Wednesday, 24 February 2016

PREVIEW: FFA Cup NNSW Qualifiers Round 2


Macquarie Field hosts three quality games on Saturday and is definitely the pick of the venues. Newysports will however have coverage from Lisle Carr Oval and then Magic Park later in the afternoon. The first game at Macquarie Field sees Zone League One newcomers Raymond Terrace against New-FM side West Wallsend.

Let's not going to go into the finer details of last week's matches but West Wallsend were incredibly lucky not to be eliminated at the hands of Zone League One Stockton. They came from behind multiple times and finished the game 6-6 at the very last second before winning a topsy-turvy penalty shootout.

Myself, along with many other people strongly believe that if Westy produce the same effort against Raymond Terrace they will see the end of their cup run. The Rangers cannot be underestimated and overcame Westlakes Wildcats at the same venue last weekend.

The Terrace are a proud club and together these clubs will bring quiet a following to Macquarie Field. On form, tipping Raymond Terrace seems the right thing to do but if West Wallsend can play to their strengths, there's no reason why they can't progress. It'll be a test though.

My Prediction: Raymond Terrace 1-3 West Wallsend

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This is arguably the match-up of the weekend as Beresfield United take on Kahibah FC. Both teams impressed in their Round 1 fixtures, although Beresfield took the foot off the pedal after 45 minutes against Toronto-Awaba last Sunday. The Hawks were very lucky to escape with a heart-stopping shootout win.

Kahibah FC did it a lot easier; overcoming the Newcastle Suns without ever really reaching top gear. They face an incredibly tough test in Beresfield on Sunday and it could very well spell the end of the cup dream for the Green and Blacks.

Beresfield are a serious team and, on their day, they can hang with New-FM clubs. Kahibah though, if they turn up, should just be too good for the Zone Premier League champions. It's sure to be one to watch and a penalty shootout wouldn't be the biggest surprise in the world. Kahibah to win though.

My Prediction: Beresfield United 1-4 Kahibah FC

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There are three stand-out matches this weekend; the Beresfield v Kahibah fixture, Wallsend v Charlestown and this; the Lake Macquarie derby between Lake Macquarie City and Valentine FC. Two rivals who are now separated after Valentine snatched the top spot in New-FM and therefore NPL promotion with a 4-0 win on their last visit to Macquarie Field...a real smash and grab effort.

This time Lakes will come prepared. They remember that 4-0 loss; they remember the 8-3 loss in the FFA Cup to the same opposition last season. The Roosters cruised past Cardiff City last weekend and although the test is much greater this time round, they'll like their chances of another home win.

Valentine have been arguably the form NPL team during pre-season. They've beaten Maitland, Lambton and Adamstown in the space of a few weeks and in my mind, they should be good enough to beat a Lakes side that isn't known for it's strong defending. The Roosters conceded a lot of goals last year and whilst they've got Sam Walker up the other end to bag a bucketload of goals, they'll need their very best effort to overcome Valentine.

My Prediction: Lake Macquarie City 1-2 Valentine FC

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Newysports will have coverage from this game; after failing to get any photos at all of the New Lambton game last weekend. Thornton come into this game with some decent form after being reasonably untested in a comfortable 5-0 win over Edgeworth Juniors last week. It could and probably should have been more if the Redbacks could have found the target a bit more.

New Lambton got the job done against the University but now face the tougher test of New-FM opposition. I say it every week though, New Lambton are a serious ZPL side and they could very well push Thornton to the limit here. There's no reason they can't get a win.

It's not an easy tip to just say Thornton will win. Thornton should win but they have to show up. A certain New-FM club underestimated ZPL opposition last week and were rightly sent packing. New Lambton Eagles aren't easybeats and this one will be one to watch at Lisle Carr Oval. Thornton by two.

My Prediction: Thornton 2-0 New Lambton

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It was a year ago that Muswellbrook Eagles got smashed 12-0 by rivals Singleton in the FFA Cup. They were just not up to their higher-grade opposition. Last week they were given a ZL3 team in Dudley and got past them 2-1. It wasn't convincing though by any means and this week, they face certain elimination.

On the opposing side this week for Muswellbrook is the reigning Northern NSW NPL Champions Edgeworth Eagles FC. The same Edgeworth Eagles that made the Round of 32 last year and pushed A-League side Melbourne City to the absolute limit. It's an easy pick in this one; with all due respect to Mussy.

Edgeworth shouldn't have any trouble at all and if they field a full-strength squad, this could get quiet ugly. It's the experience that counts for Muswellbrook but I'm joining a few others I've seen in tipping double-digits.

My Prediction: Muswellbrook 0-14 Edgeworth FC

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This is the game I want to see the most out of the four that I'm attending. I believe Wallsend can beat Charlestown City. The Red Devils overcame Maryland-Fletcher 6-0 last week and weren't even at their best. They drew 0-0 with NPL side Maitland FC the week before in a trial match.

Charlestown City have had a decent pre-season but this is their toughest test of the year so far. They're technically the away time but it's home turf and the crowd will be behind them. They aren't the strongest NPL side but they'll surely be aiming to beat the New-FM champions.

I wouldn't be surprised by either team winning; nor would I be surprised to see penalties required. I'm going to go with my original thought and tip the upset. Wallsend to progress on penalties.

My Prediction: Wallsend FC* 2-2 Charlestown City

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Merewether Advance are a hard club to predict. Pre-season form is a mystery and they progressed through Round 1 via a forfeit by Kurri Kurri. They face a tough first assignment in the form on New-FM side Singleton Strikers. I like the venue choice here at Maitland as the sides sort of meet each other half-way.

