We’re almost halfway through the season and the competition table is beginning to take shape.
But with the transfer window fast approaching and whispers of potential signings on their way, football fans better buckle up for one wild ride as another fantastic weekend of football kicks-off in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.
Match of the Round
Central Coast Mariners vs North Shore Mariners
The match of the round this weekend really picks itself.
A Mariners derby between the Coast and the North Shore.
Two regions supplying the future talent of Australian football.
However forget the future, of far greater immediate concern is the present, and the offer of three invaluable competition points.
Central Coast produced one of the results of the season last weekend, thumping league leaders, Mt Druitt, by four goals to one.
Meaning they are one of only two teams in the NPL Men’s top three leagues yet to taste defeat so far this season.
Although, easily missed amidst the acclamation of their undefeated streak is an alarming statistic for Central Coast.
Their 6 draws is the most of any team in the league.
The significance of this statistic should not be missed as it suggests an inability to find a clinical edge in matches they really should be winning.
Matches against teams like Macarthur Rams, Blacktown Spartans, Parramatta FC, Canterbury Bankstown – all teams Central Coast have drawn against.
Finding a way to win when a draw looks inevitable has become a speciality for North Shore in recent weeks.
In two matches against Mounties and the Northern Tigers, North Shore have stolen all three points with last minute goals.
Will there be late drama in this derby?
Can Central Coast maintain their unbeaten run?
Find out in another must-watch game in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.
Blacktown Spartans vs Hills United – 7pm, Saturday 12th May – Blacktown Football Park
Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Whilst the Blacktown Spartans have denied reports suggesting off-field instability at the club, questions continue to rage over the uncertainty which hangs over Blacktown Football Park.
Rumours are not the concern of us here at Football NSW.
We deal in facts.
Although, sadly for the Spartans, the facts are worse than the rumours.
Without a win since Round 1, the worst defensive record in the league, sitting bottom of the competition table – maybe these persistent rumours are welcome distractions from the bleak reality the Spartans currently occupy.
The horizon is markedly brighter for their Round 11 opponents, Hills United.
Luke McGuire’s men sit in second position, hoping to ride the Daniel Fogarty wave all the way to the finals.
Equally impressive for Hills has been the form of Luke Turnbull.
The experienced goal keeper’s cat-like reflexes has given United 9 lives at times this season and he will surely be key for Hills on Saturday night when they travel to the foot of the Rooty Hill.
GHFA Spirit FC vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers – 7pm, Saturday 12th May – Christie Park
Is there a worse time to play Mt Druitt?
After a humiliating defeat in front of their own fans last weekend, the Rangers are desperate to make amends.
That’s bad news for a struggling Spirit FC side.
Currently in 9th place, the gap between them and the top six is widening, whilst the gap between them and the bottom teams is narrowing.
However Spirit FC are out to make amends of their own.
The christening of Christie Park didn’t exactly go to plan last time.
A 3-0 defeat to Central Coast Mariners followed up by a 2-1 defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers.
Can Spirit FC get their first win at the new Christie Park or will the Rangers show the rest of the league that they are still the only sheriffs in town?
Macarthur Rams vs Western Sydney Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 12th May – Lynwood Park
The Rams have an opportunity to make a big statement on Saturday night, as they host a Wanderers team lacking three of their brightest stars.
Abraham Majok, Lachlan Scott and Kosta Grozos are all likely to miss this weekend’s match and it may be several weeks before we see them again.
These three have been the Wanderers very own Salah, Firmino and Mane this season, a trident of attacking talent and flair.
Although their omission, possibly for the rest of the season, could spell trouble for the Red and Black.
For the Rams, their main concern is survival.
Therefore they have a great chance to put the pressure on Parramatta FC and Canterbury Bankstown – who play each other in the late kick-off the following day.
If the Rams managed to win at Lynwood Park on Saturday night, it turns the Eagles/Berries clash into a must-win game.
Anything other than three points for the Wanderers could mean opening the door to the likes of the Northern Tigers, Mounties Wanderers and the Rydalmere Lions who are trying to sneak into the finals’ places.
Northern Tigers vs St George FC – 7pm, Saturday 12th May – North Turramurra Recreation Area
The Tigers are on the cusp of the top 6 but to crack the code and join the club, they’ll have to do something they haven’t done all season.
Beat a top 6 team.
In the three games the Tigers have played against the current top 6 this season, they’ve picked up just two points without any wins.
Although their fixture list doesn’t get any easier as they travel to Lily Homes Stadium next week to take on a red-hot Hills United team.
Hovever with transfer rumours swirling around the league, and in particular St George, maybe this is the best time to play the Saints?
Mounties Wanderers vs Rydalmere Lions – 7pm, Saturday 12th May – Sydney United Sports Centre
The Mounties revolution continues.
Terry Palapanis is masterminding a mid-season push for the top 6, but the finals train is soon to depart and unless the Wanderers start picking up maximum points on a regular basis, they may arrive at the platform too late.
To help them in their bid for finals football, Palapanis has been plotting a host of new signings, some of them sure to raise a few eyebrows across the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.
Although for all the potential transfer furore, the Wanderers need to secure three points against a team currently above them in the league, Rydalmere Lions.
The Lions schizophrenic form has consigned them to the middle of the table so far this season, despite their form (at times) suggesting the realisation of loftier ambitions.
Will the Mounties revolution prevail or will the Lions find their roar on Saturday night?
Parramatta FC vs Canterbury Bankstown – 7pm, Sunday 13th May – Melita Stadium
This game is not a ‘six-pointer’
It’s more important than that.
Two teams languishing down the bottom of the competition table, and arguably more concerning, the bottom of the Club Championship table, go head to head in the last match of Round 11.
The Berries come into this match in strong form.
Their victory over Spirit FC last weekend has elevated them out of the bottom three for the first time this season.
The space vacated by the Berries has been duly filled by a luckless Parramatta side.
The Eagles’ performances have arguably warranted more than the points they’ve amassed thus far this season.
Although ultimately there is no column on the table that says “points they should have won”.
The passionate Parramatta fans are sure to pack out Melita Stadium on Sunday night as 90 minutes of vitally important football that could have an irrevocable impact on each team’s season unfolds.
Source FNSW website - By Ryan Latty