PS4 NPL Review Men's Round 11 / Women's Round 9
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PS4 NPL Victoria
By Lou Verga
Melbourne Knights 2 (Colosimo 3’, McGarry 21’) South Melbourne 5 (Lujic 8’, 43’, Millar 12’, 80’, Adams 79’)
South Melbourne earned derby bragging rights and continued its winning streak with what was in the end a comfortable 5-2 defeat of Melbourne Knights at Somers Street on Friday night.
It certainly wasn’t easy going for Chris Taylor’s men the whole way through, as the Knights took the lead with just two minutes on the clock when Jacob Colosimo got on the end of a beautiful left-foot cross from Stipo Andrijasevic to head in at the back post on his 100th appearance for the club.
But South hit back quickly with Milos Lujic providing a trademark header of his own five minutes later to make it 13 goals in all competitions this year.
The visitors turned the game on its head in the 12th minute when Marcus Schroen’s strike fizzed into the base of the upright and Matt Millar was perfectly positioned to tuck in the rebound.
In an open first half Andrew Marth’s men hit back with 20 minutes played, Andrijasevic again the provider with another sumptuous cross. James McGarry had more work to do with his header but stooped and glanced it right into the bottom corner across Nikola Roganovic.
South got back on top in the latter part of the first half, with Knights keeper Michael O’Farrell making two strong saves, the most impressive to deny Nick Epifano one-on-one. But they were rewarded two minutes before the break as Brad Norton’s low ball between goalkeeper and defence was met by an unmarked Lujic who tapped in his second.
The home side’s task became all the more difficult when debutant Damien Miskulin was sent off for a last-man challenge on Epifano in the 60th minute despite fans insisting the attack was offside in the build-up.
A Luke Adams header and Millar’s second rounded out a win which saw South retain their lead at the top of the table.
Port Melbourne 7 (Mulcahy 7’, 63’, 90’, Honos 19’, Goodwin 54’, Koutroulis 80’, De Abreu 89’) Richmond 0
It was a night to forget for Richmond SC who were coming off a costly defeat to bottom-placed Northcote City a week prior.
Port Melbourne were 2-0 ahead at half time thanks to an Alan Mulcahy free kick and a Lambros Honos lob. Hopes of a Richmond comeback were damaged early in the second half when Jordan Seeto received a straight red card for kicking a ball in frustration.
Apart from Stjepan Gal making a couple of saves for Port, it was one-way traffic from there as Mulcahy completed his hat-trick and three more Sharks players got on the scoresheet to put their side back in the top six.
Pascoe Vale 1 (Vakirtzis OG 50’) Melbourne Victory 3 (Maclean 82’, Katebian 87’, 90’)
Both sides entered this one at CB Smith Reserve in poor form and needing a win, languishing just above the drop zone.
After a quiet first half ended scoreless, Paco took the lead via an unlucky Jonathan Vakirtzis deflection on Victory’s behalf.
The youth side continued to boss the ball but it took a special strike from John Maclean to equalise eight minutes from time. Maclean was then instrumental in the go-ahead goal, winning a penalty for Joey Katebian to convert in the 87th minute before Katebian added a third to give Victory a much-needed boost and leave Paco in a rut.
Northcote City 0 Hume City 5 (Clark 50’, 90+1’, Harris 66’, 73’ Markelis 71’)
Having secured four points in the two matches since Goran Lozanovski’s return as coach, Northcote took it to Hume in the first half. Swapping blue for pink in support of Breast Cancer fundraising, the home side were inches from going ahead after five minutes with Todd Dekker’s shot flying just wide.
Having been frustrated in their first half attacks, Hume broke the deadlock five minutes into the second period with Daniel Clark turning in an impressive volley to notch his fourth goal in as many matches.
A deflected Kym Harris strike saw Lou Acevski’s side go 2-0 ahead and from there the floodgates opened with Northcote capitulating at the back, unable to contain the likes of Clark, Theo Markelis and company as Hume picked up an emphatic win.
Green Gully 5 (Taseski 30' Boland 38' Christdoulou 40' Krousoratis 60' Ragusa 88') Oakleigh Cannons 0
It was one-way traffic from the half-hour mark as Green Gully broke Oakleigh's resistance in emphatic style at Green Gully Reserve.
Oakleigh had an early double-chance foiled by two good saves from Gully goalkeeper Rani Dowisha.
However with a powerful wind at their backs, Gully broke the game open with three goals in 30 minutes. Liam Boland's curling free-kick the pick of the first-half strikes.
Nick Krousoratis and Anthony Ragusa added second goals to give Gully a handy boost to the goal-difference and fourth place on the table.
Heidelberg United 1 (Noon 88') Bentleigh Greens (Wallace 66')
Harry Noon's late equaliser salvaged a point for the home side after Wayne Wallace's header had put Bentleigh into the lead.
