With only five games left to go in the home and away season, no less than five Clubs can still win the ESFA Premier League this season. Only three points separates those clubs at the moment.
All sorts of permutations and combinations are possible, with goal difference bound to play a huge role. Unbelievably, not one of the five teams are mathematically guaranteed even a Finals spot yet.
Let's look at the teams in question:
Glebe started the season erratically and even their mid-season form was up and down - likely due to the fact they competed in the NSW State Cup, which disrupted their Saturday campaign. However, since their defeat away to Dunbar Rovers on the 6th of July, last year's Grand Final winners have won five games on the trot to march to the top of the table. On Saturday they come up against third placed Coogee United, who beat them 4-1 in the first round, in what is the match of the round at Heffron Park 55. A win for Glebe will put them in the box seat to seal the ESFA Premier League Championship.
Enjoying their best season in the ESFA Premier League, the Loko boys have won eight games from their last nine (only succumbing to in-form Glebe Wanderers) to storm into the top two, with a realistic shot at the title. Having said that, defeat at home to Waverley Old Boys and other results not going their way could see them miss out on the Top 4 playoff altogether. Astounding!
Coogee have been the most consistent team all season and have sat on top of the table for most of the time. This, however, is partly due to the fact they played more games than their rivals throughout the early part of the season. They have backed up from their title-winning season in 2012 and continue to be a strong outfit again this year. They play Glebe at home on Saturday and Dunbar next Tuesday. If that win both games, they will retain their title.
Waverley Old Boys
Waverley have been the 'quiet achievers' all season long but continue to be a strong contender for the Premier League title. On Saturday they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Dunbar Rovers, a result that did neither team any favours. They travel to Alexandria Oval on Saturday to take on in-form Lokomotiv Cove in what promises to be another blockbuster. The winner will march to a possible title or at worst, a playoff spot; whilst the losing team will be looking over their shoulder to qualify for a Finals spot.
Dunbar started the campaign with five wins on the trot but suffered a mid season slump, losing three matches in four games. Currently fifth in the table and outside the playoffs, Dunbar still have two games left to play, which could see them leap into a top four finish. This weekend they travel to Jellicoe Park, which is never an easy place to go to and even though Pagewood's chances of a top four spot have evaporated they wouldn’t want to see a defeat. With a crunch match against Coogee United next Tuesday, the top of the table could take an entirely different shape in the space of 72 hours.
There has not been an end of season title race quite like this before in the ESFA Premier League. Most of the previous titles have been won by in convincing fashion in the six years of the competition's history. Remember to go out and support your team this weekend.