Heidelberg goes top with win over Werribee
By Jordan Lim (@JordanLim24)
A surprisingly even contest at Olympic Village has seen Heidelberg United run out 1-0 winners over Werribee City to return to the summit of the PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria table.
A lone strike from Dan Heffernan was enough for the Bergers to claim victory, although they had their defence to thank for the result as they stood firm to deny the swarming Bees an equaliser.
Heidelberg was the dominant force of the first half, controlling play with measured passing and plenty of width.
Through Reuben Way they created the first opening, as the winger cut in and stuck towards the near post from an acute angle, forcing a save from Frano Saric in Werribee’s goals.
They continued to attack from all angles; Jack Petrie in particular found his passing range early with a couple of measured balls from distance.
He was involved in the build up of the games only goal, as the ball worked its way wide towards the influential Kosta Kanakaris, and his squaring ball found the run of Heffernan.
With equal parts poise and strength, the star forward waltzed through the Werribee box before carefully placing his shot into the bottom corner.
For all of Heidelberg’s possession, it was a rare moment of incisiveness in the first half, as they failed to create themselves many clear-cut chances.
The second half saw Werribee crank up the tempo and the home defence was suddenly put under a prolonged spell of pressure.
A number of crosses – well into the double digits – made their way into the Heidelberg box in a 20 minutes spell after the break.
But time after time, the Werribee wingers were halted by the dominant defensive trio of Jamie Cumming, Steven Pace and captain Luke Byles.
The visitors came desperately close with a scramble in the box just after the hour mark, which ended in an injury to Angus Martin who attempted a bicycle kick inside the area.
Fellow defenders Bobby Vidanoski and Simon Colosimo also fashioned decent chances to equalise for Werribee, but they couldn’t find a striker’s touch.
Having weathered the storm, the Bergers tried their hand at extending their league, Heffernan saw a decent drive blocked by Colosimo in the 77th minute.
Kaine Sheppard nearly profited from a spill from Saric but was unable to finish, as the keeper fumbled a corner into the path of the striker.
The keeper made up for the error with a good save off the boot of Sheppard, palming his powerful left-foot effort away to safety.
It mattered little in the end as City failed to find an equaliser for their endeavours, while Heidelberg was rewarded for its robust defensive performance with top spot on the league ladder.
Heidelberg United 1 (Heffernan 20’) defeated Werribee City 0 at Olympic Village [HT: 1-0]
Heidelberg United: 1. Griffin McMASTER, 2. Jamie CUMMING, 13. Luke BYLES (C), 17. Steven PACE, 10. Jack PETRIE, 20. Nejc COLMAN (3. Les DOUMBALIS 80’), 9. Kosta KANAKARIS, 21. Andreas GOVAS (24. Andrew CARTANOS 76’), 7. Reuben WAY, 21. Kaine SHEPPARD (12. Kenny ATHIU 90’), 14. Dan HEFFERNAN
Unused Substitute(s): 1. Jason KOUTSODONTIS, 6. Mitchell WALSH
Yellow Card(s): Kanakaris 82’
Red Card(s): Nil
Werribee City: 1. Frano SARIC (GK), 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 11. Bobby VIDANOSKI, 23. Steven CUDRIG (9. Evan BATSIS 75’), 16. Angus MARTIN, 5. Dean TOMESKI (25. David THOMSON 53’), 13. Milan SAVIC, 3. Ryan FILIPOVIC, 7. Simon ZAPPIA, 17. Deng AGUEK, 6. Anthony RAGUSA (22. Connor KASS 80’)
Unused Substitute(s): 2. Michael SIM, 8. Kobbie BOAHENE
Yellow Card(s): Nil
Red Card(s): Nil