MATCH PREVIEW | Promotion race heats up at Cross Keys

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Essendon Royals and Hume City face off in a huge promotion clash this Sunday in the Women’s State League 2, but Royals coach Johno Clemente says the pressure is all on Hume City.

The fixture could play a vital role in deciding who joins likely champions Spring Hills SC in moving up to State League 1, with Hume in the box seat.

Hume sits in second on the table courtesy of a four-point buffer, albeit having played an extra game, over the Royals.

“It’s another huge game this week, but I believe it’s bigger for Hume than for us,” Clemente said. 

“Hume started off the season well and were tipped for promotion and right now they are where they will think they’re meant to be on the table.

“In our case, no one thought we would be in the position we are now and we’ve exceeded all our goals for the season and we’re just enjoying the ride.” 

The two teams played out a gutsy 1-1 draw in Round 2 this season.

A win for Hume would open the gap to seven points, while a win for the Royals would put the difference back down to one point, with the Royals still to play their postponed fixture against Clifton Hill.

“Hume is a quality side and if they get the three points they’d be very comfortable in those promotion spots,” Clemente said.

“That expectation comes with a bit of pressure, but that’s the pressure they’re going to have to deal with.

“Win, lose or draw, it doesn’t phase us too much, we’re not looking far ahead and take it one game at a time.

“Of course, we’ll try our best to take the 3 points, but it’s not season-defining, that’s the key.”

Kick-off at Cross Keys Reserve is at 3 pm.

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