Tomorrow night, Tuesday July 29, marks an historic point in Australian football history when the inaugural Westfield FFA Cup kicks off its round of 32 with four fantastic clashes across three states.
And on the night the professional footballers make way for the tradies, Uni students, gardeners and IT consultants as the part-time clubs (including one described by their coach as a ‘pub team’) are given this opportunity to make the headlines nationally.
Soon we’ll be seeing Hyundai A-League clubs in the mix for the Cup but tomorrow night, it’s all about the romance of the Cup for the smaller clubs.
Will the fairytale of South Springvale continue?
Can the Knights from Melbourne regain national pride against a red-hot Olympic FC?
There’s a Sydney derby at Cromer Park and the big TV game live and exclusive on Fox Sports 3 is Broadmeadow Magic and former NSL champions Brisbane Strikers.
What better to spend your Tuesday night than seeing history unfold as new and unlikely heroes emerge from the first night of the Westfield FFA Cup round of 32.
Join the conversation on Twitter and stay on www.theffacup.com.au for all the match news and post-match reaction.
Broadmeadow Magic versus Brisbane Strikers
Venue: Magic Park, Broadmeadow, Newcastle
This is the live TV match (live and exclusive on Fox Sports 3 from 7pm). Magic head into their most high-profile game on the back of a 3-0 win over Lake Macquarie City on the weekend. Goals to Chris Berlin, Rhys Tippett and Scott Pettit breathed life into Magic’s season and gave the club a perfect tonic ahead of Tuesday night.
Brisbane Strikers for their part will look to goal machine Matthew Thurtell for a cutting edge. Their last NPL game was a 2-1 win over Harimau Muda ‘A’. Sitting third on the Queensland NPL ladder, like Olympic FC, they are having a strong season in the Queensland league.
South Springvale versus South Cardiff Gunners
Venue: Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, Cheltenham, Melbourne
For Springvale – the self-described ‘pub team’ of the Cup according to coach Bill Lambropoulos - they’ll look to top scorers Ali Hameed and Dean Panagopoulos for a cutting edge.
Added experience comes in the form of captain Craig Metcalfe and former Melbourne Victory player Ricky Diaco who, if fit, should provide some composure on a night sure to be high on emotion for the Victorian state league one, south-east outfit.
After knocking out two NPL sides already, will the South fairytale continue?
In their way are the Gunners from South Cardiff in Newcastle. The side sit eighth in the NPL NNSW under coach Greg Asquith but travel to Melbourne on a high after defeating Lambton Jaffas 2-1 on the weekend. Ash Balcomb and Jamie Byrnes scored for South Cardiff.
Olympic FC versus Melbourne Knights
Venue: Goodwin Park, Yeronga, Brisbane
Olympic thrashed Moreton Bay Jets 5-1 on Friday night at Goodwin Park and sit in second spot on the NPL Queensland ladder. Little wonder there’s quiet confidence in the camp.
Wily coach Jim Bellas says they’ll be underdogs but expect former Hyundai A-League players Matt Mundy and Tim Smits (both formerly of Brisbane Roar) are likely to be key at a packed Goodwin Park.
Daniel Byrne with a hat-trick against the Jets is likely to be full of confidence in the front third along with goal-machine Reuben Way who has a better than goal a game record in the league.
Mundy’s red card against the Jets the only downer on a fabulous Friday night.
Melbourne Knights go in on the back of a 1-1 draw with Goulburn Valley Suns. Expect a compact game-plan from coach Andrew Marth with the visitors likely play on the counter using powerful centre forward Stipo Andrijasevic, right winger Shayan Alinejad and playmaker Daniel Visevic as the main outlets
Knights captain Ben Surey is unavailable this week with club favourite and reigning Victorian player of the year Marijan Cvitkovic likely to take the armband for the side in eighth on the Victorian ladder.
Manly United versus Sydney Olympic
Venue: Cromer Park, Dee Why, Sydney
There promises to be plenty of goals when Manly United host fellow NSW NPL rivals Sydney Olympic in the Westfield FFA Cup round of 32 clash on Tuesday night.
Both sides like to attack and have some brilliant offensive players at their disposal, who will enjoy showing their wares on the plush playing surface at Cromer Park.
United will be banking on the goals of former Hyundai A-League striker Chris Payne, while the class and guile of midfielder Brendan Cholakian is something the Olympic defence will need to stop.
The visitors have threats of their own, namely Evan Kostopoulos who tormented United when the two sides met earlier this season, while Taiga Soeda and Go Shirai have been standouts all year.
Neither team should be short of confidence either after registering vital wins in the league over the weekend.
Manly edged away from the bottom of the table with a gritty 1-0 win over the South Coast Wolves and Olympic kept their finals hopes alive, beating Sutherland 3-2 at Seymour Shaw Park.