While the final round of the PS4 NPL NSW Men’s 2 takes place this weekend, credit and glory can finally go to Spirit FC who claimed the Premiership on Tuesday after Hakoah Sydney City East’s 1-1 result against Mount Druitt Town Rangers. Spirit’s lead of five points is now unassailable with just this weekend to go.
Our feature game takes us to Fraser Park for their clash with Central Coast, a team still vying for a double chance, while many eyes will also be on Lambert Park, where Sydney University take on St George in a game which could well decide who plays NPL2 next season.
Fraser Park v Central Coast Sunday 3pm Fraser Park Sydenham
Fraser Park’s season will end on Sunday and it will be considered disappointing by the faithful that they couldn’t take their finals challenge down to the last weekend. They have been battling for the finals for much of the season but last week’s loss to a ten-man Sydney University killed off their hopes. All in all though, it has been a decent season for Fraser who returned to their Sydenham home after being away all last season. The future looks good and a win to finish off the year will be their target. Hussein Akil has a narrow lead in the race for the Golden Boot and will be hoping for a goal or two to get over the line in that contest.
Just two goals behind Akil is the Central Coast’s Trent Buhagiar. While the Coast will be more focussed on the team’s result here, and hoping that the Rams can do them a favour at Mills Park, who scores the goals, if any, will be an interesting sidelight. Having only conceded the club championship last weekend, the Coast will be disappointed not to make good progress through the Championship series. Having fallen early in last year’s series, they will be looking to go better in this.
Sydney University v St George Saturday 7:30pm Lambert Park Leichhardt
With Lambert Park the venue for the PS4 NPL 1 semi-finals on Sunday, this match has been moved to Saturday night in what could be a club championship relegation decider.
Syd Uni’s win against Fraser Park last week kept the club in the hunt to avoid last spot and it may well be a tense time for both clubs on Saturday evening. Uni will be missing Nathan Sansom, the club’s top scorer, sent off last week, but the influence of Peter Crevani and Tayfun Buyyukopru, the scorer against Fraser, cannot be underestimated.
St George were in a similar situation last year when in PS4 Men’s 1. They failed at the final attempt against Marconi then but will be hoping for a much better outcome this week. Two late goals conceded against Northern Tigers prevented any hope of a comeback but with it all on the line this Saturday, the Saints simply can’t allow the defence to be breached.
Mounties Wanderers v Spirit FC Sunday 3pm Cook Park Mt Pritchard
After Hakoah’s draw on Tuesday, Spirit FC can enter this game as well deserved Premiers. Fifteen wins from twenty one games, the best attack (46) and the best defence (16) clearly shows that they are worthy winners. They should enjoy this occasion, and the pleasure that comes with winning their first Premiership since State League 1 in 2009. They will then have the opportunity to enjoy a week off before their Championship contest commences.
Mounties will know what they have to do by the time this game commences. With Sydney University v St George being moved to Saturday night, Mounties will be aware of their target to avoid, if possible, the wooden spoon. Anything less than a Uni win will give Mounties the chance to avoid last spot, something they will be keen to do.
Northern Tigers v Macarthur Rams Sunday 3pm Mills Park Asquith
The equation is simple for Northern Tigers. Win and third place, and that double finals chance, is secure. They can’t catch Hakoah but the Tigers will be well satisfied with a top three spot if they can get over Macarthur. They know how to score goals so that shouldn’t be a problem even though the Rams did keep them scoreless in round 11. Eleven different players have hit the back of the net this season so Macarthur may be busy.
The Rams have settled into ninth spot it seems with only St George able to jump them should they not win. Not the best of seasons but not the worst either and it may well be considered a transition year for the club who promoted John Sopina to the first team coaching position this year. They will be stronger for the experience next season and a win to finish off this year would be a suitable ending to the season.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v Bankstown Berries Sunday 3pm Popondetta Park Emerton
After such a run of losses, Mount Druitt Town Rangers have picked up points in their past two games although Tuesday’s twenty three minutes of play was not an ideal situation. Still, a point is a point and a decent one against a club who have been riding high. It all went horribly wrong for Rangers mid-year but here is the chance to send off the season with a winning note.
Unfortunately for the Berries, the hardest schedule of all put paid to their season. Defeats to Hakoah and Spirit FC in the past fortnight cost them dearly but after their own midyear stumble, they did extremely well to get as close as they did to making the finals. At the half way point, the Berries were tenth and nine points behind fifth but some strong wins brought them back right into contention. Perhaps the gap was just too much, but after a dismal 2014, it was a marked improvement. Like the Rangers, a win to finish off the year will be a welcome one.
Hakoah Sydney City East v Bankstown City Sunday 3pm Hensley Field Pagewood
A week ago, this game had the look of a decider about it but events of the past few days have effectively turned this into a dead rubber. Hakoah have finished second and for all intents and purposes, Bankstown City have finished fifth. Both clubs have the finals to look forward too and they may take the opportunity to rest some weary legs, or rest players to avoid possible suspensions, before the Championship starts next weekend.
It should be a close one nonetheless. Maybe few goals, as only Spirit have conceded less than both Hakoah and the Lions, though Neil Jablonski, one behind in the Golden Boot, may want to have something to say about that. Hakoah won the reverse fixture back in round 11 but the Lions have now found consistency since that match, losing only one of their past nine. Hakoah’s dropped points on Tuesday were their first in eight games so while there may be nothing riding on this game, except pride, this will be a match between two teams at the top of their form.
Source FNSW Website - by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2 Reporter