MATCH PREVIEW | Essendon Royals look to rediscover scoring form against Banyule Bulls

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State League 1 football returns to Cross Keys Reserve this Saturday as the Essendon Royals welcome Banyule City SC.

The Royals were comfortably superior the last time these two teams met in round seven, running out 6-0 winners at Yallambie Reserve.

But as has been witnessed time and time again in this competition, previous matches so often reflect what can happen in any given game and Vaughan Coveny’s Royals will know they face a different prospect this weekend.

Banyule have enjoyed a return to form since the last time these two teams played, and have won two, draw two and lost just one of their last five games.

That run includes a 2-0 win over Sydenham Park SC, ensuring that this is a match the Royals cannot afford to take lightly.

The Royals are coming off another strong performance last week against Keilor Park SC, but one in which they could not take all three points.

Essendon was denied by a brilliant goalkeeping performance and goalposts on a number of occasions and will hope that they can rediscover the lethal form in front of goal they were able to produce in the last match against Banyule City.

Key to the Royals hopes of winning will be the continued good form of midfielders Gaku Matsuda and Michael Ferrante, who have both demonstrated their fine playmaking abilities in recent fixtures.

Graham Kelly will be looking to get back amongst the goals, while Coveny will hope to be able to utilise Davey Van’t Schip once again.

Van’t Schip got through 60 minutes of action last week after returning from an injury lay-off.

With no threat of relegation this season, the Royals continue to play for pride as they look to create some distance between themselves and the bottom two.

A win won’t see the Royals move up the table, but it would help to potentially close the gap between themselves, Keilor Park and Yarraville Glory.

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