PS4 NPL Review Men's Round 15 / Women's Round 13
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PS4 NPL Victoria
By Brandon Galgano
Richmond 1 (Caniglia 37’) Bentleigh Greens 2 (Brindell-South 12’, Thurtell 22’)
Richmond went down fighting on Friday night against a plucky Bentleigh Greens side in a surprisingly one sided contest
Assistant coach Fausto De Amicis took charge of Richmond due to a family tragedy affecting Richmond coach Rick Mensink.
The Greens came into the contest playing for top spot on the table and they took an early lead through full back Josh Brindell-South who followed up from a good save by Gian Tapia to open the scoring before Matt Thurtell slotted a second.
Richmond then completely turned the contest around, dominating in possession and creating chances on goal with winger Alex Caniglia doing most of the damage out wide with his pace and trickery causing real problems at the back.
And it was Caniglia who struck home to get his side back in the contest with a well taken finish, making it 2-1 just before the break.
The second half was all Richmond who created a number of chances but despite having 18 shots on goal simply couldn't find a way through a resilient Bentleigh Greens outfit who were feeling the loss of midfielders Wayne Wallace and Troy Ruthvren.
Chris Lucas had the ball in the back of the net for the visitors with virtually their only attack on goal in the second half but it was correctly ruled out for offside as Richmond continued to push for an equaliser.
Bentleigh held on though with stand in skipper Jack Webster putting in an impressive performance with the final score 2-1 for the Bentleigh Greens.
Pascoe Vale 2 (Vant Schip 51’, Conversano 90’) Green Gully 3 (Christodoulou 33’, 67’, Davies 67’)
Pascoe Vale went down fighting against a sturdy Green Gully outfit, losing 3-2 on a chilly and wet Friday night in Melbourne.
The visitors took the lead through midfielder Evan Christodoulou midway through the first half before the home side leveled just after the break through Davey van't Schip.
Green Gully re took the lead just fifteen minutes later as Christodoulou struck again before new signing from Cairnlea Jay Davies capped off the perfect debut performance with a goal to give the visitors a two goal advantage.
Young striker Matt Conversano was able to get a goal off the bench for the home side in stoppage time but it wasn't enough to get them back into the contest with Gully running out 3-2 winners in a tight contest.
Oakleigh Cannons 3 (Hatzimouratis 2’, 90’, Piemonte 66’) FC Bulleen Lions 0
Oakleigh continued their surprise surge up the NPL Victoria table with a convincing 3-0 victory against Bulleen on Friday night.
The home side got off to the perfect start after just two minutes as attacking midfielder Dimitri Hatzimouratis struck home past Griffin McMaster to make it 1-0 Oakleigh.
That lead was doubled midway through the second half as Dean Piemonte found the back of the net to double their advantage in the 67th minute.
With Bulleen having struggled in recent months, the visitors were beginning to show gaps at the back with the home side finally adding a third in stoppage time through Hatzimouratis again to ensure another important victory with the Cannons moving to close the gap with the top three, sitting just a point behind Heidelberg United in fourth place on the table.
For the visitors though, the result means that Dom Barbers men sit just four points ahead of the relegation playoff place as we move into the second half of the NPL Victoria season.
South Melbourne 3 (Lujic 17’, 45’, 60’) Northcote City 1 (Kavourniaris 67’)
A Milos Lujic hat-trick guided South Melbourne to a 3-1 victory against last-placed Northcote City on Sunday afternoon.
With the visitors giving debuts to Anthony Taranto, Marcus Duncan, Sam Borbor and Steven Papadopoulous, Northcote put up a decent performance, despite going into the break two goals down.
Lujic struck his third on the hour mark as the game threatened to become a rout for the home side before Greek centre back Michalis Kavourniaris struck one back in the 67th minute to give the visitors a consolation goal with the final score 3-1 South Melbourne.
The result means that South will maintain their spot at the top of the NPL Victoria table, just a point ahead of Bentleigh with those two sides set to meet in a blockbuster final FFA Cup qualifier on the 14th of June at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.
Hume City FC 2 (Rexhepi 89' Carley 90+2') Avondale FC 1 (Sanders 87')
By Aaron Ciavarella
For 88 minutes of this encounter both sides were playing their cards very conservatively. That was until against the run of play, the visitors opened the scoring through an outstanding finish from Mathew Sanders. Almost immediately, this goal was cancelled out when Hume City equalised through a Shane Rexhepi header. Then at the death the new signing Craig Carley completed the comeback for the home side and they went on to win it 2-1.
