Mbarga strike the difference for Northcote
By Daniel Campos
A sole strike by Calvin Mbarga was enough for Northcote in its 1-0 win over Heidelberg United on a rather chilly Wednesday evening at Olympic Village.
Heidelberg showed confidence from the start coming off a big win against rivals South Melbourne on the weekend, but it was the visitors who brought Griffin McMaster into play, as he denied Mbarga by coming off his line very quickly.
George Katsakis' men piled on the pressure to shrug off Northcote's early intentions, commanding most of the play heading deep into the first half.
The hosts saw more of possession, but couldn't find a way thtough, and Reuben Way had a shot on the 18 yard box that was deflected for a corner.
Northcote had a good chance when Marinos Gasparis shot, but there was no finisher to connect and pounce onto the remnants.
Nine minutes into the second half, Northcote broke into its best opportunity from a counter attack coming from a defensive corner, with James Kalifatidis even having time to look up before pulling a shot wide of McMaster's goal.
Fluctuating from both end of goals, neither side could settle in, with a lack of goal-mouth action and the midfield battle dictating much of the game's final result.
Just on the hour mark Mbarga powered in a shot for Northcote which troubled McMaster, who did well to parry away for a corner.
McMaster was again in the action with a crucial punch as substitute Anthony Ramzy came in at the far post from a cross.
Proceedings took a turn with ten minutes to go as Mbarga got on the end of a cross with a clinical finish to open the scoring for the visitors.
Minutes later McMaster came out desperately from a wayward back pass to close down and it resulted in defender Luke Byles clearing the ball off the line.
Northcote City boss Lozanovski was soon looking furious with evident gaps in midfield in the dying minutes that could have cost them dearly.
The instructions were to both keep pressing and keep tight in defence and it paid off with the visitors clinching their fists in the air as they hung on to a tight one-goal win and three valuable points at Olympic Village.
Northcote City 1 (Mbarga 80') defeated Heidelberg United 0 at Olympic Village.
Heidelberg: 23. Griffin MCMASTER, 2. James CUMMING, 13. Luke BYLES, 17. Steven PACE, 20. Nejc KOLMAN, 10. Jack PETRIE (5. Daniel VASILEVSKI 70'), 9. Kostas KANAKARIS (3. Leslie DOUMBALIS 61'), 7. Reuben WAY (24. Andrew CARTANOS 71'), 22. Kaine SHEPPARD, 14. Daniel HEFFERNAN, 12. Ken ATHIU
Unused substitutes: 1. Jason KOUTSODONTIS, 4. John LAZARIDIS
Yellow Cards: PETRIE 29', WAY 79', DOUMBALIS 88'
Red Cards: Nil.
Northcote City: 22. Chris THEODORIDIS, 4. Jacob ELIOPOULOS, 5. Gregory LOMBARDO, 6. Aaron WARD, 7. Bonel OBRADOVIC, 8. James KALIFATIDIS (17. Aron HANDAKAS 77’), 9. Calvin MBARGA (20. Nicholas KOKOLAKIS 90+1'), 10. Marinos GASPARIS (14. Anthony RAMZY 61’), 11. Evan KOUNAVELIS , 12. Jordan WILKES, 19. Ryan GO
Unused Substitutes: 25. Gianluca FANTACCI, 18. Nikola MARKOVSKI
Yellow Cards: GO 63'
Red Cards: Nil.