The match started with end-to-end action for the first 10 minutes with both sides, with Sean Ellis hitting the post and Chris Lucas forcing a sharp save from Chris Theodoridis.
But the chances had dried up by the 66th minute when Wallace finally broke the stalemate, heading in Ryan Paczkowski's corner.
Kosta Kanakaris skied a golden opportunity for an equaliser, but Noon would save his blushes. Goalkeeper Ryan Scott fumbled a corner which fell kindly for Noon, who volleyed through a pack of players to score.
FC Bulleen Lions 0 Avondale FC 0
A point proved valuable for both sides as a stalemate ensued on Monday night.
Both teams improved to 11 points in ninth and 10th respectively, now two ahead of Pascoe Vale in the relegation play-off position and five clear of Richmond SC in the relegation zone.
Avondale's best chances fell to Jeff Fleming and Abraham Yango.
PS4 NPL Victoria Women's
By Jordan Lim
Calder United 2 (Barilla 17' 43') Heidelberg United 3 (Gray 52' 55' 62')
An exciting clash at Keilor Park Recreational Reserve saw a Leigh Gray led Heidelberg United come from two goals behind to steal victory against Calder United.
The hosts took a two-goal lead into the half-time break, courtesy of an Enza Barilla double.
The midfielder latched onto a Stacey Papadopoulos cross to the near post, controlling and touching past Christine Fonua in goals before sliding into an unguarded net for the first.
Her second came on the stroke of half-time, courtesy of an unselfish cut back from Rachel Alonso, who took the ball around Fonua, finding Barilla to tap home from two-yards out.
Heidelberg hit back with a vengeance in the second half, as the in-form Gray orchestrated a spirited comeback, bursting clear of the defence and finishing low to halve the deficit on 52 minutes.
The American forward then split the two Calder centre-halves on her way through the middle of the park, before putting an emphatic finish past Bethany Mason-Jones in goals.
Gray and her Bergers teammates completed the comeback soon after, as she poked home from a ball down the line to make it 3-2, and complete a 10 minute hat-trick, her third of the season.
Christine Fonua was in excellent touch for the visiting side, as she made a number of important saves in the second half to ensure Heidelberg left with the three points.
Box Hill United 0 defeated by Alamein FC 3 (Ayres 2' 51' 87')
A sublime hat-trick to youngster Melina Ayres set up Alamein FC for a 3-0 victory over hosts Box Hill United on Saturday afternoon, in a match that was much closer than the scoreline suggested.
With the visitors promising two surprise signings in the build up to the clash, the crowd were treated to a pleasant surprise as Matildas forward Larissa Crummer lined up at centre forward, while former Box Hill winger Cristina Cardaci was also revealed as an Alamein player, making her entrance in the second half.
Crummer was straight into the action, putting a cross on a plate for Ayres, who grabbed her first of the afternoon with just two minutes on the clock, doing just enough to steer the ball in off the left post past the outstretched fingers of Emily Shields in goal.
Elaina Vatcky nearly dragged her side back into the contest, narrowly missing the far post with an angled cross from the left wing.
Harriet Cordner was then forced into action to deny Charlotte McGilp from the edge of the area, sliding in at the last second to steal possession from the Box Hill player.
Annabelle Gibney was presented with a rare opportunity on 37 minutes, but placed her shot into the side netting following Emma Runnalls’ glancing header forward.
The second half saw the game open up slightly, with substitute Maria Patrikis’ cross finding Gibney who won a corner from her shot.
From the resulting set-piece, Ayres grabbed her second with a fantastic strike, connecting sweetly as the ball was laid off to her from just outside the box.
Cordner came close to putting the game to bed soon after, but headed over the bar from a Cardaci corner, before a Box Hill’s best passage of football ended in a tame effort towards goal.
A trick set-piece nearly undid Alamein on the hour mark, but an intricate series of passes was let down by the final ball.
Alamein were stretched on 79 minutes as Ellen Wines found herself with a paddock of space around her, but the substitute was unable to beat Melissa Maizels, who made herself big to stop the shot.
The game was eventually put to bed with another brilliant Ayres effort, as the teenager flicked the ball over her marker, before chipping the ball over Shields in the one move.
Alamein FC coach Sinisa Cohadzic was thankful for the impact that Ayres had on the tie, admitting that it was those moments of individual brilliance that got them over the line.
“We won the game on individual brilliance at the end of the day. It wasn’t something we could say that we dominated and played well,” Cohadzic said.
“I can only put it down to Larissa [Crummer] setting up the first goal, and then Melina [Ayres], her individual effort was what won us the game in the end.”
Galaxy United 1 (White 65') defeated Bayside United 0
Galaxy United have gained ground on the NPLW top two, defeating Bayside United 1-0 to close to within four points of top spot.