Melbourne Knights 0 Heidelberg United 1 (Ellis pen 22')
On a heavy and wet Knights Stadium between two of the heavy weight clubs, we would be in for a hard game played at a fast pace. However this clash was a stalemate and all it took was a Shaun Ellis spot kick for the visitors to come away with the three points.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Brown 23') Port Melbourne Sharks 2 (Stirton 18' Riccobene 78')
On a day where an upset may have been on the cards, the hosts made the worst start possible when Jamie De Abreu cut inside and finished in the 18th minute of play. This lead was short when Jordan Brown equalised for the Victory five minutes late. In the 80th minute of play Jamie De Abreu not only secured his brace, but also the three points for Port.
PS4 NPL Victoria Women's
By Mark Gojszyk
Southern United 1 (Eliadis 24') Geelong Galaxy United 2 (Pickett 82' Ortiz 90')
In Mornington for the unofficial distance derby of the league, it was again Southern United looking like a rejuvenated outfit when it raced out of the blocks in the 24th minute, and again it were the usual suspects combining for the lead when Brittany Dudley-Smith crossed in for Tiffany Eliadis to finish.
The hosts held firm for the remainder of the half, but Galaxy in the second period looked to have a new lease on life and came storming home with the greater share of possession.
Yet with time running out, the scoreline remained 1-0 until a couple of masterstroke substitutions made the difference.
The equaliser came from Caitlin Pickett, who netted for the second time this season to level the scores.
With the contest approaching stoppage time and Galaxy pinning their opponents back with a corner kick, it was Olivia Ortiz who also popped up to find the winner, sending the visitors home with all three points in the bag.
Box Hill United 2 (Heijden [OG] 22', Eudes 25') Bayside United 3 (Brown 51' 70', James 87')
Bayside United overturned a two goal deficit to storm home as winners away to Box Hill United
They did get off to a less than ideal start, when Emily Heijden forced the ball over to get the hosts underway with an own goal.
The away side’s woes were compounded when Maggie Eudes then popped up from a corner to volley her team into a 2-0 lead after less than half an hour.
It was the Jamie Brown show in the second half, as two long-distance efforts drove the visitors back onto level terms, leaving Box Hill stunned.
And then it was the pocket rocket Bronte James with a spring in her step late in the game, beating Emily Shields in goal to secure the 2-3 win amidst jubilant scenes from Graham Dudley’s side.
With no midweek game now, Bayside’s fixture against the NTC previously scheduled for this week has been pushed back to July.
Alamein FC 5 (Gibney 9' 12', Runnalls 36', Ayres 53' 79') Heidelberg United 1 (Nicolaci)
Alamein had their front third all firing to secure a confidence boosting 5-1 win over Heidelberg, once against jumping ahead of the Bergers into that top-four spot in the process with their first victory since Round nine.
Annabelle Gibney was in barnstorming form early, lobbing Christine Fonua in goals in the eighth minute, before beating the keeper with a headed goal just moments later to hand her side all the momentum.
Matters got worse for Heidelberg when Demi Mihaloudis was forced off in the 28th minute due to a serious injury.
Emma Runnalls sealed a rampant first half for the hosts with a tap in for a 3-0 lead by the break.
The visitors had a glimmer of hope via a Julia Nicolaci goal direct from a corner.
But it mattered little as Melina Ayres equalled her teammate Gibney’s efforts by bagging a double of her own to seal the 5-1 result, a massive turnaround from when both sides played last time, with Heidelberg winning at home by a similar margin.
Bulleen Lions (Ellis 90+5) 1 Calder United 1 (Rampal 35')
At David Barro Stadium, for long periods of the game it felt like Calder were the hosts, with heavy pressure leading to unusually errant passages of play from Bulleen, who once again had their depth tested.
Calder did also have a few nervous moments early, but settled the better and fired the first warning shot Enza Barilla took a long shot that ricocheted off the crossbar.
Calder’s efforts paid off when it was two of game’s standouts – Koca and Stacey Papadopoulos – combining to create space on the right wing, allowing the former to whip in a cross that Rampal headed in at the back post.
Bulleen’s struggles up front were exemplified in the second half when substitute Keely Lockhart tried a bicycle kick from Dani Gudelj’s cross to no avail.
Farrugia prevented a second when Barilla’s perfectly weighted ball into the box found Alonso, who was denied at the near post.
The custodian could do nothing about Tyla-Jay Vlajnic’s sweetly struck free kick, but again the woodwork was rattled and the hosts escaped.
Calder’s bad luck with the woodwork at one end was compounded at the other end at 94.30 when Liv Ellis turned onto her right foot and delivered a long, curling shot that dipped into the far corner of the net and sent the hosts into raptures.
