Canberra FC will look to continue their perfect start to the season in this weekend's Match of the Round, taking on Woden-Weston FC at Deakin Stadium amongst a host of tantalising fixtures.
Tuggeranong United v Riverina Rhinos – AIS Grass Fields – 3pm Saturday
The Riverina Rhinos will travel to Canberra once more this week as they continue chasing their first PS4 NPL win. The Rhinos came close last week but were pegged back at the last by a dertermined Woden-Weston side. The Rhinos appear to be on the improve after a tough opening few weeks and will here face a Tuggeranong side in much the same position as them.
Tuggies fought long and hard against Gungahlin United last weekend, only to be undone towards the end of the first-half by a solitary own goal. Chance creation was not their weakness, with Jason Denham saving from them a number of times in goals, but rather finishing will need to be their strong point this time out. Tuggies are yet to score this season, an alarming stat that needs to change sooner rather than later. With Riverina having let 14 goals in so far, it appears Tuggeranong will hardly have a better chance.
Monaro Panthers v Gungahlin United – Duncan Sporting Fields – Saturday 3pm
Monaro Panthers continue to search for their first Playstation 4 National Premier Leagues points of the season, and will take on a surging Gungahlin United in doing so. The Panthers have struggled so far in front of goal, netting only once back in Round One, but their defensive woes extend far further. A tightening up at the back is in order after shipping five first-half goals to the Centre of Excellence last weekend, but the Panthers did show improvement in a goalless second half.
Gungahlin snuck past Tuggeranong last weekend thanks to a first-half own goal, but will want to be a touch more clinical this weekend off their own boot. While the Gunners have not conceded in their past two matches, which were also wins, they currently average scoring only a single goal a game. Against a Panthers side who have conceded 13 goals in those three matches, Gungahlin may look to take the initiative in this match and turn the screws on the Monaro defence in the search of goals.
Canberra FC v Woden-Weston FC – Match of the Round – Deakin Stadium – 3pm Sunday
Canberra FC continued their winning ways last weekend with a calm 4-2 win over Belconnen despite been reduced to 10-men early, and welcome Woden-Weston to Deakin Stadium this weekend. Thomas James continued his sensational form in that win with his sixth and seventh goals this season and he will be a tough challenge for the visiting defence. The home side will be without Ian Graham after his dismissal in the win over Belconnen but have the depth to carry on this week.
Woden-Weston pulled back two late goals last weekend to snatch a point from the Riverina Rhinos after having a man sent off in the second-half, but it was the introduction of Olaide Yinka-Kehinde that sparked the side into action. The forward netted in the 70th minute before equalising deep in stoppage time, and one must wonder whether he will be given a starting role this weekend. Their opponent this weekend has been resolute and disciplined in defence but an injection of trickery and pace may be the changeup needed against them.
Tigers FC v FFA Centre of Excellence – Nijong Oval – Sunday 3pm
Tigers FC will be looking to bounce back this week after a heavy 7-1 defeat at the hands of Canberra Olympic last weekend. The home side will need to stamp their authority on the match from the get-go after Olympic were allowed to run over the top of them early in Cooma last Sunday. Mark Shields will return from suspension this week to add some more supporting firepower up front which will be useful against the youthful Centre of Excellence backline.
The Centre of Excellence have had a tumultuous week but will put it behind them when they travel to Cooma. A five-goal first half blitz last week set them up for a win against Monaro put the youngsters took their foot off the pedal in the second half, something that cannot be afforded against a dangerous side like Tigers. Having conceded only one goal so far, this week could prove a testing time for the visiting side.
Canberra Olympic v Belconnnen United – O’Connor Enclosed – Sunday 3pm
After a 7-1 trouncing of Tigers FC last weekend, reigning Premiers Canberra Olympic will be looking to continue that form into this week’s matchup with Belconnen United. Jeremy Habtemariam returned from suspension with a brace, while Stephen Domenici showed why he is regarded so highly. Olympic went at Tigers from the start and did not let up, and they will look to pick apart every gap in the same way here against Belconnen United. Phil Yarnold returns this week for Olympic after suspension too in a boost for the defence.
For Belconnen, a 4-2 loss at home to 10-man Canberra FC snapped a two-game winning streak, but the Blue Devils will back themselves to get back into the points here. While beaten by two goals, the home side looked dangerous at times going forward, with the pace of Jason Ugrinic troubling the defence. Lapses at the back cost them overall, but if the side can put together a full 90 minutes then they are sure to take the challenge to Olympic.
Full fixtures can be found here