Round Six of the National Premier Leagues Mens 2 competition commences with five games on Saturday while we wait until Sunday for this week’s Match of the Round, out at Edensor Park.
Match of the Round
Western Sydney Wanderers v Rydalmere Lions Sunday 7 April 3pm, Sydney United Sports Centre
We head west for this week’s Match of the Round with the high-flying Western Sydney Wanderers taking on sixth placed Rydalmere Lions. After a disappointing 2018, the Wanderers are once more challenging at the right end of the table with four wins from five, and a healthy four goals scored in each of their past two. This is more like the Wanderers of old, and just one point from top, expect the home side to attack Rydalmere with relish. Mohamed Adam and Marley Petersen lead the way for the Wanderers with ten goals between them, so look to this pair to provide more of the same come Sunday.
Rydalmere are having an impressive second season in NPL2 so far. Having strengthened the team during the off-season, the Lions are a stronger outfit in this, and have proven competitive since the start of the year, only succumbing to GHFA Spirit back in round three. Currently sixth, their most recent efforts have resulted in two draws, but considering that all but one game this season has been away from home, the Lions should be pleased with their results so far. This will be their fifth game away, so if they can take something from this weekend, it should auger well as the year progresses.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles v GHFA Spirit Saturday 6 April 6:30pm, Bonnyrigg Sports Club
It has been a tougher than expected start to the NPL2 for Bonnyrigg White Eagles, with just one win to date, and it doesn’t get any easier when they entertain the league leaders this coming weekend.
Last at this level in 2008, it is a much stronger competition now then when they left it, with the introduction of the HAL academy sides, ambitious “newer” clubs and a broader strengthening across the league, and this makes each game a much tougher proposition than what the Eagles might have expected.
But they have the ability, and what better way to show this by attempting to inflict the first defeat of the season on GHFA Spirit?
David Perkovic’s Spirit side have been making every post a winner so far. Having just failed to make last season’s finals on goal difference, they clearly don’t intend to fall at the final hurdle this year. Four straight victories have seen them solid at the top of the table, before last week’s somewhat surprising home draw against Macarthur Rams put a slight stop to that momentum. With Duncan Stewart leading the way with seven goals, half of Spirit’s goals tally, they certainly have the striker with a nose for goals, though Stewart will need to continue in this vein of form against the White Eagles, who despite their lowly position, have one of the best defences in the league.
Hills United v Blacktown Spartans Saturday 6 April 7pm, Lily Homes Stadium
Fifth meets seventh when Hills take on near neighbours Blacktown Spartans. Three wins from five have set United up nicely so far, under the new stewardship of Patrick Zwaanswijk. They did come undone against the Wanderers last weekend, a disappointing result no doubt after three straight wins. How they react to that defeat remains to be seen but the Spartans, who are coming of a victory, will provide some tough opposition.
Blacktown Spartans are just two points off Hills and will leapfrog them with a win here. They may not be the most prolific of scorers with only Connor Eldridge having netted more than once, but with Hills having conceded at least two in each game to date, this may be their chance.
Macarthur Rams v Mounties Wanderers Saturday 6 April 7pm, Lynwood Park
Macarthur Rams did very well in coming away from Christie Park with a point last week, the first side this season to take something way from a match v Spirit and that result should give the Rams players a boost to their confidence after what has been a slow start. Having been on the end of some hefty losses, and seemingly having trouble finding the net, Macarthur excelled in claiming the draw and they will be hoping that this is may just the start of a turnaround. Games between these two sides are generally tight affairs, but this time, with the two clubs having conceded 27 goals between them already, spectators at Lynwood Park should expect to see a few goals at least.
There is an embarrassment of riches in the front third for Mounties, who seem to have little trouble in finding the back of the net. It could be said that the introduction of Matthew West, off the bench last weekend, turned the game around against St George. West reduced the two goal half time deficit to one within moments of entering the field, and notched a second to put the Mounties in front with ten to go, helping them to a victory that didn’t seem likely at the break.
But at the other end , things are a different matter, with fifteen conceded the league’s second worst. Plugging this gap, while maintaining that strike rate, will surely have Mounties rising up the table.
Northern Tigers v St George City FA Saturday 6 April 7pm, North Turramurra Recreation Area
After a couple of straight losses, Northern Tigers will have been relieved to have taken the points against Canterbury Bankstown last weekend, and they will look to do the same when St George City FA visit this Saturday. Currently fourth, the Tigers are likely to be a challenger once more this season, a well settled side strengthened by the return this year of Shervin Adeli and Rhys Williams, both previous championship winners with the club. And with the Tigers’ goals shared around seven different players so far, they have plenty of options when needed.
It has been a tough introduction to this league for St George City FA, their only victory coming against winless Canterbury Bankstown. They have of course, played one less game than most, with their rescheduled game against Central Coast Mariners taking place this Wednesday. It will be two tough games in four days for St George City FA, with none harder than the trip to North Turramurra.
Canterbury Bankstown v Central Coast Mariners Academy Saturday 6 April 7pm, The Crest Athletic Centre
A crazy 5-5 draw against Mounties on the opening day of the season put the Berries in the headlines but sadly, four losses since sees them bottom of the table and already onto their second coach. But as Branko Culina has shown on numerous occasions, not least at Canterbury last year, he will be certain of being able to drag the Berries back up the ladder, with the faithful hoping that it starts this Saturday against the Central Coast Mariners. Since that flurry in that opening round, the goals seem to have dried up, but if they can reproduce that opening performance, anything is possible.
The Mariners will back up after their visit to Valentine Park on Wednesday, for which a positive result would see the Central Coast side move into the top half of the table. They will not want to get ahead of themselves though as a bruised Berries side will be needing to gain some points of their own if they are not to lose touch with those clubs above. There are not likely to be too many goals in this one, the Mariners’ tight defence being somewhat matched by a less than fruitful attack.
North Shore Mariners v St George Sunday 7 April 4pm, Northbridge Oval
Our last game of the weekend sees last year’s Champions face off against North Shore Mariners. It hasn’t been a kind start for the Saints who have picked up just one win from their first five games, four of which were at home. Eight goals against in their past two games has been a surprise, for a side which has generally looked very solid at the back, and after a strong first half against Mounties last weekend, including a hat-trick inside twenty minutes by Hussein Akil, it looked likely they would take the points. But after what could only be termed a second half collapse, the Saints conceded four without reply. A repeat performance like the first half, rather than the second, will go some way to getting St George back on track.
North Shore Mariners are riding high in third spot on the ladder, as they look to emulate their top three position from last season. Now in their fourth season at this level, North Shore seemed to have settled into this league after a bumpy start in their first year. Their results have been particularly impressive considering that they played their first four games away and after defeating their fellow Mariners, of the Central Coast persuasion, last Sunday, a quick return to Northbridge Oval will suit.
Honours have been shared between the two sides with a win, draw and loss each over the past three North Shore home fixtures.
Source FNSW website