The Premiership, finals contention and the struggle down at the bottom of the club championship keeps interest in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s 2 competition at an all time high, as we enter the final six rounds.
This week, we visit Marconi Stadium for the home side’s Match of the Round clash against Central Coast Mariners.
Marconi v Central Coast Mariners Sunday 3pm Marconi Stadium, Bossley Park
It hasn’t been the best of weeks for Marconi who may have had one eye on their Westfield FFA Cup game next week. They seemed headed for a loss a fortnight ago before a stirring comeback against Bankstown Berries but then went down to Fraser Park last Saturday. Not the best of leadups then before their televised match against Hume City and maybe Central Coast could take further advantage. Marconi will need to watch out though on those clubs below as any further slips could put a finals spot in jeopardy.
Central Coast picked up a point against their namesakes last weekend, their first in three games, keeping them in contention. If they can be successful here, the Mariners will really put themselves in the mix, something which will surely be the aim. We are unlikely to see nine goals in this game, as was the case the last time these two met, but if the Coast can get away with one or two, that may be enough.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Fraser Park Saturday 7pm Blacktown Football Park, Doonside
Last week’s loss to Bankstown Berries did not prove to be as crucial as it otherwise might have been for the Wanderers, following Sydney FC’s defeat on the same night. They kept their one point lead over the Sky Blues and retain a healthy buffer over those in third place, at least for the time being. At home to Fraser Park this weekend throws up all sorts of scenarios. Will the Wanderers respond to last week’s loss or will the visitors continue with their run of wins?
Fraser Park have the players to cause another boilover. Their recent results have been nothing short of phenomenal and it seems that the prospect of a trip to the Wanderers won’t cause them too much concern. After defeating Marconi last weekend, Fraser Park have the confidence now to take on all comers. If they can get past the next two weeks, with Sydney FC following, their revival may just about be complete.
Mount Druitt Town Rangers v St George Saturday 7pm Popondetta Park, Emerton
After a little stumble a few weeks ago, Mount Druitt Town have regained their form with two consecutive wins, and they will be seeking three in a row when St George head out west. With three goals in each of those past two wins, Rangers have certainly found the net with ease, sharing the goals around too, so the Saints will have their work cut out keeping the likes of Abraham Majok and Kuag Reec quiet, to name just two.
St George are beginning to find themselves in a scrap at the bottom, of the club championship at least, and they need to start picking up some points regularly if they are to avoid a similar scenario to last year. They haven’t been at their best the past couple of weeks, but if they can return to the form that they showed just prior, that should be a start. Mount Druitt Town have had the upper hand the last couple of times they’ve met, a 1-0 win at St George Stadium back in April and a 4-0 home victory in 2015.
Spirit FC v Macarthur Rams Saturday 7pm Christie Park, Marsfield
Spirit were scheduled to play a catch up against Mounties on Wednesday night but another wet evening caused that to be postponed for a further two weeks. They will be disappointed by the lack of action once more, keen as they are to try and move away from the relegation area. It may mean that they will be even more eager for points when Macarthur visit Christie Park. They ground out a 1-0 win against St George, thanks largely to a very strong defence. Just two goals conceded in their past four games might give the Rams cause for concern.
But Macarthur Rams surprised with a come from behind 4-2 win over Sydney FC last weekend and will take to Christie Park with a spring in their step. That win lifted the Rams to seventh and just one point behind Mount Druitt Town Rangers, who they meet next week. A win here will set up Macarthur for what could be a valuable fortnight. While the Rams may have their work cut out trying to score against a defence in strong form, they have shared the goals around thirteen different players this season, so they are certainly not without options.
Northern Tigers v Bankstown City Saturday 7pm Valentine Park, Glenwood
Northern Tigers have surprisingly dropped to eighth after three straight losses but for all that, they are still well in the hunt for a spot in the top six. They remain amongst a host of clubs still seeking to continue their season into September, and to defend their Champions title. With this week’s opponents also on a three game losing streak, this may just be the best time possible to meet the Lions.
Bankstown will have a busy couple of weeks with their washed out matches to be played over the next two Wednesdays. They missed the chance to make ground on the top two last weekend which will irk them so if their upcoming rescheduled games are to count for as much as possible, they will need to take some points away from Valentine.
Sydney FC v Bankstown Berries Saturday 7:45pm Lambert Park, Leichhardt
It would have been a stunned Sydney FC who departed Lynwood Park last weekend after conceding four relatively late goals to Macarthur Rams. Fortunately for the Sky Blues, Western Sydney Wanderers also lost, to Sydney FC’s opponents this Saturday, and so there is still only a single point gap. Sydney FC might do well to keep on guard against the Berries, who came within a whisker of also defeating Marconi two weeks ago.
The Berries are one of the clubs battling away at the wrong end of the club championship but recent results would certainly have provided a welcome boost. Since losing to Macarthur a few Wednesdays ago, they have taken two wins and a draw from their three games, and while they remain second from bottom on the league ladder, they remain the best placed of the five fighting relegation. To not leave Lambert Park empty handed will be the aim, and with Nicholas Paras on something of a goal spree, that won’t be an impossibility.
Mounties Wanderers v North Shore Mariners Sunday 3pm Valentine Park, Glenwood
Mounties were one of the clubs who gained the most from last weekend’s results and with three from three, they, like Spirit, probably would have preferred to be in action midweek. As it is, they have eight days between games, so they will be more than ready by Sunday. Mounties may be fifth on the ladder, but being equal third on points presents them with a fine opportunity to finish off the season with a flourish. But North Shore have shown themselves more than capable of causing trouble, so Mounties can’t afford to show complacency.
North Shore Mariners have now dropped three points off second from last but would have been reasonably content with a point up the Coast last weekend. They may be travelling again this round, but having played a few home games of their own at Valentine Park, the surroundings certainly won’t be unfamiliar. The last time these two clubs met it was a 3-3 draw, North Shore will be wanting a win this time around, to work their way away from the bottom.
Source FNSW - by Peter Rowney, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men's 2 Reporter