Football supporters have often been labelled the ‘twelfth man’.
Their support so potent it translates to an extra physical presence on the field.
So as we turn the corner and charge into the final straight of the 2018 season, which team’s support will truly become their twelfth man and inspire their team to achieve incredible feats?
Be sure to get down and support your club as they enter another epic round of football in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.
Match of the Round: Western Sydney Wanderers vs Northern Tigers FC – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Sydney United Sports Centre
The Western Sydney Wanderers have fallen down the competition table faster than Tony Popovic’s stint in Turkey went down the toilet.
Three losses in their past four games, winless in eight.
Since their last victory – all the way back in Round 11 – the woeful Wanderers have watched numerous teams climb above them in the standings, as their own finals’ chances have steadily slipped away.
One of those teams benefiting from the Wanderers’ decline has been the Northern Tigers.
Jason Eagar’s side have steadied the ship in recent weeks, collecting four points from their past two games to sit just two points outside the top six.
Although with so many teams trying to squeeze into the finals’ places, the pressure is on the Tigers to win this match to ensure they fend off the challenge of rival teams.
With the finals looking unlikely for the Wanderers, can Samuel Silvera and co. k.o. the Tigers’ own top six chances by stealing all three points on Saturday night?
Find out in another enthralling match of the round fixture in the NPL 2 NSW Men’s.
Canterbury Bankstown vs Blacktown Spartan – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – The Crest Athletic Centre
Don’t be fooled.
Just because neither of these teams will be playing finals’ football this season, doesn’t mean this game isn’t important.
In fact, it’s arguably more important than if these teams were trying to qualify for the finals.
This game is all about survival.
With Canterbury Bankstown and the Blacktown Spartans both threatened by relegation on the Club Championship table, this game is vitally important for both sides as they look to secure their status in the NPL 2 for at least another season.
Parramatta FC vs Central Coast Mariners – 3pm, Sunday 15th July – Melita Stadium
Speaking of the Club Championship.
These two teams are at totally opposite ends of the table which decides who gets promoted to the promised land of NPL 1 and who gets relegated to the depths of the NPL 3.
Right now, the Central Coast Mariners are in poll position for potential promotion whilst it’s the unfortunate Eagles who occupy the potential relegation spot.
Melita Stadium has witnessed some incredible feats down the years, is there enough magic in the old girl to produce one more?
With some of the most passionate supporters in the NPL set up, get down and support your team on Sunday afternoon as they attempt to pull one final rabbit out of an ageing hat.
Mt Druitt Town Rangers vs Mounties Wanderers – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Poppondetta Park
Mt Druitt are having a party and so far, the Mounties aren’t invited.
Come the conclusion of Round 26, the finals will kick-off, and as things stand, it’s the Rangers, not the Mounties who stand the best chance of taking out the greatest prize in NPL 2 football.
The only way for the Mounties to get themselves an invite to the finals’ party is to continue winning games.
And three points at the home of the league leaders will be the perfect opportunity to show the rest of the league that they deserve to be invited for the big dance in October.
St George vs Hills United – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Ilinden Sports Centre
Throughout a season, each team is likely to endure a difficult spell with injuries and suspensions.
However, for a select unlucky few, these injuries and suspensions seem to occur all at once.
And, right now, it’s happening to St George.
Perhaps then, it’s no surprise the Saints have suffered two crippling defeats in a row.
These defeats have seen St George lose pace with the top 3, falling into an unfortunate middle-ground between the top of the top six and the bottom of it.
A ‘no-man’s land’.
A place, in war-time, any man who ventured into was likely to die.
Although the perils of no-man’s land still persist for the Saints.
With no immediate threat of dropping out of the top six, nor motivation to win the Premiership, the Saints could become complacent.
And the curse of complacency is not a welcome guest when the football becomes do-or-die.
Can Savor’s Saints shake off the threat of complacency as they welcome a top-six rival in Hills United to the Ilinden Sports Centre on Saturday night?
We’ll have to wait and see.
Rydalmere Lions vs North Shore Mariners – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Valentine Sports Park
Rydalmere can hear the thumping footsteps of the Mounties and the Northern Tigers beating behind their backs.
Their getting closer.
Every week, closer.
And if Rydalmere don’t keep winning, the footsteps will quickly overtake them.
The North Shore Mariners have been in superb form recently, and with their eyes set on a top-two finish, Joe Haywood’s team may well be the team that knock Rydalmere out of the top six.
Can Tony Basha’s team hold on for another week, or is the pressure too much for his lion cubs to handle?
GHFA Spirit FC vs Macarthur Rams – 7pm, Saturday 14th July – Christie Park
The Rams provided us with the shock of the season last weekend, defeating St George 4-3 in a thriller at the Ilinden Sports Centre.
Although the question is, can they repeat that performance?
In each of the two games the Rams have won this season, they have followed up that result with a defeat.
What will fill the Macarthur faithful with belief is the fact that they have already beaten Spirit FC this season – a 4-1 thrashing at Lynwood Park in Round 7.
Spirit FC have evolved into a different beast since that game, rising up the competition table to sit on the cusp of finals’ qualification.
With revenge on their mind, plus ambitions to make the top six, David Perkovic’s side won’t be lacking any motivation in what promises to be a fiery encounter on Saturday night.
Source FNSW Website - By Ryan Latty