The week’s break has given a chance for all clubs in the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 competition to freshen up, but one team who hope to continue where they left off is Sydney University, who tackle Northern Tigers in this week’s feature game.
Sydney University v Northern Tigers Saturday 7:30pm Lambert Park, Leichhardt
Sydney Uni has certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons in recent weeks, winning three of their past four, all victories against clubs in the top five at the time. Their mid-season signings have made all the difference and where once the season looked to be heading for disaster, it now shows a lot more hope. They have drawn six points clear of Mounties Wanderers and are now just one win behind Macarthur Rams, a situation which could hardly have been predicted a short time ago. They are sure to prove a much tougher opposition now, as we head into the last third of the year.
Northern Tigers defeated Uni at Mills Park 3-2 back in round five, at a time when Uni were still winless. Things have changed now of course, but the Tigers have gone five games unbeaten and will prove a stern test. They are seeking that double chance for the finals, and to keep the pressure on Hakoah and Central Coast, they need the points here. Keeping a close eye on Peter Crevani, in outstanding form at the moment, would seem to be the first task at hand.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Spirit FC Saturday 7:30pm Hensley Field Pagewood
This is a tasty fixture which sees Spirit travel east to Hensley Field to take on third placed Hakoah. It was a comfortable win to the visitors when they met earlier in the season, but Hakoah, who are well placed in the Club Championship, have plenty to play for, despite being ten points in arrears in first grade. A win here can reopen their challenge and you can be sure that Hakoah will be playing for nothing less than three points.
Spirit continued their excellent form with that win against Central Coast, before the break. They seem to fear little at the moment, with good reason. A healthy mixture of youth and experience, solid defending and past faced attack means that any club coming up against them needs to be on song. This week should prove to be one of Spirit’s tougher matches so plenty will be watching with interest.
Mounties Wanderers v St George Saturday 7:30pm Cook Park Mount Pritchard
It is going to be an important week for Mounties. With St George the visitors this Saturday, and then Macarthur Rams the Wednesday after, Mounties face two home fixtures against clubs who are, after Sydney Uni, the closest, and only, clubs who they could possibly catch. And after finally getting off the mark against Fraser Park a couple of weeks ago, and with Reid Taylor getting amongst the goals in their past two games, they certainly aren’t without hope.
St George have lost their past four and desperately need points themselves. It won’t be easy at Cook Park, despite Mounties’ lowly position, and a return to the display they showed at Mills Park is quickly required. The semifinals are looking increasingly out of reach, and this could be the Saints’ last throw of the dice.
Central Coast v Mt Druitt Town Rangers Sunday 3pm Pluim Park Lisarow
June wasn’t the best of months for Central Coast who suffered three defeats in their four games, allowing Spirit to gain a healthy lead in the title race. A week’s break may just be what the doctor ordered as the Coast look to enter the final rounds with a flourish. As much as a title run would be welcomed, it is hard not to think that the Coast may be more interested now in the Club Championship and the possible rewards to be earned there. As such, a win against Mount Druitt Town will be all but imperative.
Rangers have a different target, and after their fine form so far this season, they won’t settle for anything less than a spot in the semis. But June wasn’t so fruitful for Mount Druitt either, and four games without a win, including three successive losses, has seen them drop outside the five for the first time in six weeks. They will need to recover quickly, with the two Bankstown’s lurking in striking distance.
Fraser Park v Macarthur Rams Sunday 3pm Fraser Park Sydenham
Fraser Park look primed for a good final third. Unbeaten at home and with five of the remaining seven games to be played at Fraser, they look to have little excuse not to finish with a bang. They have squeezed into the five, if only on goal difference, but a good run home may give them the advantage over their fellow challengers. A win against the Rams, who are struggling at the moment, will help their cause.
Macarthur have won only one of their past eight and it hasn’t gone well this season. Even more concerning must be that they are yet to win a game against anyone currently higher than ninth. Their four wins have come against St George (twice), Sydney University and Mounties Wanderers, a record that they will surely want to change. With a game in hand, they are not quite out of the final’s race, but like St George, they don’t have a lot of time left to make amends.
Bankstown City v Bankstown Berries Sunday 3pm Jensen Park Sefton
The two Bankstown based clubs come head-to-head this Sunday with a lot at stake. Along with Mount Druitt, they remain the closest challengers to those currently in the five, so three points for either must be the target. The Lions have the advantage over the Berries, points wise, and a win this week will present them with a five point buffer, along with a far superior goal difference. A welcome target to aim at.
The Berries have fought their way back into contention with a run of three wins. It didn’t look like it would be that way a month or so ago, but they have excelled to gather nine from nine. Jensen Park will be a tough place to continue with that record, but a draw between the two at The Crest shows that this could go either way.
Source FNSW Website-by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2 Reporter