NPL Round 19 PREVIEW

Port Melbourne Sharks v Green Gully
11th v 9th
8:30pm, Friday July 25, 2014
JL Murphy Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #PMvGG #NPLVIC

Last round:
Heidelberg United 0-0 Port Melbourne Sharks
Goulburn Valley Suns 3-2 Green Gully

Form:
Port Melbourne Sharks: WLLWD
Green Gully: WDLLL

Last time they met:
Port Melbourne Sharks 2-1 Green Gully, VPL Round 18, 2013

After following up its win over GV Suns with a point against third-placed Heidelberg United, Port Melbourne will head into this clash with confidence as it looks to take another step closer to safety.

A convincing win on the scoreboard may also see the Sharks leapfrog Green Gully, adding a bit more spice to the contest.

Green Gully is on a three-game losing streak and a relegation fight is becoming a real possibility if its form does not pick up soon.

With a tough run home until the end of the season, Gully will want to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later.

Northcote City v South Melbourne
6th v 1st
3:00pm, Saturday July 26, 2014
John Cain Memorial Park
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #NCvSM #NPLVIC

Last round:
Werribee City 1-3 Northcote City
South Melbourne 4-3 Melbourne Knights

Form:
Northcote City: DWWDW
South Melbourne: WWWWW

Last time they met:
Northcote City 5-0 South Melbourne, VPL Preliminary Final, 2013

The previous meeting between the two ended up being a blowout in favour of eventual champion Northcote City.

Things will be different this time around, with South Melbourne running away at the top of the league, while Northcote City is well out of championship contention sitting in 6th place.

Northcote is on good run at the moment, and is unbeaten in five games, but South Melbourne has won its past five to extend its lead on the ladder to nine points.

It will also be the first time NPL top-scorer Milos Lujic and Michael Eagar return to play at John Cain Memorial Park, and both will be looking to get one over their former club.

Goulburn Valley Suns v Melbourne Knights
14th v 9th
6:30pm, Saturday July 26, 2014
McEwan Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #GVSvMK #NPLVIC

Last round:
Goulburn Valley Suns 3-2 Green Gully
South Melbourne 4-3 Melbourne Knights

Form:
Goulburn Valley Suns: LLLLW
Melbourne Knights: DWWWL

Last time they met:
N/A

The Suns have finally picked up their second win of the season, but will have to show more determination to beat a much-improved Melbourne Knights.

Having just held on against Green Gully, Goulburn Valley Suns will want to avoid more nervy finishes.

Knights’ recruits Stipo Andrijasevic and Jordan O’Doherty have impressed since signing for the club, with the latter even getting a run-out for Melbourne Victory in the A-League side's pre-season friendly against Bentleigh Greens in mid-week.

After the derby heartbreak last weekend, the Knights will be keen to bounce back with a win over the league’s bottom side.

Dandenong Thunder v Pascoe Vale
10th v 7th
7:00pm, Saturday July 26, 2014
George Andrews Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #DTvPV #NPLVIC

Last round:
Dandenong Thunder 0-1 Bentleigh Greens
Ballarat 2-0 Pascoe Vale *** GAME ABANDONED AFTER 67 MINUTES

Form:
Dandenong Thunder: LDLLL
Pascoe Vale: WWLDD

Last time they met:
Pascoe Vale 2-2 Dandenong Thunder, VPL Round 18, 2013

Dandenong Thunder is inching closer to the wrong end of the ladder with each week that passes, and need to make more of its home advantage this weekend.

Meanwhile Pascoe Vale will be keen to get back on the park after having its fixture against Ballarat abandoned after 67 minutes.

Goalkeeper Stefaan Sardelic and forward Luca Santilli are out with injuries sustained in that clash, and Pascoe will need to face the Thunder without the pair.

It is set to be an intriguing clash, and a win will hand a nice morale boost to either clubs.

Werribee City v Ballarat Red Devils
12th v 13th
3:00pm, Sunday July 27, 2014
Galvin Park
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #WCvBRD #NPLVIC

Last round:
Werribee City 1-3 Northcote City
Ballarat 2-0 Pascoe Vale *** GAME ABANDONED AFTER 67 MINUTES

Form:
Werribee City: LLLLL
Ballarat Red Devils: LLWLD

Last time they met:
Ballarat 0-3 Werribee City, State League Division 2 North-West Round 13, 2011

Both sides won’t remember much of their last meeting in 2011, but this weekend’s clash is shaping up to be season defining for both clubs.

Separated by three points, Ballarat has two games in hand on Werribee, and a win will push the Bees down into the relegation spot.

There is no doubting the home side needs to win to arrest an alarming form slump, and should need no motivation to come out flying.

Ballarat won’t be making it easy either, and was sitting pretty at 2-0 up against Pascoe Vale before their clash was abandoned.

Oakleigh Cannons v Bentleigh Greens
2nd v 3rd
5:00pm, Sunday July 27, 2014
Jack Edwards Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #OCvBG #NPLVIC
Last round:
Oakleigh Cannons 1-2 Hume City
Dandenong Thunder 0-1 Bentleigh Greens

Form:
Oakleigh Cannons: WDWWL
Bentleigh Greens: WLDWW

Last time they met:
Oakleigh Cannons 3-2 Bentleigh Greens, VPL Round 16, 2013

Losing to Hume City last week was a huge setback to Oakleigh’s title hopes as it saw South Melbourne roar into a nine-point lead at the top of the ladder.

