Wednesday, 17 June 2015

PREVIEW: FFA Cup Qualifiers (NNSW Quarter Finals)

NNSW FFA Cup Qualifiers-Quarter Final
Jesmond F.C (Zone League 1) v West Wallsend (New-FM)
Kickoff: Saturday 20th June-10am

Fast approaching their 90th year in operation, the Jesmond Rams are about to take the field in what is one of the biggest games in the club's long history. Make no doubt about it, a fairytale story could come to life if the Zone League One side somehow make it through this weekend. Think of South Springvale's FFA Cup run last year.

The Rams have only played two FFA Cup fixtures this season but neither of them was exactly easy by any means. A heroic upset of Toronto-Awaba in Round 2 was one of the biggest wins in the recent history of Jesmond FC and they backed that up by getting past ZPL side Mayfield United on penalties in Round 3. League form isn't impressive for the Rams and not really impressive for West Wallsend either but this is a much different proposition than a league match.

West Wallsend have had to get past two New-FM sides on the way to the Quarter Final and ZL1 side Beresfield FC in the first round. The Bluebells are one of the oldest teams in the area and qualifying for the FFA Cup would be a massive achievement for this historic club.

The Bluebells have had a storied history and won countless premierships in their time. After a mass exodus before the beginning of last season, the proud West Wallsend club came very close to folding. A vocal plea for help was met and the Bluebells carried on in the New-FM 1st Division, although the results last year reflected the lack of depth the club had.

This season has been a turn-around for the boys from West Wallsend and although their recent form isn't impressive, they'll be happy to put all that aside and focus on winning this game. I'm going to be honest here and say that West Wallsend should win this but you just never know do you.

I don't like either sides chances of beating Broadmeadow, Edgeworth or Adamstown but I believe West Wallsend can beat the two team from up north based on what I've seen from them this year. Anyway that's not until Sunday but I just mentioned it to really illustrate how close these sides are to potentially playing on national television. Nothing to lose for either side and everything to gain. West Wallsend's my pick here. 

My Tip: Jesmond FC 1-3 West Wallsend


NNSW FFA Cup Qualifiers-Quarter Final
Valentine F.C (New-FM) v Adamstown Rosebud (NPL)
Kickoff: Saturday 20th June-12pm

Valentine's history isn't as storied as some of the other teams remaining in the competition but make no doubt about it, this is a game the Phoenix will be aiming to win. They put recent poor form behind them with a league win over Singleton last weekend and come into this one knowing that this could well be a preview of next season if they can make promotion happen.

Valentine's opposition though is one of the most storied clubs in Northern NSW. Adamstown Rosebud. The Buds have done it all, premierships, championships, they even had a short stint in the National Soccer League back in the day. Over 120 years of history for one of the proudest clubs in the region.

I've seen both these teams play this year and let me tell you right now, I wouldn't be surprised if this one turns out to be the match of the day on Saturday. Not much splits these two sides (apart from the obvious drop from NPL to New-FM) and I think it'll be a tight contest.

Valentine's road to the Quarter Finals has been the most impressive of any of the eight teams. An 8-3 victory over Macquarie rivals and fellow New-FM side Lake Macquarie City was followed by a dominating 10-1 victory over Zone Premier League side Dudley-Redhead. Last but not least was a 7-0 win over ZL2 side Hunter Simba.

Adamstown on the other hand defeated Zone League One side Kotara South in their first FFA Cup appearance of the season and this was followed by a thoroughly impressive 6-0 victory over fellow NPL side Weston Workers. Their last game was a stunning nine goal thriller where they scored late on to win 5-4 against NPL side Charlestown City.

As mentioned I think this will be a close one but at the end of the day, an NPL side should beat a New-FM side. Adamstown's history is storied and the Buds will no doubt want to add to that on the weekend. Imagine Adamstown v South Melbourne in the Round of 32. Awesome! Good luck to both sides. 


NNSW FFA Cup Qualifiers-Quarter Final
Coffs City United (North Coast Premier League) v Edgeworth F.C (NPL)
Kickoff: Saturday 20th June-2pm

I can't find anything on the history of Coffs City United Football Club but let me tell you, if there's a team to beat from the North Coast, it's these guys. They've won nine and drawn one so far this season and have proven that they are prepared to win the hard way; three of their four FFA Cup qualifiers have gone the distance and been taken to penalties.

Edgeworth Eagles need no introduction, they're one of the best NPL sides going and are on track for finals football again this season. An 11-0 win over ZPL side New Lambton was followed with what I think was one of Edgeworth's best wins in any competition this season, a 2-1 comeback at Darling St against Hamilton Olympic. Last but not least, the Eagles sent 2014 FFA Cup qualifiers South Cardiff packing with a 5-0 win.

The two sides from up north are hard to get a read on as I have absolutely no idea of the quality they possess. Still, if previous season's are anything to go by, Edgeworth will be winning the one. I think Jack McLaughlan Oval is well equip to host a live Fox Sports game, I mean if it can host NPL Grand Finals than why not. Edgeworth by a few.

My Tip: Coffs City United 0-3 Edgeworth F.C


NNSW FFA Cup Qualifiers-Quarter Final
South Armidale United (Mcdonald's NIPL) v Broadmeadow (NPL)
Kickoff: Saturday 20th June-4pm

If there's a team that know how much this competition means it's Broadmeadow Magic. After qualifying last season I'm not sure any of the people at Magic expected to not only play the first FFA Cup Round of 32 match but to play it live on Fox Sports and in front of 1,500 at Magic Park. I was there and it was an amazing night, albeit one that ended badly for the Magicians.

South Armidale have been tagged as the penalty shootout specialists and they may very well need that on Saturday. The Scorpions are not having the best season in the Northern Inland Premier League but this isn't a league match, it's a four hour trip south to take on one of the biggest teams in Northern NSW.

As their new media man I've spoken to a couple of the players at Magic about this one and there's a sense of the unknown in the air. None of the players know anything about South Armidale or what they bring to the table. The Magicians have had the easiest draw of any final eight side, beating ZPL side Swansea 6-0 in Round 2 and picking up an impressive 2-0 win over fellow NPL side Lambton in Round 3. Either side of that were two draws.

I think this weekend comes at a good time for Broadmeadow. Their league form has gone flying out the window and a chance to put that aside and focus on the FFA Cup will no doubt be surely welcomed. I'm going to be frank and honest about my prediction here, Magic should win. 

The NPL is Northern NSW's premier competition and whilst an argument could be made to allow the teams from up north into it, I just cannot see South Armidale matching it with Broadmeadow. That's if Broadmeadow play to their potential. They can't afford to underestimate the Scorpions but at the end of the day I think Magic will be too strong here.

My Tip: South Armidale 1-5 Broadmeadow


Road To The Quarter Finals:

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