Canberra FC and Belconnen United clash in a matchup that is pivotal for both sides, while Tigers get the chance to dive back into the top four.
Monaro Panthers v FFA Centre of Excellence – Duncan Fields – Saturday 3pm
Monaro continue the search for their first win of the season on Saturday as they face the FFA Centre of Excellence in Googong. A loss to Tigers last weekend continued the season of misery, with the bottom-placed side still searching for a single point. This matchup in Round three was a 5-0 win for the Centre of Excellence and with Panthers still struggling to find a semblance of form, that could be on the cards once more.
For the Centre of Excellence, they sit equal top on points with Canberra Olympic and will look to build on last weekend’s convincing win over Tuggeranong. The young side has improved continually this season and now possess a number of goal threats up front, with the likes of Jacob Italiano and Mirza Muratovic primed to run at the worst defence in the league. Possessing the third-strongest attack themselves and the league’s second best backline, it is hard to see the visitors dropping this match.
Riverina Rhinos v Woden-Weston FC – Yellow Tail Park – Saturday 3pm
Having won three of their last four league matches, Woden-Weston will travel to Griffith in pursuit of another three points. The Wanderers picked up an upset 3-0 win over Gungahlin United last week, thanks in large part to Tony Olivera having a mostly fit squad to work with. Olaide Yinka-Kehinde scored on his return to the squad while Daniel Crkovski continued his recent streak of scoring. Woden-Weston sit four points ahead of their opponents this weekend but a win would put a nice cushion between themselves and the Rhinos, and right up in the mix with Tuggeranong in seventh.
The Rhinos were touched up to the tune of six goals by a rampant Belconnen United last weekend and will look to rebound at home this weekend. Their home performances have improved as the season has gone on, with a 1-1 draw with Canberra FC a couple of weeks ago a good example of their strength at home. However, they have scored only nine goals this season, while conceding the second most in the league, but will have a chance to improve that against a side who have also struggled at the back. The last match between these two finished 2-2 after a fine comeback from Woden-Weston and this should be another entertaining affair.
Canberra FC v Belconnen United - Deakin Stadium – Sunday 3pm
Canberra FC will host Belconnen United at Deakin on Sunday in a matchup that has big ramifications for both sides. The hosts must win to keep touch with Canberra Olympic, who have a game in hand on them, and avoid the possibility of falling 10 points behind. With Thomas James moved on Marko Vrkic’s side are now looking for different routes up front, and Kofi Danning will provide a strong threat to the Belconnen defence. Danning was dangerous in the goalless draw with Olympic last weekend but too often strayed offside, however with the ball at his feet will cause trouble. The addition of Niko Kafas from Tuggeranong United will surely provide a boost too.
For United, they are locked in a battle with Gungahlin United for the fourth spot on the ladder. Level on points but with a superior goal difference, a win for Belconnen here could be vital, particularly with Gungahlin facing a weakened Tuggeranong side. The 6-0 showing against Riverina last weekend was a sign that they are back to their goalscoring best, but need to display that sort of form against the competition’s best defence. The last time these sides met was a 4-2 win for Canberra FC at McKellar despite been a man down, and United will need to avoid breaking down at the back like they did that time.
Tuggeranong United v Gungahlin United – Kambah – Sunday 3pm
Both Tuggeranong United & Gungahlin United will aim to rebound from 3-0 losses when they face each other at Kambah this Sunday. Tuggeranong’s loss to the Centre of Excellence severely dented their top four chase at this stage of the season and with the side struggling for numbers Sean Murphy will likely have a very young side coming out for this clash. Tuggeranong have the advantage here though in that they are more used to what can be an interesting pitch at Kambah, and will be hoping that home-ground advantage really bares its teeth. A win for Tuggeranong here could be a huge result, pulling them close to the sides immediately above them while still having a game in hand.
Gungahlin’s loss to Woden-Weston last weekend cut their chance to jump clear into the top for, and their negative goal difference has them now in fifth spot. A win here against an understrength Tuggeranong would be a big boost while Belconnen tackle a big task at Deakin, but Gungahlin cannot afford to take this matchup lightly. Dropping points again to a team below them on the table could prove to be a big blow with matches against Tigers, the Centre of Excellence and Canberra Olympic all on the way.
Canberra Olympic v Tigers FC – O’Connor – Sunday 3pm
Tigers FC & Canberra Olympic will both look to continue strong runs of recent form when they clash at O’Connor enclosed on Saturday. Tigers closed to within one point of the top four with their win over Monaro last weekend and could make a big statement here with a result against Olympic. While losses to the Centre of Excellence and Tuggeranong stymied some of their recent progress, Tigers do look poised to make this more of a match than the 7-1 demolition they suffered at the hands of Olympic in Round three. With the potential for some new faces to be seen this weekend, including Thomas James formerly of Canberra FC, Tigers are looking strong heading into the business end of the season.
For Olympic, they will just aim to keep things rolling, following a goalless draw with Canberra FC last week and the FFA Cup draw held on Thursday. Still undefeated since Round two of the league, Frank Cachia’s side sit level on points with the FFA Centre of Excellence up the top, and can maintain the four-point advantage over the chasing pack with a win this weekend. With the FFA Cup National Round beginning in late July, it is imperative that Olympic do not drop points before fixture congestion becomes an issue and they make the trip to Perth. Having taken care of Tigers convincingly earlier this season, the home side will be confident of completing the double over their opponents this weekend.