The Men’s National Premier League reaches Round 4 this weekend with a trio of matches set to tantalise football fans across the National Capital.
Monaro Panthers, fresh off a brace of back-to-back victories in the league, make the trip to O’Connor Enclosed to tackle the O’Connor Knights, a venue where they achieved much success in the 2022 campaign. Indeed, in the four meetings last year between these protagonists, the Panthers were undefeated.
Monaro were far from their fluent best in seeing off West Canberra Wanderers at Melrose Synthetic in Round 3, but off the back of a tiring Cup defeat to Canberra Croatia in the midweek prior, showed good character to take the game by the scruff of the neck and earn the win.
The Knights meanwhile rediscovered some of their attacking mojo as they put Tuggeranong United to the sword with an emphatic display. Five goals, a majority off the end of some outstanding counterattacks, emphasised just how dangerous and unpredictable the Knights can be. Panthers will need to be on their guard.
The two teams who currently occupy the bottom two spots both face up to tricky assignments on Sunday starting with eighth-placed West Canberra Wanderers heading to an unhappy hunting ground as they make the short journey to Deakin Stadium and a date with Canberra Croatia.
West Canberra Wanderers have only ever won on one visit to Canberra Croatia, claiming only three points from a possible 36 on offer, Croatia having won the other eleven games and have only ever scored five goals on their visits to Deakin Stadium but have concede a whopping 46 times in those dozen trips there.
They come into this match having conceded fourteen times in the opening three matches of the season and need to tighten up defensively as well as find a more productive and fruitful route to goal.
Croatia enters the fixture rocking having been defeated at home with virtually the last touch against the Tigers, and a wounded Canberra Croatia is often the prelude to a hefty response from the perennial title challengers.
Tuggeranong United meanwhile face the unenviable task of taking on a free-scoring Canberra Olympic who will be smarting themselves from coming out on the wrong end of a five-goal thriller against Gungahlin United at the AIS.
Olympic looked a tad leggy for some reason in the second half, and how they recover from a midweek Australia Cup Round 5 outing against the Wanderers might be key to the outcome of this clash. They have looked harp going forward, but some defensive lapses were punished by Gunners, and they will need to tighten up in that area.
For Tuggeranong, fixing their defensive woes is their paramount objective. Having already conceded fifteen times at the rate of five per game, United are well aware that such a porous defensive unit cannot be allowed to continue unchecked.
Going forward they’ve managed to score in each game, suggesting that there are signs of life in the attacking third. Marrying the combination of a tighter defence, with a more prolific attack, will be critical, not just in this match, but as the season progresses.
The scheduled fixture between Tigers FC and Gungahlin United has been postponed due to venue unavailability and venue conditions not suitable for NPL competition. Capital Football management will work with both teams to identify a new date for this fixture and the corresponding U23 encounter.
Saturday 29 April
Tigers FC v Gungahlin United – Match Postponed
O’Connor Knights v Monaro Panthers (O’Connor Enclosed, 15:00)
Sunday 30 April
Canberra Croatia v West Canberra Wanderers (Deakin Stadium, 15:00)
Tuggeranong United v Canberra Olympic (Kambah 2, 15:00)
|8||West Canberra Wanderers||3||0||0||3||1||14||-13||0|
5 Luca FLOREZ (Canberra Olympic), Josh GULEVSKI (Tigers FC)
3 Stephen DOMENICI (Canberra Croatia), Maxx GREEN (Gungahlin United), Phakedi MANDA (O’Connor Knights)
2 Daniel BARAC (Canberra Croatia), Micheal JOHN (Monaro Panthers), Connor MYNOTT-SMITH (Monaro Panthers), Nik TANESKI (Tigers FC), Jason UGRINIC (Canberra Croatia)
1 Micheal ADAMS (O’Connor Knights), Riley ANGELOSANTE (O’Connor Knights), Connor BILL (O’Connor Knights), Jake BISHOP (Tigers FC), Riley BROWN (West Canberra Wanderers), Elie DARWICH (Canberra Olympic), Josh GASPARI (Gungahlin United), Jack GREEN (Gungahlin United), Dom GIAMPAOLO (Gungahlin United), Sam HABTEMARIAM (Gungahlin United), Clancy HISLOP (Tuggeranong United), Thomas JAMES (Canberra Olympic), Amilio KISTA (Tigers FC), Ed MCCARTHY (Tigers FC), Marko MILUTINOVIC (Tigers FC), Lasse OLRIK (Canberra Olympic), Jackson PAESLER (Gungahlin United), Kaz PATAFTA (Canberra Croatia), Euan PETERKIN (Tuggeranong United), Nik POPOVICH (Canberra Olympic), Kyle SENIOR (Tigers FC), Roko STRIKA (Monaro Panthers), Hristjan TANOSKI (Tigers FC), Antoni TIMOTHEOU (Gungahlin United), Sam WALKER (Tuggeranong United), Own GOALS