It will be a decisive weekend in the National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland with top four teams, a Gold Coast Derby and relegation battles all featuring in Round 22.
There will be two Matches of the Round this weekend, with Peninsula Power hosting Olympic FC in a blockbuster clash, while Gold Coast United will take on Gold Coast Knights in the Gold Coast Derby, available live and on demand on the FQ website, FQ Facebook and FQ YouTube.
After a 4-0 loss last round at the hands of Knights, Power will be looking to return to winning ways and extend their lead at the top of the table when they come up against a red hot Olympic.
Olympic haven’t lost a game in 10 matches and currently sit just three points behind second-placed Lions FC.
The team are coming off their fifth consecutive win in which they have scored four or more goals.
Chris Lucas leads the way on the attacking front for Olympic with nine of his 23 goals coming in the last five games, while overall they’ve had eight different goalscorers during the same period.
However, Power shouldn’t be underestimated in this clash despite dropping points to both Eastern Suburbs and Knights in the last three weeks.
The last time the two sides met was in Round 7 this year, which saw Power come away with a 5-1 win.
Peninsula Power v Olympic FC
Saturday, 29 June, 5pm
AJ Kelly Park
The other Match of the Round will see Gold Coast United host fellow Gold Coast side Knights in the Gold Coast Derby.
Their last meeting in the inaugural NPL Queensland Gold Coast Derby in Round 7 ended in a 1-1 draw as Knights came from behind in the second half to steal a point.
United come up against a Knights side with a formidable record which hasn’t seen them lose a match since March.
Knights also have three games in hand which could see them gain some valuable points as the regular season comes to a close.
United meanwhile come into the Derby with back-to-back losses at the hands of Brisbane Roar Youth and Brisbane Strikers, and will need to find some form if they are to threaten their Gold Coast opposition.
*this game has been washed out and will be played next Tuesday, 2 July at 7pm.
Other matches to watch:
Brisbane Strikers v Lions FC
After their tantalising 3-1 win over Lions in the FFA Cup preliminary stages last month, can Strikers get another win over their close rivals? Or will Lions get their revenge? Both teams have been enjoying wins in recent weeks with Strikers beating Gold Coast United and Moreton Bay United, while Lions have defeated Brisbane City and Eastern Suburbs.
Sunshine Coast v Magpies Crusaders
After digging themselves out of trouble last round where they secured their first win since Round 7, coincidentally also against Sunshine Coast, the Magpies will be looking to string back to back victories together in this relegation battle. Sunshine Coast sit in last spot and haven’t had a win since Round 8 but the young side have produced a few surprises throughout the season.
Redlands United v Western Pride
Redlands sit four points out of the relegation zone but have lost their last three matches, while Pride sit just two points away safety with every point valuable in the race to stay in the league. Pride took out their meeting earlier this season so will be hoping to get a repeat result.
Players to watch:
Michael Lyall (Magpies Crusaders): The former skipper was back in the black last round and even scored on his return. He’s set to play a huge part in Magpies’ battle to stay up in the NPL Queensland this season.
Mustafa Jafari (Western Pride): Still quite new to the Ipswich side, Jafari has already made a name for himself, scoring two goals in three appearances and proving a nuisance to opposition defenders.
Michael Thwaite (Gold Coast United): A big game needs experienced players and this former A-League defender is one of them. Thwaite has been a consistent face in the United backline and with Knights having a potent attack, his leadership will be important this weekend.
Jez Lofthouse (Olympic FC): The fast-paced and exciting young prospect has seven goals to his name so far this season. After making the FQ Team of the Week, he’ll be an attacking weapon that Power should keep their eye on when Olympic go on the break.