The two sides headed into the sheds at 0-0, before Galaxy eventually broke the deadlock in a tight affair.
It was Kariah White’s goal separated the two sides, as she pounced on a loose back pass, latching on to nutmeg the keeper before slotting home into an empty net.
The hosts held on for an important victory, and will be hoping to gain more ground next week in a top-of-the-table clash against Calder United.
Bulleen Lions 1 (Goad 65') drew with Southern United 1 (Lines 16')
Southern United continue their good patch of form, collecting their second straight draw, this time coming against the high-flying Bulleen Lions in a 1-1 result at the Veneto Club.
Saphri Lines got things off to a brilliant start, somewhat fortuitously finding the back of the net after 16 minutes, after Lauren Farrugia mishandled a floated ball from deep in midfield, which ended up sneaking into the net.
Freya Crocker then put her name into save of the season contention with an almost gravity defying stop to deny Lia Privitelli from 20 yards out.
The keeper was soon beaten however as Beattie Goad hit back with a low effort from Jamie Pollock’s flick on.
Southern United’s number one was proving the difference in the tie, as she stepped up to deny Taryne Boudreau from point blank range.
Earlier, Boudreau had missed two decent opportunities, dragging right footed efforts wide, then high respectively.
In the end, it was a second game avoiding defeat for the bottom placed Southern, as Bulleen dropped points for the first time since a 2-2 draw with Calder United mid-April.
PS4 NPL 2 Cross-Over Round 11
Sunshine George Cross 0 Box Hill United 4 (Okada 23’, Schroen 55’, 84’, Simos 77’)
By Matthew Conversano
Sunshine George Cross remained rooted to the foot of the NPL2 West ladder as they were dismantled 4-0 at Chaplin Reserve on Saturday afternoon by a Box Hill outfit looking to cement their promotion contender status.
A brace from Alex Schroen, along with volleys from Kazuki Okada and Thomas Simos saw the visitors ensure a valuable 3 points.
Considering George Cross’ fielding of a side with an average age of 18.9, it performed admirably in the opening stages of the match, posing a serious attacking threat as well as nullifing that of their opposition.
Its hard work seemed to have paid off after 23 minutes after a mazing run from Samuel McAll was capped off with a fizzing ball across the face of goal that was deflected just wide of the goal frame off a Box Hill defender.
Depsite their dominance, Sunshine would live to regret its failure to turn territorial dominance into scoreboard pressure, as Okada took the ball on his chest, and with a swivel and textbook left volley, put the visitors ahead in the 25th minute.
Not to be deterred, George Cross earned themselves a chance to equalize just five minutes after conceding, as 17 year old Nathan Liberto found himself with space and time in the box, only for his hesitation to be punished by the quick reactions of the Box Hill defensive line.
A defiant Sunshine side looked to be depleted following after a pin point corner from Okada found the head of Schroen who fired past custodian Senad Ahmetovic putting the visitors two up on 55 minutes.
A volley from Simos following a deflection off the wall from a free kick, and a Schroen tap in following an Ahmetovic parry in the 77th and 84th minute respectively capped off a strong all round performance from the PS4 NPL 2 East club.
North Geelong Warriors 1 (Jurcic 92’) Brunswick City 0
Arguably the most important fixture of the PS4 NPL 2 cross-conference round; A tense affair at Elcho Park on Saturday afternoon saw North Geelong Warriors host Brunswick City, who prior to the fixture sat second and third respectively in their conferences.
With chances falling at a premium for both sides throughout the match, it would take all of 92 minutes for the deadlock to be broken, as Brunswick ‘keeper Wes Coles could do no more than parry a long throw from Warriors’ captain Matthew Townley into the path of Nicholas Jurcic who found himself in plenty of space at the back post to slot home the winner for the hosts.
The result sees North Geelong go top of PS4 NPL 2 West while Brunswick drop down to 4th in their conference
Murray United2 (Walker 1’, Woldemichael 7’) Melbourne City FC 7 (Yusuf 20' 50' Gallo 40' Petrovski 75' Marafioti 84' Petreski 90+1' Cristaldo 90+2')
Melbourne City clocked up its second successive seven-goal haul on Saturday afternoon as they capitalized on a second half capitulation from Murray United.
A scintillating start from the hosts saw them grab a goal after just 36 seconds of play as Murray’s top scorer Zac Walker slotted the ball beyond City custodian Yaren Sozer and into the net.
The hosts would double its lead six minutes later, this time via Melkie Woldemichael got on the end of a low corner and fired home.
Depsite an impressive opening City would pull two goals back before half time, the first coming off the head of Ahmed Yusuf at the back post, followed by a Phil Petreski free kick finding the back of the net in the 40th.
