Canberra NPL: Belconnen United v Canberra FC
Canberra NPL: Belconnen United v Canberra FC at Deakin Oval. Photo: Graham Tidy
Belconnen United have cleared the first hurdle with ease, now they've got two more tough tests if they're going to reclaim the league championship they last won in 2012.
The Blue Devils saw off third-placed Canberra FC with two second-half strikes at Deakin on Sunday, but face fourth-placed Canberra Olympic next week before a top-of-the-table clash against Cooma in the second-last round of the Canberra National Premier League.
FC had the better of the first half against a sluggish Belconnen, but the visitors were able to take control of the game in the second stanza.
With about 20 minutes remaining, the ball fell for defender Jack Green who hit it from the edge of the box to break the deadlock.
Tom McLachlan then put the game out of FC's reach with five minutes remaining.
Jason Ugrinic got away on the break down the left and then squared the ball for McLachlan to tap home for three valuable points.
Second-placed United open up a six-point gap on third-placed FC, but it still trails Cooma, who beat Woden Valley 3-0, by two points with three rounds remaining.
While FC might be out of the league championship race, Ugrinic said it would be premature to rule it out of the grand final equation.
He said with players of the quality of Adam Spaleta to come back in from injury it would still be a threat come finals time.
"It's going to be tough [to chase down Cooma]. At this stage [Cooma] are in the box seat with their draw because there are no byes and we've got a difficult game against Olympic," Ugrinic said.
"We can talk after the Olympic game and depending on their result and our result next week, we'll set things up the following week. At this stage it's a week-to-week proposition, next week may set up a deciding game between us."
Canberra FC coach Andy Bernal declined to comment.
CANBERRA NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUE
Belconnen 2 (Jack Green 71, Tom McLachlan 85) bt Canberra FC 0
Cooma 3 (Julian Borgna, Goran Josifovski, Stephen Domenici) bt Woden Valley 0
Canberra Olympic 5 (Josh Gaspari, Mark Shields, Oliver Wiederkehr, Callum Smith, Nathan Tidmarsh) bt FFA COE 2 (Jamal Reiners 2)