Goran Zoric scored a brace in the same fixture last season and the Cannons will be hoping he fires again this weekend.

Bentleigh is in the midst of a jam-packed fixture list with cup commitments as well as a friendly with Melbourne Victory played in mid-week, while fatigue may become a factor for those who played in that game.

This should be quite an entertaining game of football, with both sides keen to play an attacking brand of football.

Heidelberg United v Hume City
4th v 5th
5:00pm, Sunday July 27, 2014
Olympic Village
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #HUvHC #NPLVIC

Last round:
Heidelberg United 0-0 Port Melbourne Sharks
Oakleigh Cannons 1-2 Hume City

Form:
Heidelberg United: LDWDD
Hume City: LWWLW

Last time they met:
Hume City 3-1 Heidelberg United, VPL Round 16, 2012

Heidelberg will be disappointed to lose third spot on the ladder having held it since Round 8, and one win in its last five games is far from ideal form heading into this clash.

While it couldn’t find the back of the net against Port Melbourne last week, they still possess one of the most potent attacking duos in the league.

Hume City has been climbing their way up the ladder, and the signing of Abel Fesseha from Springvale White Eagles seems to have reinvigorated its attack in recent weeks.

Should he be in form again against Heidelberg, and be complemented well by Victory trialists Christopher Cristaldo and Anthony Proia, this game could end up in another goal fest.

NPL leading goalscorers:

14 – Daniel Heffernan (Heidelberg United), Milos Lujic (South Melbourne)

11 – Dean Piemonte (Oakleigh Cannons)

10 – Brent McGrath (Bentleigh Greens), Dusan Bosnjak (Oakleigh Cannons), Craig Carley (Goulburn Valley Suns)

9 – Kaine Sheppard (Heidelberg United), Goran Zoric (Oakleigh Cannons)

8 – Mathew Sanders (Green Gully), David Stirton (Bentleigh Greens), Jamie Reed (South Melbourne)

7 – Osagie Ederaro (Green Gully), Nate Foster (Oakleigh Cannons)

6 – Jason Hayne (Green Gully), Wade Dekker (Northcote City)

5 – Daniel O’Donnell (Ballarat Red Devils), Daniel Vasilevski (Heidelberg United), Daniel Visevic (Melbourne Knights), Trent Rixon (Northcote City), Jake Nakic (Pascoe Vale), Kevin Braniff (Port Melbourne), Luca Santilli (Pascoe Vale), Mathew Theodore (South Melbourne)

NPL 1 – Round 17

Moreland Zebras v Avondale Heights
9th v 1st
3:00pm, Saturday July 26, 2014
Clifton Park
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #MZvAH #NPLVIC

Brunswick City v Whittlesea Ranges
14th v 13th
3:00pm, Saturday July 26, 2014
Dunstan Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #BCvWR #NPLVIC

North Geelong Warriors v Kingston City
3rd v 8th
3:00pm, Saturday July 26, 2014
Elcho Park
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #NGWvKC #NPLVIC

Dandenong City v FC Bulleen Lions
10th v 4th
3:00pm, Saturday July 26, 2014
Frank Holohan Soccer Complex
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #DCvBL #NPLVIC

Springvale White Eagles v Box Hill United
12th v 2nd
3:00pm, Saturday July 26, 2014
White Eagles Stadium
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #SWEvBHU #NPLVIC

St Albans Saints v Sunshine George Cross
6th v 7th
3:00pm, Sunday July 27, 2014
Churchill Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #SASvSGC #NPLVIC

Richmond SC v FC Bendigo
5th v 11th
4:00pm, Sunday July 27, 2014
Kevin Bartlett Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #RSCvFCB #NPLVIC

NPL 1 leading goalscorers:

18 – Joseph Katebian (FC Bulleen Lions)

15 – Tom Cahill (Richmond)

11 – Kenjok Athiu (Box Hill United), Rinor Muriqi (Box Hill United)

10 – Oleksiy Khrapko (Avondale Heights), Max Etheridge (Kingston City), Nick Symeoy (Moreland Zebras)

9 – Gino Defeo (Kingston City), Juso Julardzija (North Geelong Warriors, St Albans Saints)

8 – Andrew Le Page (Avondale Heights)

7 – Dario Matkovic (Dandenong City), Hamlet Armenian (Richmond),Kliment Dimitrieski (Whittlesea Ranges), Reardo Luka (North Geelong Warriors), Mark Paleka (North Geelong Warriors), Vojislav Milojevic (Springvale White Eagles), Manuell Sadik (Sunshine George Cross)

6 – Matthew Breeze (FC Bendigo), Jamie De Smit (Springvale White Eagles), Barry Devlin (St Albans Saints), Goran Jozeljic (Dandenong City), Velibor Mitrovic (Kingston City), Jason Principato (Avondale Heights)

5 – Matthew Iuliano (Whittlesea Ranges), Sean McIlroy (St Albans Saints), Delfin Mosibe (Sunshine George Cross), George Slefendorfas (FC Bendigo), Stjepan Trbuhovic (Whittlesea Ranges)

Image credit: Mark Avelino




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