Bentleigh hold top with late winner
BY LOU VERGA
A late Troy Ruthven header gave Bentleigh Greens all three points against Northcote City in PS4 NPL Victoria at John Cain Memorial Park on Saturday.
The win keeps Bentleigh (played 25, 55 points, +23 goal difference) top of the table and ahead of South Melbourne (P24, 52 PTS, +30) albeit with the latter getting the chance to go top when it plays its catch-up game on Wednesday night.
Saturday's match was an open affair that yielded chances for both sides, but the late goal for John Anastasiadis’ side increased their lead at the top of thetable.
Ryan De Vries brought about the first scoring opportunity after five minutes, shaping to shoot then changing direction onto his left foot before sliding it centimetres wide of the far post.
Aaron Ward came close in the 13th minute following apatient build-up from the home side, whacking a 25-yard missile that flew just wide of the top corner.
Tysoln Holmes looked like putting Bentleigh ahead ten minutes later but he couldn’t direct his header on target from eight yards out.
Jacob Eliopoulos came to Northcote’s rescue in the 37th minute, clearing Wayne Wallace’s effort off the line after Chris Theodoridis had failed to get a decisive grasp on the ball.
The Northcote custodian sprung into life five minutes later, pulling off two fine reflex saves to deny first De Vries and then Daniel Visevic as the sides went in level at half time.
The second half was again closely contested but without either keeper needing to work too much as the defences were on top.
The home side thought they had won it in the 87th minute when Calvin Mbarga tapped in the rebound after Alistair Bray had saved a James Kalifatidis strike, but the forward was controversially judged to be in an offside position.
The pain was compounded for Northcote seconds later Bentleigh went forward and took the lead with Ruthven getting on the end of a set piece and heading it into the bottom corner.
Goran Lozanovski’s men still went forward in search of an equaliser and almost found it in stoppage time, but Kalifatidis’ chip over Bray was headed off the line by a defender as Bentleigh took all three points.
Northcote City 0 defeated by Bentleigh Greens 1 (Ruthven 88’) at John Cain Memorial Park
Northcote City: 22. Chris THEODORIDIS, 4. Jacob ELIOPOULOS, 12. Jordan WILKES, 7. Bonel OBRADOVIC, 5. Gregory LOMBARDO, 19. Ryan GO, 14. Anthony RAMZY (11. Evan KOUNAVELIS 67’), 10. Marino GASPARIS (23. Jonathan BOUNAS 71’), 6. Aaron WARD (18. Nikola MARKOVSKI 83’), 9. Calvin MBARGA, 8. James KALIFATIDIS
Unused substitutes: 30. Jordan GIFKINS, 16. Andrew PARASKEVAS
Yellow card(s): None
Red card(s): None
Bentleigh Greens: 21. Alistair BRAY, 4. Troy RUTHVEN, 5. Jack WEBSTER , 6. Liam McCORMICK, 8. Wayne WALLACE, 9. Chris LUCAS, 10. Tyson HOLMES (7. Jamie DE ABREU 70’), 19. Daniel VISEVIC, 23. Ryan DE VRIES, 24. Luke PILKINGTON, 36. Steven TOPALOVIC
Unused substitutes: 1. Ryan SCOTT, 11. Dion KIRK, 17. Luke LOVE, 22. Austin WONG
Yellow card(s): Topalovic 57’
Red card(s): None