NPL Preview: Super Sunday at Pluim Park

We’re shaping up for another blockbuster Sunday at Pluim Park as the men’s academy host GHFA Spirit FC whilst the women’s academy host Inter Lions FC. Both games kick-off at 3pm at Pluim Park.

Central Coast Mariners Academy vs. GHFA Spirit FC

After securing a crucial win last week over Mounties Wanderers, the academy boys have their sights set on closing the five point hap with GHFA Spirit.

Pluim has proved to be a fortress for the men this season with three wins from three games at their home ground. Having earned the win over a tough opponent last week, the young academy side will be eager to carry the momentum as their chase for the top four continues. The academy boys have scored from everywhere this season including goals to defenders Michael Glassock and Alec Vinci as well as midfielder Joshua Nisbet who all bagged their first goals of the season last week.

Travelling opponents Spirit FC sit in fourth spot and will offer a tough test. Spirit won their first four games and were undefeated after round five. Their rapid start has slowed however, with two losses in their last five which included a heavy 6-0 defeat to ladder leaders Western Sydney Wanderers.

The men will be wanting to make it four from four at Pluim on Sunday and Ray Junna had this to say:

“This weekend’s clash with Spirit will be challenging again with the limited playing staff available for the weekend,” Junna said. “We will miss Peter Kekeris who departed this week, all teams will be stretched again this weekend due to injuries.

“With players from all grades having to back up from full matches last weekend, it was a great effort by all. To get a win against the Mounties in the 1st grade [the score line 3-2, was flattering for Mounties after solid performances from all, and goals coming from the senior guard of Glassock, Nisbet and Vinci]. The 20's and 18's dominated their respective games but the 18's drew 1-1 and we are still amazed how the 20's, lost 1-0.

“It’s a difficult time of the year with players training/trialling with the A-League squad, but a good chance for younger players to be given a chance to show their ability. Buettner, Hatch and Balard all earned some game time in first grade and kept a good account of themselves after full games with the 20’s.

“Results are important but development and capacity to transfer concepts and skill sets from training to matches is more important at this stage. It'll be great to play on a real grass field again at Pluim Park and looking forward to the challenge against a team above us on the ladder,” Junna said.

Last week’s academy side: Munford (GK), Vinci, Glassock (c), Miller, Valentine, Belkadi, Nisbet, Ruiz-Diaz, Kyle Johnson, Jordan Smylie, Michael Katsoulis

Match Details
Sunday, 12 May 2019
NSW NPL 2 Round 11
Match:
Central Coast Mariners Academy vs. GHFA Spirit FC
Venue: Pluim Park, Lisarow
Kick Off: 3:00pm

Central Coast Mariners Academy Women vs. Inter Lions FC Women

Dan Barrett’s side will be eager to get back to winning ways as they return to Pluim to take on the winless Inter Lions FC.

After a difficult defeat to APIA last week, Dan Barrett will be looking to the experience of Danielle Wise and Gabrielle Blanch to help motivate the young girls secure all three points at home. In what has been a season filled with injuries and illness, the women have been competitive and despite the score line last week, had ample chances that troubled APIA.

It was a tough start for Inter Lions as they struggled with the quality in NPL 2. In recent weeks, however their side has improved.

This will be a challenge for the academy girls however, a win will keep them within striking distance of finals positions.

"It’s always a tough road trip to APIA,” Barrett said. “We threw everything at them in the first half. We could have easily been in front leading to the break. Credit must go to the APIA goalkeeper who put in a stellar performance between the sticks. The second half APIA put us to the sword, taking every chance that was presented.

"Although, we know it’s only round eight, the next three matches are critical to our season. I have urged the team for a maximum of nine points out of those three games.

"The squad has trained well this week, and with the importance of the next few rounds and what I feel has been a lack of cohesion or understanding amongst players due to the injury toll leaving us with a brand-new group, we have added a third night to our training program in a bid to speed up the process.

Last week’s academy side: Rhiannon Hines (GK), Indianna Auddino, Gabrielle Blanch, Haylie Eyers, Jade Mcatamney, Kaitlin Murphy, Katie Oliveira, Elizabeth Shorter, Iona Snape, Mikala Tucker, Danielle Wise

Match Details
Sunday, 12 May 2019
Match:
Central Coast Mariners Academy Women vs. Inter Lions FC
Venue: Pluim Park, Lisarow
Kick Off: 3:00pm