FFA Cup – Northern frontier takes a further step

It’s the penultimate round of FFA Cup qualifying in the ‘Northern Zone’ with two round six matches taking place tomorrow night. Which clubs will take a further step towards making the final 32, here’s our look at how the matchups line up.

Whitsunday v Frenchville – Saturday 30 May, 6:30pm – Airlie Beach Sports Complex

The backpacker-dominated party town of Airlie Beach will be the setting as the Mackay and Central Queensland zone winners against go up against each other, This game has been two months in the works since the sides played their last FFA Cup match.

Whitsunday currently sit equal top of Mackay’s Premier League, undefeated and having dropped their only points of the season in a draw to the other joint leaders, Wanderers. They have reached this point in the Cup after claiming the scalp of perennial Mackay powerhouse, Magpies, turning around the 2014 result where Magpies represented the zone after defeating Whitsunday.

Frenchville are fourth in the Central Queensland Premier League, five points off top position but with two games in hand on their rivals. Their only loss in the league came at the hands of the current league leaders, Clinton. The Roos take good form into this match, since that loss they have gone on a three match winning streak including wins against Bluebirds and Capricorn Coast who sit above them in the ladder.

Northern Fury v FNQ Heat – Saturday 30 May, 7pm – Brolga Park, Townsville

This was originally scheduled to be the round twelve NPL Queensland match but as coincidence would have it, these two clubs will now meet in what has been transformed into a FFA Cup fixture.

The rivalry between Townsville and Cairns is almost as old as time and for the second year in a row, these two sides meet at this point of the competition where the Heat accounted for the Fury 4-1 in Townsville last year.

2015 looks to be a much different prospect though. In 2014, the Heat were in the middle of a run that ultimately saw them take second place on the ladder while the Fury languished towards the bottom of the table. This year, both sides sit in close quarters to each other on the ladder, meaning this match is very much a fifty-fifty proposition.

Both sides aren’t taking the best league form into this match having tasted defeat in their previous two matches but will be buoyed by their convincing wins in their last Cup round against their respective local Premier League opposition, both coming in 6-1 victories, the Fury over Warriors and Heat over Stratford.

When these sides last met in the opening round of the NPL, the Fury took a tight 3-2 win away from Cairns.

The winners of these two matches will meet each other, most likely on the Queen’s Birthday weekend, to determine the club that will progress to the FFA Cup round of 32. That is the round where the A-League sides enter the competition.