Round 7 Preview – NPL 2 NSW Men’s

Our Match of the Round focus this week turns to the lower reaches of the league with Macarthur Rams taking on St George, while Sunday’s eye-catcher is leaders Western Sydney Wanderers v bottom placed Canterbury Bankstown.

Macarthur Rams v St George, Saturday 7pm, Lynwood Park

It hasn’t been a good start to the season for either of these two clubs, sitting in 13th and 12th respectively. Just one win each will have set some alarm bells ringing and there will be a sense of urgency at Lynwood Park on Saturday. It is likely that the Rams and Saints will both fancy their chances in claiming a second win, a chance to climb just that little bit further away from the bottom.

Which way it goes is anybody’s guess but rest assured, while it may have no bearing on any early title challenge, there will be plenty of intensity on display all the same.

Bonnyrigg White Eagles v Central Coast Mariners, Saturday 630pm, Bonnyrigg Sports Club

Both of these clubs are coming off good wins last weekend and will be looking to continue their upward trajectory on Saturday. Bonnyrigg inflicted the first defeat on Spirit while the Mariners knocked five past the Berries so while it might be 9th v 8th, one suspects both will be higher the top than bottom as the season moves along. Bonnyrigg’s two losses came in their first two games, finding their feet, and while the Mariners’ results have been a little up and down, last week’s hefty win will have done them the world of good.

GHFA Spirit v Blacktown Spartans, Saturday 7pm, Christie Park

Spirit will have been disappointed after handing over the competition lead last weekend, so we can expect a quick response when they welcome Spartans to Christie Park. Three wins and a draw from four games at home has set the template for their fine start and with their next two also at home, Spirit will surely be looking for another six points over the next fortnight. The Spartans’ away record is not so hot this year, just one point from four games, so against a Spirit side who always relish their home turf, this will be a tough one for the visitors.

Hills United v Mounties Wanderers, Saturday 7pm, Lily Homes Stadium

Hills United have continued to impress. While early days, they have shown themselves to be a solid unit and now in their third year back in Mens 2, they have made their best start yet. Having won four of their past five, with some major scalps amongst them, Hills will entertain Mounties with some degree of confidence.

Mounties are coming off a winning double and they still have a game up their sleeve, travelling to Bonnyrigg next midweek. They have a chance to make good inroads if the results go their way, something coach Brian Brown will be keen to see particularly. But against a Hills side who, like Mounties, seem to have no trouble scoring, it will be close though there also could be a few goals in this one.

Rydalmere Lions v Northern Tigers, Saturday 7pm, Valentine Park No 2

After a couple of early wins, Rydalmere have now gone four without success but that isn’t for lack of trying. They made a tough game of it against the youthful Western Sydney Wanderers last Sunday, perhaps only wilting late in the heat against their much younger opponents, and they will be sure to give Northern Tigers a run for their money.

The Tigers have been inconsistent so far, coupling impressive wins with a couple of defeats, keeping one of the league’s major players still thereabouts in fifth. This will be only their second trip on the road this season, their previous journey saw the Tigers coming home empty handed, so they will be wanting a change of fortune this time.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Canterbury Bankstown, Sunday 3pm, Sydney United Sports Centre

The new competition leaders take on bottom placed Canterbury Bankstown and if ever a game seemed a fait accompli, it would be this one. Top of the table with five wins from six, the Wanderers also have the equal best attack and the league’s best defence. On the opposition side of the equation, the Berries are yet to win and with 22 conceded, they have the league’s worst “against” record. Sign enough then, as any football fan would know, that a Canterbury win is entirely possible.

No game is settled before kickoff, and the Wanderers will not want to take this one for granted, but the youthful Western Sydney side, with the dangerous Mohammed Adam up front, and the industrious and creative Fabian Monge in midfield, will take some beating.

North Shore Mariners v St George City FA, Sunday 630pm, Valentine Park No 2

Sunday’s late kickoff has St George City FA travelling across town to Glenwood to meet North Shore Mariners. It has been a good time for City who achieved two excellent results over the past week and they will be hoping to make it a trio of results come Sunday night. They will look once more to Steve Kuzmanovski to lead the way, the striker now with six, a healthy total after just half a dozen rounds.

North Shore will try for a St George double after having beaten the Saints last Sunday. They are in a strong vein of form with four wins from their past five and their only reverse was by the narrowest of margins against Hills in round four. Only the two Wanderers, Western Sydney and Mounties, have scored more goals, so City will do well to keep an eye on Mitchell Smith for one.

Source FNSW website