Brilliant comebacks the backdrop as fresh FFA Cup drama beckons
The FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds have been raging on around the country as state-based giants and dreamers fight for places on the big stage.
Incredible comebacks have been the theme of recent matches and there's more drama set to come across Australia over the coming days, weeks and months.
Read on for a recap of the latest action and a look ahead at the key clashes coming your way.
Huge encounters ahead in Victoria
Heidelberg United are out of the FFA Cup after a dramatic 5-4 defeat to Hume City on Tuesday and two more Quarter Finalists of 2018 could have their runs halted before the Final Rounds.
Hume, who were forced to come from behind on no fewer than four occasions, now meet Bentleigh Greens, the team that ousted Heidelberg from last year’s tournament.
Another blockbuster affair is set to see Melbourne Knights take on NPL Victoria leaders Avondale FC.
South Melbourne squeezed past Doveton SC 1-0 amid a full menu of midweek matches as Murray United, home to ex-Hyundai A-League star Archie Thompson, had their hopes dashed by Bulleen Lions.
Eltham Redbacks, having ousted Pascoe Vale on penalties, could be the surprise packets to watch in Victoria.
Canberra Olympic crash out
There will be no repeat of the 2016 magic that carried Canberra Olympic through to the Semi Finals after they lost 1-0 to Canberra FC on Wednesday.
Elsewhere, Tigers FC put six past an outclassed UC Pumas, while ANU FC impressively beat Belconnen United 2-0.
Tuggeranong United, Round of 16 competitors in 2014, won 2-0 at Woden Weston.
Goals galore in Queensland
An incredible 31 goals were scored in just four games in the Sunshine State last weekend.
Western Pride were burned 3-1 by Burleigh Heads and fellow NPL Queensland side Redlands United squandered a three-goal lead in falling to a scarcely believable 6-5 loss at Coomera.
There was better news for Palm Beach, 6-4 winners over Nambour Yandina United, and Gold Coast Knights shaded Sunshine Coast Wanderers 3-1 to round out a strong weekend for the Glitter Strip.
Round 6 matches to watch include NPL Queensland leaders Peninsula Power against the third-placed Knights, along with the date between Eastern Suburbs and Brisbane Strikers.
Magic on the march
How far can Ruben Zadkovich guide Broadmeadow Magic this season?
They reached the Round of 16 in 2018 and are on track for another Final Rounds berth this time around, having come from behind to beat South Cardiff 2-1 on Tuesday.
Hamilton Olympic, Charlestown City Blues and Lambton Jaffas all ran up the score in big victories elsewhere in Northern New South Wales.
Edgeworth FC, 2-0 winners over West Wallsend, and Cessnock City Hornets, who prevailed 2-1 against Lake Macquarie City, were made to work harder for their places in the next round of qualifying.
But the team to track might well be little-known Bangalow SC: Byron Milne’s goal in a 1-0 defeat of Kempsey Saints last weekend gave them a maiden spot in Round 6, which will be contested in June.
Anticipation builds in New South Wales
There are 20 teams left standing under the Football NSW umbrella, with that number to be halved over the next couple of weeks.
The fascinating mix of sides vying for five slots ranges from known quantities like APIA Leichhardt, Bonnyrigg White Eagles and the Luke Wilkshire-coached Wollongong Wolves to rising hopefuls Dulwich Hill, Pittwater RSL and Hazelbrook FC.
UPCOMING CLASHES: Round 6 matches announced for NSW
One match not to be missed is Sydney United 58 at home to Blacktown City, which will be held on Wednesday, May 22.
Hakoah Sydney City East are in action against Marconi Stallions seven days earlier.
Tough test for entertainers Hellenic
Hellenic AC pushed Western Sydney Wanderers all the way in last season’s Round of 32 but must get past Darwin Olympic on Tuesday to remain in the hunt for the Northern Territory qualifying spot.
That match takes centre stage on Tuesday, May 14 and two more follow on May 21.
Verdi FC are at home to Stormbirds SC, while University Azzurri welcome Port Darwin.
Tension in Tasmania
FFA Cup fans can get their fix in Tasmania this Saturday with four matches scheduled for the Apple Isle.
League leaders Devonport are sure to face a stiff challenge against Hobart Zebras, while the pressure will be on an in-form Olympia Warriors to advance past Riverside Olympic.
Two-time Round of 32 qualifiers South Hobart take on Taroona in one of the other matches as University meet Somerset Sharks.
Bayswater up for a battle
The qualification race resumes in Western Australia on the weekend of May 18-19.
Bayswater City will enter their clash with Cockburn City – the only all-NPL WA encounter of the round – wary of hotshot attacker Daniel Robinson.
Meanwhile, Floreat Athena and Perth SC must negotiate potential banana skin ties against Olympic Kingsway and Balga SC respectively.