Two of the fancied teams for the National Premier Leagues WA title get the second round under way on Friday night and cool heads could be key to the outcome.
Bayswater City’s meeting with Floreat Athena at Frank Drago Reserve is a repeat of the Night Series final from earlier this month, also under lights, which Athena won on penalties after both teams had had a player sent off.
Ryan Pearson of Bayswater of Athena’s Calvin Whitney will serve the final game of their two-match suspensions, while Floreat are also without skipper Dean Evans who was dismissed in their first round win over Perth Glory.
And Robert Petkov, who scored the winner for Floreat last week, risked a red card after getting involved in some push-and-shove.
“I went in for the booking … I didn’t want to get sent off so I held back,” Petkov told The NPL Wrap podcast.
Reigning champions Perth SC will want to be more hard nosed when they travel to Stirling Lions after twice relinquishing the lead in their opening week draw against ECU Joondalup.
This will be Stirling’s second successive home game. They started with a 2-0 defeat to Armadale last week despite creating enough chances to have taken a point.
Goals were not a problem for Balcatta last week after their 4-0 thrashing of Rockingham but they will face a different kind of test when they go up against the youngsters of Perth Glory at E&D Litis Stadium.
Cockburn City, who started the season with a fine 3-2 win at Sorrento and had Riley Woodcock netting twice, have their first home game against Inglewood United.
New Inglewood coach Andres Oliveira has had a full week to work with his players following their 3-0 home loss to Bayswater and if he can get them to replicate their second-half efforts then they could get something.
Jakub Sklenar scored twice for ECU in the draw at Perth SC and he’s the obvious threat to Sorrento at ECU Football Stadium. But the Gulls will have to keep tabs on Joe Knowles and Richie Howles too if they are to avoid a second straight loss.
The final game is between Armadale and Rockingham at Alfred Skeet Reserve. After a miserable Night Series Armadale displayed signs that their resilience had returned when winning at Stirling, while Rockingham will want to show their heavy loss at Balcatta was nothing more than first-day nerves on their NPL bow.
NPL WA Round Two
Friday, March 22
Bayswater City v Floreat Athena (Frank Drago Reserve, 7.30pm)
Saturday, March 23 (all 3pm)
Armadale v Rockingham City (Alfred Skeet Reserve)
Cockburn City v Inglewood United (Dalmatinac Park)
ECU Joondalup v Sorrento (ECU Football Stadium)
Perth Glory v Balcatta (E&D Litis Stadium)
Stirling Lions v Perth SC (Macedonia Park)