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CSF Match Preview: Crucial Moonee Valley derby clash as Royals make short trip to Strathmore

Essendon Royals Senior and Reserves Men’s teams will be out to keep their good form rolling when they make the short trip to Strathnaver Reserve to take on FC Strathmore in the Moonee Valley derby.

With both sides in the top two of their respective league tables, June has been a good month for the Royals.

However, nothing can be taken for granted in the State League 1 North-West competition, a lesson the Royals Senior Men had to learn the hard way the last time these two sides met at Cross Keys Reserve.

The Royals were the first team to drop points to Strathmore in 2022 when the two sides met in Round Three and Mick Ferrante will be impressing on his players that despite the team’s good form, the Strathmore side they will face on Saturday is an even more dangerous proposition than the one they faced back in April.

The Royals fell behind twice on that occasion, with the point being salvaged in the end thanks to goals from Kristian Konstantinidis and Josh Markovski.

Strathmore remains at the foot of the ladder but has demonstrated strong signs of improvement.

Before last weekend’s postponed Friday night clash against Caroline Springs George Cross, Strathmore had won two of their last three games and pushed Banyule City close in a narrow 3-2 loss.

The upturn in form has been brought about by new coach Micky Colina, who replaced former Western Sydney Wanderers star Brendan Santalab as coach last month.

Santalab remains at the club in a playing capacity and notched his first goal of the season in the 3-2 defeat against Banyule.

Whilst Strathmore has improved since the last time these two local rivals clash, so too have the Royals.

Since a shock 3-0 defeat at Corio back in early May, the Royals have been on fire, turning their season around with five wins in six games.

Across those six games, the Royals have kept five clean sheets, conceding just two goals – both against Keilor Park in a 2-2 draw, the only blemish on the club’s recent record – and smashing home 15 goals.

With the consistency of a stable starting XI providing Ferrante a solid base to build from, the Royals have become the league’s form side and risen into second place on the league table.

A narrow one-point margin separates the Royals from third-placed Sydenham Park, which has played a game more than the Royals.

A win on Saturday would be another important step forward for the Royals this season, whilst keeping the pressure on their immediate rivals.

In the earlier kick-off, the Royals Reserves will need a win to maintain top spot, with just one point separating them from second-placed Corio. The Royals have played a game less than their title rivals.

Strathmore’s Reserves sit in 10th place on the table, with 14 points from 14 games.


Football Victoria Men’s State League 1 North-West – Round 15

FC Strathmore v Essendon Royals SC

Saturday 25 June

Strathnaver Reserve, Strathmore

Reserves 1pm

Seniors 3pm


Round 15 sees league leaders Caroline Springs George Cross host Sydenham Park in what could prove a crucial clash in determining the final standings in the competition.

Third-placed Sydenham Park stumbled last week, being held to a 1-1 draw against Banyule City at Keilor Lodge Reserve, and will need at least a point to keep in touch with the rampant Georgies at City Vista Reserve.

By the time that clash gets underway at 5pm on Saturday, all the other results should be known.

Brimbank Stallions will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host Whittlesea United, whilst Banyule City also need the three points to keep pace with the top teams when they take on Altona City at Yallambie Park.

Elsewhere, Corio SC hosts Keilor Park, whilst FC Clifton Hill will travel to McIvor Reserve to take on Yarraville Glory FC.