It was during the second half that City flexed their muscles as they piled on 5 goals leaving Murray to ponder what could have been as they find themselves second from bottom in PS4 NPL 2 East.
Nunwading City FC 0 Moreland City FC 5 (Rixon 45’ 66’, Ukuno 49’, 57’, Brian 84’)
A tense start at Campbell Reserve was brought to life by Moreland City striker Trent Rixon on 45 minutes, latching on to a perfect ball from wide-man Lisandro Paz to open the scoring.
Rixon then turned creator 4 minutes after the start of the second half as his well-weighted through ball rolled into the path of striker Apai Ukuno who slotted the ball home to double the Moreland’s advantage.
The Rixon-Ukuno partnership proved lethal yet again in the 57th minute as Ukuno grabbed his second goal off another Rixon assist.
Another goal from Rixon, coupled with a Liam Brian strike completed the rout.
Dandenong Thunder 4 (Colosimo 45+4, Geils 55, Barnes 63, 73) Moreland Zebras 1 (Yousif 44')
By Damir Kulas
A second half onslaught from the Dandenong Thunder has propelled the PS4 NPL 2 East league leaders to a 4-1 win over the Moreland Zebras.
Goals to Simon Colosimo, Chris Gelis and a brace from the red hot Brandon Barnes cancelled out Baggio Yousif's opener.
The home side headed into the clash on the back of ten straight victories to start the season while the visitors were reeling following a shock home loss to Springvale which had seen them lose grip on top spot in the West.
Despite this, the Zebras began the game on the front foot and had the better of the opening 20 minutes of the contest.
But it was the in-form who mustered opportunities on goal with Kristian Sarkies and Barnes going close from distance.
The Englishman then came even closer when his lob clipped the top of the crossbar and went over.
However it was Moreland who opened the scoring against the run of play when Yousif pounced on a short back pass from Brendan Elmazovski before going around Fraser Maclaren to slot the ball into the back of the net.
The lead did last long as minutes later in first half stoppage time, the Thunder were back on level terms through Colosimo's header from a Sarkies corner.
There was time for one more scare for the hosts as Nejc Kolman's fierce shot rattled the crossbar with a Maclaren getting just enough on it to prevent it from going in.
Huss Skenderovic's men came out from the half-time break as the stronger side with a number of early chances threatening Nikola Kostadinovski's goal.
But an inspired substitution was needed from the Thunder to take the lead when Chris Geils hit the back of the net with his first touch.
From there onwards it became Barnes show as he finished well following some good lead up work from Amir Osmancevic.
The former Waitakere United wide forward then let rip from just outside the box with the powerful effort beating Kostadinoski and going into the top right hand corner.
A hat-trick was to evade Barnes a his sublime solo run saw him lift the ball above the Zebras goalkeeper only for it to roll just wide off the post.
Whittlesea Ranges 1 (Brown 64') Dandenong City 4 (Antoniadis 30', Jerez 45' Freddi 49', Matkovic 77')
Dandenong City signalled their intentions to climb the PS4 NPL 2 East table with a 4-1 win away at Whittlesea Ranges.
Goals to Chris Antoniadis and Andy Jerez had Dandenong City in control of the match before Gonzalo Freddi opened a 3-0 lead early in the second half.
Jordan Brown's goal couldn't inspire a Whittlesea comeback, with Dario Matkovic's free kick restoring Dandenong City's three-goal buffer.
Springvale White Eagles 2 (Erakovic 59' Stoilovic 80') St Albans Saints 0
An arm-wrestle first half was followed by a stalemate until the hour mark when Dejan Erakovic scored with a well-placed back-heeled flick.
Damir Stoilovic had the best chance to double the advantage mid-way through the half but shinned the chance. In the 80th minute Stoilovic would make no mistake though, finishing on a tight angle to seal the points.
St Albans toiled but were ultimately unable to sustain attacking pressure on the Springvale White Eagles goal.
Bendigo City FC 1 (Beever 84') Kingston City 6 (Mitrovic 19' 22' 63' Karpeh 27' 90+1' McNamee 32')
Kingston City enjoyed a boost to the goal difference with a one-sided win away at Bendigo City FC.
Velibor Mitrovic scored twice in three minutes to break the game open, with Jerry Karpeh's third effectively sealing the points by the half hour.
Mitrovic would complete his hat-trick in the second half and Karpeh a double, while Rowan McNamee also bagged a goal.
Ballarat Red Devils 2 (Murphy 40' Trigger 71') Eastern Lions 1 (Burfoot 72')
Ballarat's revival continued as the Red Devils moved into a share for second place on points, albeit still fourth on goal difference.
Simon Murphy got the scoring started and Michael Trigger doubled the advantage.
Eastern Lions pegged a goal back almost instantly through Sam Burfoot but couldn't find an equaliser.