Round 14 kicks off the back half of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Mens and it’s set to be one hell of a ride.
Teams will have analysed their first round of performances and pinpointed where to attack their opponents in the follow up fixtures.
The anticipation is building as we take the next step toward the season’s crescendo.
Match of the Round: Rydalmere Lions FC vs. Hills United FC – 7pm Saturday 1st June, Valentines Sports Park
Rydalmere found themselves in shock after conceding defeat to Canterbury last week and the result cements them in place. Having met the midpoint and turned a corner, the Lions are sure to be a side ready to pounce.
Hills recovered from an early goal to find their feet and took a typically measured approach to pick apart the Rams and claim victory. They have risen all the way to second on the ladder and are one good result from hitting double digits in the ‘W’ column.
It seems to be a match to favour Hills, yet it is now the task of backing up their first half run and striding home. Rydalmere however will be laying in wait to strike at any misplaced step and are capable of inflicting a deep wound.
Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC vs. Blacktown Spartans FC vs. – 6.30pm Saturday 1st June, Bonnyrigg Sports Club
This fixture was full of anticipation last round as all were eager to see how Bonnyrigg would cope with life in league. On that occasion the Spartans sprung to life early to surprise the White Eagles and then united with ten men to pick up a hard fought win.
Having come a little further down the road it has been a relative constant for both sides, patchy form and at times unable to make opponents pay for their moments of dominance in matches.
Spartans ended the first half of the season stuck in a rut, and they now have three defeats in a row. The visitors will be very eager to begin the second half of the season as they started, yet signs point to Bonnyrigg in this one.
Macarthur Rams FC vs. Northern Tigers FC – 7pm Saturday 1st June, Lynwood Park
Tigers victory over the Rams in Round 1 was overturned and the points given to Macarthur, a sour note in the otherwise good season for the North Shore outfit.
They have not let that distract them and have gone about putting in hard work week after week and are now unbeaten in their last six. A few injuries inflicted a shot to their squad, but they seem to have recovered, one such example is the addition of Jamie Lobb who was impressive in his first hit out last week.
The hosts, Macarthur have had an interesting run of late, a couple of wins and a couple of losses. In all their recent games there has been more than enough chances for them to take advantage.
It’s pretty clear they are still in desperate need of goalscoring. They have personnel capable of banging in the goals so maybe it’s a change in game plan needed. Regardless, if they do not find some solution they will have difficulties in this game and beyond.
St George City FA vs. GHFA Spirit FC – 7pm Saturday 1st June, Seymour Shaw
City begin the second half of the season on the back of two consecutive wins, their first mini run of the season. It’s been a slog already and the side will be full of confidence as they return home to host Spirit. Having suffered a couple of bumps and bruises thus far, the window has given them the chance to solidify their side and aim at cementing their place in the league.
Two defeats on the trot has stumped Spirit yet they remain in the top four. Their form in the first rounds got them off to a flier yet teams began to nullify their free flowing ambitions.
Recent history will tell you Spirit have typically have pulled in good performances in the back half of the year and the aim will be to repeat said feats. Succeed in that regard and they will be sitting pretty come season close.
Mounties Wanderers FC vs. Canterbury Bankstown FC – 7pm Saturday 1st June, Sydney United Sports Centre
The first instalment of this fixture produced one of the moments of the season all the way back in Round 1!
A repeat of the crazy 5-5 draw seems unlikely as Mounties have steadily found rhythm to their potent attacking force. We are still awaiting the debut of a certain “king” and it could be an opportune time to unleash upon the league’s worst defence.
Round 13 proved the turning point for Canterbury and they picked up their first win of the season. Still, they are in all sorts of bother and they will need a whole lot more of last week’s efforts if they are to steer away from the spoon and worse.
Central Coast Mariners FC vs. St George FC – 3pm Sunday 2nd June, Pluim Park
The Saints make the long haul up the coast this week and will take solace in finding some flow in their attacking ranks last weekend.
Having picked up some familiar faces and knowledge that the Mariners have not fortified their typical fortress, they will be eager to produce and smash and grab and jump above City.
The Mariners efforts at home last week were a little erratic at times and the side was unable to convert chances that could have steered them to victory.
Up against the often poor-performing Saints, the young men in Yellow and Navy have a chance to get their home form up and running and get back to basics.
North Shore Mariners FC vs. Western Sydney Wanderers FC – 4pm Sunday 2nd June, Northbridge Oval
This match-up pits two of the hot running sides in the league and is set to be a cracker to end the round.
Each side has been effective and highly efficient on the offensive end, boasting one each of the favourites to pick up the golden boot in Mitchell Smith and Mohamed Adam.
Whilst the lads up front keeping banging in the goals, it’s the hard working defensive and midfield units that have ensured that both teams deflect any opposition’s advances.
The top two defensive records are set to be put to the test this weekend and is going to be a true test of credentials.
NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann
Twitter – @MarcusFlottmann
Source Football NSW website