It's Round 13 of the 2014 NPL Capital Football season. Which clubs will it prove to be lucky or unlucky for?
Woden Valley v Canberra FC (Deakin Stadium)
Canberra FC will be in the unusual position of playing an away match at home on Saturday afternoon as they welcome Woden Valley to Deakin Stadium in Round 13 of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football competition. The match has been switched to the home of the league champions from Kaleen Enclosed as Woden’s temporary new home has been deemed unfit for Premier League football at present. So this will be the second time that Mitch Stevens has taken his Woden Valley team to Deakin Stadium in 2014 and they will be hopeful that they get a more positive outcome than the 0-4 reverse in Round 4.
Much has changed at FC since that day however with Andy Bernal now in charge of team affairs, at least until the end of the current campaign, following the dismissal of Ray Junna. Bernal started his reign with a 3-1 win at Tuggeranong United last week giving youngsters Alex Tilley and Benjamin Van Meurs a starting debut and introducing Daniel Subasic from the bench in the dying stages. It remains to be seen whether Bernal will keep the same squad for this weekend but his faith in the younger players will probably see an unchanged team take the field. And that could spell danger for Woden Valley.
Canberra City v FFA COE (Gungahlin Enclosed)
The FFA Centre of Excellence take to the field for only the second time in a month as they take on Canberra City at Gungahlin Enclosed on Sunday afternoon. And it’s a City team who are struggling with injuries having seen a number of their first choice players struck down in recent weeks. Coupled with having to play a catch-up match against Tuggeranong United at this venue on Thursday evening and it could be a tough assignment for Nick Palagyi and his troops come kick-off.
City has only managed one point from ten matches in the 2014 National Premier Leagues: Capital Football and that came all the way back in April as they held Woden Valley 1-1. Since then City has slumped to a run of eight defeats including a 0-3 reverse against the FFA COE at the AIS Fields in Round 4.The FFA boys have enjoyed a mixed bag of results in this competition from their nine matches, having won four and lost five, but it’s been a learning curve for the new intake who have stuck to the task admirably and look to be improving as a unit as the season progresses. Tony Vidmar and his team will be the favourites to take the points from this match, with the weight of recent events seemingly stacked up against City, but if City start well and frustrate their opponents, they do have the capacity to achieve a result.
Cooma Tigers v Monaro Panthers (Nijong Oval)
By the final whistle of the match at Nijong Oval, Cooma Tigers could well be sitting pretty at the top of the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football table. A win against visiting Monaro Panthers would see the Tigers leap ahead of Belconnen United at the summit of the elite table and extend a winning sequence that has seen Cooma take maximum points from their last eight matches. Three points against Monaro is far from a given however with the Panthers, on their day, capable of upsetting the top sides. That said the Tigers supporters will be disappointed should they not come away with the leadership from a home match against a team that has won just three of its eleven games in 2014. But those of a black and gold persuasion need only cast their minds back to Round 3 this season and the trip to the Riverside Stadium to see how tough an opponent Monaro can be. The Panthers defeated Cooma 3-1 that day, incidentally the last time that the Nijong Oval based club lost in the NPL, showcasing their ability. Cooma’s last outing was a potentially decisive 3-2 win over Canberra FC at Deakin Stadium. Those three points have given them a sniff of the crown. Three more here would see them move ever closer to that title.
Canberra Olympic v Tuggeranong United (O’Connor Enclosed)
Canberra Olympic welcome Tuggeranong United to O’Connor Enclosed on Sunday afternoon for a critical match in the National Premier Leagues: Capital Football competition as fourth and fifth meet in a fixture that potentially could define their season. The winner will be in pole position to take the fourth spot on the ladder, and a place in the finals, with only a few rounds remaining whilst for the loser the rest of the season develops into a series of must-win matches in order to keep pace.
Olympic will feel like they have unfinished business with Tuggeranong having succumbed to a defeat at Kambah against the FFA Cup qualifiers earlier in the season. That result gave Tuggeranong the belief that they could mix it with the teams in the top half of the table and completed a remarkable turn-around from cellar dwellers in 2013 to a team pushing for finals only twelve months later. Olympic has been the ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ team of 2014 having threatened to win the whole thing at one stage only to slip up against perceived weaker sides and leave themselves with a difficult run in to the end of the year. They’ll be confident at home that they can defeat Tuggeranong however and remain, not just in the finals race, but on the tails of the top three.
Click here for all of the details ahead of this weekend's matches.