Wednesday, 2 September 2015

PREVIEW: Zone Football League Semi Final 2nd Leg


Zone Premier League Semi Final 2nd Leg
Newcastle Suns (2nd) v Swansea F.C (3rd)
Kickoff: Saturday 5/9 3:00pm
1st Leg Results: Swansea 0-1 Newcastle Suns

The Newcastle Suns are newcomers to the Zone Premier League in 2015 and are now just one game away from an unexpected Grand Final appearance. Their form over the second half of the season (like Swansea's) has seen them shoot into the top four and after seeing off the Swans away from home last week, the Suns hold a key away goals advantage ahead of Saturday's second leg.

Swansea F.C as a result of last weekend's 1-0 loss have no option but to win in this one. A draw would not be enough however it is only a one-goal deficit and they're definitely still well and truly alive. Although it's tough to beat the Suns on a tricky field at Carrington.

The visitors only need to look back on their trip to Connolly Park earlier this season where they beat the Suns 4-3. Two 1-0 home losses though to the Suns in recent times means that Swansea need arguably their best performance of the season on Saturday. In my opinion, I can't see the Suns letting this away goal lead slip on their home turf.

My Tip: Newcastle Suns 2-1 Swansea F.C
(Suns Progress 3-1 On Aggregate)

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Zone Premier League Semi Final 2nd Leg
Beresfield United (1st) v Cardiff City (4th)
Kickoff: Sunday 6/9 3:00pm
1st Leg Results: Cardiff City 0-0 Beresfield Utd

The slight advantage in this one is with a Cardiff City Tigers side that are hunting their first ZPL Grand Final appearance in five years. After holding the Minor Premiers Beresfield United to a scoreless draw last weekend, suddenly the Tigers have an advantage where one goal at Pasadena will mean the Hawks will need to and so on in that fashion.

Beresfield need to win this game; sure another scoreless draw would force extra time and/or shootouts depending on the rules but the chances of it being tied at 0-0 again are slim. Support for Cardiff will be strong as they're sending a supporters bus up to Pasadena Crescent on Sunday. It's a big day for both clubs.

This same scenario played out in the New-FM Under 17's Semi Final and saw the lower-ranked side take advantage of the away goal rule. The difference was that game was played on neutral turf, this game is not and it's due to that I stick with my original tip to progress in Beresfield.

My Tip: Beresfield Utd 3-1 Cardiff City
(Beresfield Progress 3-1 On Aggregate)

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Zone League One Semi Final 2nd Leg
Cooks Hill United (2nd) v Warners Bay (3rd)
Kickoff: Saturday 5/9 3:00pm
1st Leg Results: Warners Bay 3-1 Cooks Hill

These two sides have created a rivalry over recent years in the Zone Leagues and after the 1st leg last weekend, the tie is firmly in Warners Bay favour. The Panthers are just one game away from a Grand Final appearance. All the pressure here is on the Cookers.

After making five straight ZPL Grand Finals, the Cookers ZL1 side are looking to keep the club's tradition of success in Zone alive and will need to do it the hard way in this re-located game. Props to Cooks Hill for moving this one as I know first-hand how bad the pitch has gotten at the AthField over the course of the year. Adamstown Oval will be a great venue for this match.

I can see Cooks Hill pushing hard in trying to turn this around but my tip for progressing to the Grand Final are the visitors from Warners Bay.

My Tip: Cooks Hill United 2-1 Warners Bay
(Warners Bay Progress 4-3 On Aggregate)

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Zone League One Semi Final 2nd Leg
Morisset United (1st) v Stockton Sharks (4th)
Kickoff: Sunday 6/9 3:00pm
1st Leg Results: Stockton 1-2 Morisset

In their first season in Zone League One, the Stockton Sharks have excelled and reached the Semi Finals. The problem for the boys from Corroba Oval is that they lost the first leg at home and now face an uphill battle against Minor Premiers Morisset United on their home turf.

The Strikers have been the form team all season in ZL1 after being turned down entry to the New-FM 1st Division at the end of last season. They'll be indeed promoted to the Zone Premier League next season and they'll want to leave this division with the title in hand.

I believe Stockton will need at least two goals as I can't see them holding Morisset scoreless at Dora Creek Oval. The Sharks have nothing to lose and will be firing on all cylinders but based on their results I can't see Morisset letting this one slip.

My Tip: Morisset United 3-1 Stockton
(Morisset Progress 5-2 On Aggregate)

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Zone League Two Semi Final 2nd Leg
University F.C (2nd) v Hamilton Olympic (3rd)
Kickoff: Saturday 5/9 3:00pm
1st Leg Results: Hamilton 2-4 University

The University ZL2 boys have one firm foot in the Grand Final after beating Hamilton Olympic 4-2 in last weekend's 1st Leg at Darling Street Oval. Playing on the traditional home ground of their club didn't help the ZL2 Olympic side as they were outdone by the Uni.

Hamilton in my opinion need goals and a few of them as I can't see them holding the Uni scoreless. Interestingly the Grand Final is at Darling Street so the visitors here will no doubt throw everything they've got at the Uni as I feel a lot of them would love to play a home GF next week.

Unfortunately for Olympic I can't see University losing this game, let alone the two-legged Semi Final.

My Tip: University 2-1 Hamilton
(University Progress 6-3 On Aggregate)

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Zone League Two Semi Final 2nd Leg
Raymond Terrace (1st) v Hunter Simba (4th)
Kickoff: Sunday 6/9 3:00pm
1st Leg Results: Hunter Simba 3-5 Raymond Terrace

Hunter Simba started very well against Raymond Terrace last week but were eventually outdone by the ZL1-bound Minor Premiers. Having a home leg first up in the Semi Finals is crucial and conceding five goals is not a good way to build momentum ahead of the second leg.

The Rangers have been the best team in this division all season and are worthy Grand Finalists. Only the best of best games for Simba would see them go through here. It's a tough ask to hold Raymond Terrace to a draw on their home turf (something Simba did!) let alone beat them by more than two goals.

My Tip: Raymond Terrace 3-1 Hunter Simba
(Raymond Terrace Progress 8-4 On Aggregate)

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Zone League Three Semi Final 2nd Leg
Dudley-Redhead (2nd) v New Lambton F.C (3rd)
Kickoff: Saturday 5/9 3:00pm
1st Leg Results: New Lambton 4-0 Dudley-Redhead

There's not much hope here for Dudley in my opinion. You simply don't lose 4-0 in the 1st Leg and come back. It's going to require a monumental comeback of epic proportions for the team in white and black to go through to next weekend's Grand Final.

In saying that, New Lambton cannot afford to think this is over. One goal would be enough for the Eagles to go through and I think they'll get one or two more than that to be honest.

My Tip: Dudley-Redhead 1-3 New Lambton F.C
(New Lambton Progress 7-1 On Aggregate)

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Zone League Three Semi Final 2nd Leg
Wallsend F.C (1st) v RAAF Williamtown (4th)
Kickoff: Sunday 6/9 3:00pm
1st Leg Results: RAAF 1-3 Wallsend

These two sides had combined for a bucketload of goals in their two meetings during the regular season but last weekend saw a much more common scoreline of Wallsend 3-1 RAAF. The Red Devils are on track for a Grand Final appearance and only have to look at their New-FM side for inspiration for that.

The RAAF will need a big turn-around from last weekend but considering they've lost three straight games to Wallsend this season I have severe doubts about them turning it around. Wallsend for my money.

My Tip: Wallsend F.C 4-2 RAAF Williamtown
(Wallsend Progress 7-3 On Aggregate)

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