barkhousir failing to find the net in his time there, but the striker has already scored for Rangers, in just two games. It could well be that Barkhousir could score at Cook Park, but unfortunately for the Mounties, it would now be for the opposition side.
Fraser Park v Hakoah Sydney City East, Sunday 3pm, Fraser Park Sydenham
True to form, Fraser Park followed up their win against Sydney University with a loss to Central Coast last Sunday. How to create some consistency seems to be the main priority at the moment, as Fraser currently sit in eighth spot. They expected a little better going into this season and while they have certainly produced on occasions, it simply has not been often enough. As the second round commences, and with three homes games over the next week, the time is right for Fraser to rise.
Unlike their hosts, Hakoah have been nothing but consistent. Only once have they gone two games without winning and they sit comfortably in third in their inaugural Men’s 2 season. Taking all three points away from Jensen Park is a huge boost to their stocks too, while even the goals were shared around last weekend. Hakoah are sure to want nothing less than three points here.
Source FNSW Website- by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2 Reporter