District League Round 4 Preview
By Dylan Arvela, Football South Coast match reporter
Match of the round
Thirroul Thunder vs Fernhill Foxes at Thomas Gibson Park, kick off 3 pm, Friday 14th of April
Thirroul opened the season with two wins including a 5-0 thrashing of University but went down to Warilla last weekend in a high scoring encounter. Thunder boss Garth Bowley will be aiming to avoid back to back defeats however an inform Fernhill side is a daunting prospect. Thirroul beat Fernhill in the opening round of the Fraternity Cup before losing 4-1 against them in the semifinal
Fernhill picked up their second win of the season against Oak Flats and going into this match they are yet to concede a goal. The Foxes have a wealth of District League talent with the likes of Kolan Hmda, Ilija Prenzoski and Andrew Keep make up a formidable team. With Fernhill competing in the Fraternity Cup final on Monday, this may be a chance for Dan McGoldrick to give fringe players a chance like youngster Mitchell Turner, who came on and scored against Oak Flats, Shinsei Tanaka and Hiroki Makita who impressed in the Fraternity Cup group stage.
Prediction - Draw
Friday 14th of April
Bellambi Rosellas vs Warilla Wanderers at Elizabeth Park, kick off 3 pm
The Rosellas produced the upset of the round with their 2-0 win over Berkeley. Coach Tim Hooker will be delighted with the win but even more so with his side's ability to keep a clean sheet after shipping eight goals in their opening match. This said, hosting one of the league's heavyweights will be a far greater challenge and it is hard to seem Bellambi pulling off an upset.
Warilla backed up their two-goal comeback draw against Oak Flats with a 3-2 win against fellow finals candidates Thirroul. This match starts a run of six against sides the club would be expecting to finish ahead of so the experienced Barney King will be eager for a comprehensive win.
Prediction - Warilla
Balgownie Rangers vs University FC at Judy Masters Oval, kick off 3 pm
The Rangers have collected just a point from their opening two games but they managed to keep Coniston to one goal in their opener and netted two goals in their draw against Kiama. I expect Balgownie to begin to move up the table with a set of winnable upcoming fixtures.
After a heavy 5-0 defeat first up, the Students could have been in real trouble if they suffered a similar fate against Wests, instead, the managed to pull off a 3-1 victory giving them plenty of reasons for optimism. They are a side with potential to make finals push, but they will be to continue strengthening their defensive game.
Prediction - Balgownie
Oak Flats Falcons vs Coniston FC at Keith Bond Oval, kick off 3 pm
After heartbreakingly dropping a two-goal lead at home to Warilla, the Falcons had a strong opening hour against Fernhill before losing 2-0. They will need to reproduce that first-hour performance this Friday when they take on Coniston, a team of similar quality to the Foxes. They have the players in Jarryd Vinton and Josh De Gouveia to produce a result.
Coniston sits on top of the District League table with three wins from three. They are coming off a 3-1 home win over Helensburgh that included a brace from talisman Dinko Terzic. They should have enough quality in this match to earn the three points however with the Fraternity Cup final against Fernhill on Easter Monday, coach Willy Alarcon may rest one or two players with an eye on the first piece of silverware for the season.
Prediction - Coniston
Helensburgh Thistle vs Kiama Quarriers at Rex Jackson Park, kick off 3 pm
Despite a creditable 3-2 defeat to Coniston in the Bert Bampton Cup, Helensburgh has failed to deliver in the league so far, currently sitting at the bottom of the table with no points and a -7 goal difference. The positive is, it is only early days and they do have a young squad with plenty of potential. A result here will be important for squad morale.
The Quarriers have produced commendable results in their opening two games, a 3-2 defeat to Coniston and 2-2 draw against Balgownie in round 3. There was concern about this Kiama side after they suffered some key injuries combined with poor preseason results but these early results are promising. Their four goals is another encouraging sign.
Prediction - Draw
Wests Illawarra vs Berkeley Sports at Unanderra Oval, kick off 3 pm
Wests started their season with a comprehensive 8-1 win over Bellambi in the league followed up by Bert Bampton Cup win over Berkeley. This early season form was abruptly halted by a 3-1 defeat to University on Sunday. Wests have improved their squad from last season and their true form is likely to be somewhere in between the Bellambi and Uni results.
Berkeley is one of two teams yet to record a point in the league. Their three matches included a strong opening half hour against Oak Flats and a resolute 1-0 defeat to Thirroul. The concerning result for Berkeley boss, Paul Mears will be their 2-0 defeat against struggling Bellambi which means they have now gone over 185 minutes without scoring a league goal.
Prediction - Wests
Preview by Dylan Arvela on Twitter @dylaneloiarvela