I caught the first hour of Singleton's 3-0 win over Charlestown Juniors last week and they weren't really looking too impressive. Temperature may have played a part but it's obvious that the Strikers can go to another level and if they do that on Saturday, they should be too classy for the Zone League Two side.

My Prediction: Merewether Adv. 0-4 Singleton

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Beresfield FC got the job done in decent fashion against fellow Zone League One side Nelson Bay last weekend; a 3-0 win guiding them to the second round of the Northern NSW FFA Cup Qualifiers. Now they face one of the toughest tests in all of Northern NSW Football; a match against the Weston Workers Bears.

Last year Weston faced ZPL side University in Round 2 and survived a massive scare to progress on penalties. They'll be aiming to avoid the proverbial banana-peel in this game against Beresfield. The Bears on paper look a much stronger side and should be the winners here by a decent margin.

Cup football is hard to predict for the majority of times...although now is not one of those times. Weston to overcome the ZL1 outfit here.

My Prediction: Beresfield FC 0-7 Weston Workers

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The entertainers of Round 1 face a tough assignment in Round 2; a trip to Cooks Square Park to face Maitland FC. There's a big difference between playing a depleted RAAF Williamtown squad and playing a Maitland side that could feature former A-League stars Matt Thompson and Dean Heffernan.

Whilst the result looks fairly set in stone, you can be assured that the Simba boys will turn up to play some entertaining football and they're one of those sides that even if they're down 6-0 in the 89th minute, their passionate followers would go crazy if they bagged a late consolation. I believe that's all it'll be here.

My Prediction: Hunter Simba 1-8 Maitland FC

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I'm not quiet sure on their entire history, but surely this is one of Kotara South's biggest ever games and perhaps even their biggest ever in some people's eyes. They overcame arch rivals Garden Suburb in a thrilling Round 1 opener last week and now face the Lambton Jaffas in Round 2.

The Tigers never threw the towel in; despite being down 2-0 in the first half against the 'Burb. They'll need that fighting spirit if they are any chance of even getting close to the Jaffas. Let's be honest; you're probably not going to see any Zone League teams knock off an NPL club; it's just the way the cookie crumbles.

Kotara South will give their best effort but even that won't be enough to match it with the star-studded Jaffas.

My Prediction: Kotara South 1-6 Lambton Jaffas

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Jesmond FC were one of the fairytale stories in last year's FFA Cup Qualifers; going all the way to the final weekend and taking New-FM side West Wallsend all the way in what was in my eyes one of the most entertaining back and forth games of football all year.

The Rams face a tough test in the Morisset Strikers. Morisset looked slick in their 4-2 victory over Warners Bay in their Round 1 clash and will be aiming to do the job against Jesmond and set-up a potential clash with a big club in Round 3. It's definitely not going to be a walkover though.

Jesmond will need to play to their best if they want to beat the ZPL newcomers. Morisset I feel will be a bit too good though.

My Prediction: Morisset United 3-1 Jesmond FC

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Mayfield United never really got into top gear in their 4-1 win over Zone League newcomers Bolwarra-Lorn last week and if they play in a similar style this time round, they will find themselves on the back end of a hiding. I feel like if Mayfield even stand a chance, they need absolutely everything to go their way.

Hamilton Olympic were knocked out by eventual FFA Cup Round of 32 side Edgeworth FC last season and will be looking to ease their way into Round 3 with a win here. Olympic should be too strong, too classy and too good for the visiting Tigers.

My Prediction: Mayfield United 1-6 Hamilton Olympic

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Medowie FC find themselves in Round 2 after a thrilling penalty shootout win over Mayfield United Juniors in Round 1. They'll need a much more improved effort in they want to progress to Round 3 though. Dudley-Redhead were also penalty shootout winners (against New-FM side Cooks Hill United) and looked very, very good in the process.

On paper a ZPL side should be able to beat a ZL2 side and even on form, I consider Dudley-Redhead the heavy favourites. If they produce an effort similar to the one they gave against Cooks Hill, they could very well put a few past their opponents on Saturday.

My Prediction: Medowie FC 1-4 Dudley-Redhead

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Hamilton Azzurri made their FFA Cup debut last week and were victors over Barnsley FC. This week they face the toughest test they could ask for, a derby against NPL powerhouse Broadmeadow Magic. If anything, the Magic side look better on paper this year than last. Thier midfield options are just unreal compared to some of the other NPL sides.

Azzurri will need divine intervention if they're to progress from this. With no disrespect to them, it's more guessing how many Magic will win by rather than if they will win. The NPL side should be just too good for their ZL3 opposition. There's a five division difference between these sides and it'll most likely show at Magic Park on Saturday. Azzurri though will bring their vocal followers and try and make a day out of it. I can't see them getting anywhere near Magic though.

My Prediction: Hamilton Azzurri 0-15 Broadmeadow Magic

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South Cardiff will go into this game as the outsiders now that they're a New-FM club but it's definitely a game to watch in my opinion. Adamstown haven't been incredibly impressive during pre-season and this is their first competitive hit-out of 2016. South Cardiff are coming off a nervy penalty shootout win over Cessnock City and will be primed if this game ends with spot kicks. They have a history of shootouts, both good and bad.

Neither side can afford to not give 100%. This is a tough game for both and although I believe Adamstown will go away with the win, it's definitely one to watch at Magic Park.

My Prediction: South Cardiff 1-3 Adamstown

2 comments:

  1. Magic is the main game at 7pm at Magic Park, typo on NNSWF part. South Cardiff Adamstown at 5pm

    ReplyDelete