We look ahead to another big weekend of action in round 4 of Capital Football's NPL.
Saturday 3rd May
Tuggeranong United v Canberra Olympic (Kambah 2-1, 3pm)
Two teams who suffered contrasting fortunes in the last Round will kick off Round 5 of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football competition when Tuggeranong United goes head-to-head with Canberra Olympic at Kambah 2 on Saturday afternoon. Whilst Olympic was busy putting six past Monaro Panthers to claim a second win of the season, United was on the wrong end of a 7-0 hammering from Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium. Tuggeranong was found wanting in terms of pace by FC who proved way too quick on the counter, showing a ruthless streak in front of goal in a second half that yielded six goals. Overrun in the centre of the park Tuggeranong was unable to compete where it mattered and will need to refocus their game ahead of this clash with Olympic in red hot form. Robbie Deeley has returned from injury in typically belligerent form, feisty in the tackle, creative on the ball and finding the net three times in the win over the Panthers. With Mark Shields also amongst the goals, three this term in two games, United-s defence will need to be on its toes. Muad Zwed stood out for Tuggeranong in the loss to Canberra FC and his twinkle-toed skills could have a large impact on the destination of the points.
Sunday 4th May
FFA COE v Canberra City (AIS Grass Fields, 3pm)
As far as debuts in the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football go the FFA Centre of Excellence couldn-t have asked for a much harder baptism than a visit to McKellar Park to tackle a high-flying Belconnen United. That they emerged from the fixture with a narrow 2-3 loss and disappointed not to have taken a point from the clash speaks volumes for the amount of work that Head Coach Tony Vidmar has done with a whole new batch of recruits to the former AIS program. Their pre-season trip to Italy certainly seems to have enabled their youngsters to bond into a cohesive unit already and they will approach the visit of Canberra City to the AIS Playing Fields on Sunday afternoon in a positive frame of mind. City themselves should be feeling somewhat chipper ahead of the match having stolen a point from under the noses of Woden Valley in Round 3 thanks to a stoppage time equaliser from substitute Gimale Essacu. Essacu seems to have taken the step up to NPL first grade into his stride and could provide a decent source of goals for the club. Nick Palagyi is well versed in tactical systems and his deployment of his teams is usually done with the opposition in mind. Expect City therefore to try and keep the game compact and limit the effectiveness of the FFA COE wide players.
Canberra FC v Woden Valley (Deakin Stadium, 2pm)
Canberra FC appears in ominous form. Two games into the 2014 National Premier Leagues: Capital Football season and they have fourteen goals under their belts and a maximum six points from their opening two matches. Woden Valley are next to try and derail the red machine as they visit Deakin Stadium on Sunday afternoon for a Round 5 fixture. FC was irresistible in the second half against Tuggeranong last weekend, sweeping aside a belligerent United with a combination of pace, power and precision passing that was simply superb. And with a squad that can afford to have the luxury of leaving strikers Philippe Bernabo-Madrid and Alex Oloriegbe on the bench there are plenty of warning signs for Woden ahead of this clash. Whilst Canberra FC was racking up the goals Woden was seconds away from recording their first win of the season away to Canberra City. A Regan Walsh goal appeared to have given Mitch Stevens- his first win as a Head Coach at this level only for a late City equaliser to scupper their ambitions. Stevens- has a youthful looking outfit that have given Canberra FC lots to think about in recent years. Whether they can do so again in this contest will depend on how they start. An early FC goal could see them in the groove once more.
Monaro Panthers v Cooma Tigers (Riverside Stadium, 2pm)
It-s been a tough opening to the season for Monaro Panthers and it doesn-t get any easier for Njegosh Popovich and his team as they welcome Cooma Tigers to the Riverside Stadium for Round 4 of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football. After coming up against Canberra FC and Canberra Olympic in successive matches to open their campaign, the visit of the Tigers is shaping up to be another stern test for the young band from Monaro. Interestingly, in both matches against last year-s Grand Finalists the Panthers led and were in the contest until the last twenty minutes when a combination of lack of concentration and inexperience conspired to see them end up on the wrong side of a heavy score-line. If they can keep their focus it-s evident that the Panthers have the personnel to trouble most opposition and in Thomas James have a genuine match winner up front. The Tigers only outing to date saw them scuppered 3-2 at the hands of Canberra Olympic but they showed in that match that they too have a front-line that can threaten. In Robbie Cattanach, Stephen Domenici and Julian Borgna there is talent to spare. Tigers will be the favourites but if Monaro can get in front they are more than a chance to cause an upset.