With the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 competition entering the final fortnight, we head to The Crest for Bankstown Berries vs Spirit FC for our Match of the Round game.
Bankstown Berries vs Spirit FC Saturday 7:30pm The Crest, Bass Hill
Bankstown Berries battle for fifth will go right down to the final match day. From what was a fight between five clubs for effectively one spot a couple of weeks ago, it is now down to three. But with a far inferior goal difference than Bankstown City, the Berries have little option but to take the game to Spirit FC this Saturday, a win seemingly essential if they are to have a chance of making the five. Both Bankstown clubs have difficult draws, against top teams, which will make for a riveting last fortnight.
After Hakoah’s game didn’t reach a result on Wednesday, it is likely that the title won’t be decided until next week. That is of course, unless Hakoah drop points against Mounties and Spirit claim all three against the Berries. That will be the hope for Spirit naturally, and while they may keep one eye on events at Cook Park, the focus will be on yet another win, this time at The Crest.
Mounties Wanderers vs Hakoah Sydney City East Saturday 7:30pm Cook Park, Mount Pritchard
Mounties have two home games to finish off the season, but they could hardly have asked for two harder teams to meet. They welcome a Hakoah side this week still in the thick of the action on two fronts, and while there is never an ideal time to meet such a strong team, a game against Mount Druitt Town Rangers midweek at least might mean that there may be some heavy legs in the Hakoah side on Saturday. Next week it is Spirit FC, so points will be needed somewhere to ensure that Sydney University, just one point adrift, are kept at bay.
Hakoah’s game against Mount Druitt Town on Wednesday was called off midway through the second half after the sprinklers firstly came on, and then the floodlights went off. With the score 1-1, the final twenty three minutes will be played at Parklea next Tuesday which will certainly keep Hakoah on their toes. They will clearly need the points at Mounties to maintain that pressure on Spirit FC.
Macarthur Rams vs Mount Druitt Town Rangers Saturday 7:30pm Lynwood Park, St Helens Park
This is the only fixture of the weekend that has no bearing on top or bottom. Which must be a disappointment for both sides who started the year with high hopes. The Rams will shortly be handing over the championship crown but will at least strive to end up with a win or two before that happens. Three straight losses against the top three has made for a difficult finish but a match this week against the Rangers, on a disturbing trot of seven straight losses, will give them some hope.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers might have been reasonably content with the 1-1 progress against Hakoah, a possible point more than they have managed in the past two months. But that game is not over yet, and with the Rangers being down to ten in that game, they will need to play the final portion of the game a man short. While they are mathematically still in with a shout of the five, not even the most fervent of Rangers fans would be expecting finals football. Even so, pride counts and both the Rams and Rangers will have that on their minds on Saturday.
St George vs Northern Tigers Saturday 7:30pm St George Stadium, Kyeemagh
A penalty was all that stood between St George and Fraser Park on Sunday and the Saints can probably feel a bit unfortunate to have conceded such a goal in a game which was otherwise even. As such, it was a continuation of the improved performances of late but with a near certain finals bound Northern Tigers visiting this weekend, the Saints have no room for error. Currently in tenth, there is the possibility of an eighth spot finish, worthwhile now at this stage of the season.
The Tigers have their sights set somewhat higher though with the finals double chance the aim. Currently in fourth, they sit two points behind Central Coast who play Sunday. A win against St George would add some pressure to the Coast’s fixture, something that the Tigers will no doubt have considered.
Fraser Park vs Sydney University Sunday 3pm, Fraser Park, Sydenham
The results went the way of Fraser Park last week keeping their finals ambitions alive. It could get even better this week with both Bankstown City and Bankstown Berries playing two of the top three. Should either, or both, slip up once more, Fraser should be primed to overtake. They meet Sydney University, currently bottom maybe, but not out. With Hussein Akil injured, Fraser will need to look elsewhere for goals, with Nikola Todoroki, on seven for the season, the most likely source.
It was a late equaliser against Bankstown City last week which helped Uni earn a point. Similarly to the late boilover against Hakoah, Uni didn’t lie down and Fraser Park can expect the same treatment on Sunday. The wooden spoon is not yet decided.
Bankstown City vs Central Coast Sunday 3pm, Jensen Park, Sefton
There will be much on the line by the time this match takes place. By 3pm Sunday, the Lions will know how their immediate rivals for fifth fared, while the Coast will have seen Hakoah’s and Northern Tigers’ results, and how their position may have changed. It all points to what should be a thrilling encounter at Jensen this weekend.
Bankstown City gave up a late point last weekend which may yet prove costly. By reports, they were dominant against Uni but failed to take the win, a scenario which they surely won’t let happen again. Just one loss in their past eight, the Lions are in their best form of the season, form which may have arrived at just the right time.
Central Coast, by comparison, have been somewhat erratic recently, results wise. Alternate wins and losses over the past six rounds removed them from the title race and even second looks difficult now. Instead, they, like Tigers, have their sights on third, and that advantage lies with the team from the Coast, despite playing their final two games away.
Source FNSW Website - by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2 Reporter