PS4 NPL 2 Cross-Over Round
By Jordan Lim
Dandenong Thunder 3 (Sarkies 41’, Barnes 51’, Bennett 83’) Melbourne City 1 (Cristaldo pen 23’)
In stark contract to the miserable, wet weather at George Andrews Reserve, a wonderful display of football between Dandenong Thunder and Melbourne City saw the hosts claim a 3-1 win, to preserve their 15 game winning streak.
City provided the Thunder what was arguably their biggest challenge of the year, with the visitors controlling large portions of the contest, and starting the better of the two teams.
Yusuf Ahmed looked particularly threatening on his return to his former stomping ground, and combined well with Luke Gallo to create a number of early openings that went begging.
The hosts had a great chance to open the scoring on 20 minutes, but the red-hot Brandon Barnes was unable to beat the keeper from a tight angle on the left, having been played through by a Veton Korcari chip.
Several minutes later and Melbourne City were going to the spot after Faisal Sakhizada clumsily bundled over Christopher Cristaldo, the City captain stepping up to convert the penalty he’d won.
Korcari should have had an equaliser on the half hour mark, but was unable to steer Barnes’ cutback into an unguarded net, pulling his shot into the covering defender to clear.
They found their eventual equaliser in stunning fashion through Kristian Sarkies, who dusted off the old ‘free-kick specialist’ tag to steer a 20-yard effort past the outstretched fingers of Yaren Sozer in goals for City.
They had the chance to go in front on the stroke of half time through captain Brendan Elmazovski, who was on the receiving end of a clever one-two with Barnes, only for Sozer to smother his shot from the angle.
It took only six minutes from the restart for them to find the goal to put them in front, as Daniel Bennett weaved through traffic before finding a ball in for Barnes to finish expertly first-time, taking his season tally to an astounding 27 goals.
Barnes’ confidence in front of goals was epitomised in the 74th minute as he attempted an audacious bicycle kick, volleying his eventual attempt into touch.
City were presented with a brilliant chance to equalise, but were denied multiple times in succession by some valiant defending to send the ball out for a corner.
Barnes drifted in from the right wing with the ball and powered an effort towards goal on his left boot, forcing Sozer to tip wide for a corner.
From the resulting set piece, Bennett’s shot from 20-yards forced the City keeper into another save, with Sakhizada bundling in the rebound, only to be adjudged offside.
City tested Maclaren once more through Gallo, who’s long range effort forced the Thunder custodian into a sharp save to his left.
The game was sealed just seven minutes from time, with arguably the pick of the goals, as Bennett dropped the shoulder before curling a finish from the edge of the box into the back of the net.
City had a number number of chances to get back into the contest through substitute Giuseppe Marafioti and Cristaldo, but the best remaining chance fell to Barnes, who finished with aplomb, only for the goal to not stand due to a foul on his opposition defender in the build up.
St Albans Saints 2 (Covarrubias 18’, Knight 55’) Dandenong City 4 (Freddi 17, Burgess 55’, Osmancevic 78’, Frame 90+3’)
It was a memorable night for the debutants at Churchill Reserve with no less than three players netting on their debut appearance for their new clubs as Dandenong City defeated St Albans Saints 4-2.
Gonzalo Freddi opened the scoring on 17 minutes, with Rodrigo Covarrubiusequalising on his Saints debut with a lob over City’s custodian.
City once again hit the lead through Luke Burgess, only for St Albans to hit back immediately through former Richmond SC winger Josh Knight.
This paved the way for debutant’s Amir Osmancevic and Ross Frame to decide the tie in City’s favour, scoring a goal a piece late to seal a memorable victory.
Werribee City 2 (Peters 45’, Marafioti 63’) Brunswick City 2 (Wright 18’ 90+2’)
Werribee City came just minutes away from preserving a three game winning streak, but succumbed to an injury-time equaliser to Brunswick City to complete a 2-2 draw.
Welshman Adam Wright nabbed his ninth goal of the season to earn a share of the spoils right at the death, having also put his side into a 1-0 lead after just 18 minutes.
Werribee fought back through debutant Damien Peters, before DomenicoMarafioti netted to put the Bees into the lead just beyond the hour mark.
Ultimately they weren’t able to hang on as Brunswick slipped behind Springvale White Eagles into seventh on the NPL2 East ladder, while Werribee continue their mid-season resurgence with a fourth game unbeaten.
Nunawading City FC 1 (Antequera 90+1) North Geelong Warriors 3 (Eze, Saglam, Cichello)
North Geelong Warriors did what was expected of them to move into first spot on the NPL2 West ladder, triumphing over Nunawading City 3-1.
The first half belonged to the visitors, who raced to a 2-0 lead courtesy of goals to American Kene Eze and winger Rudi Saglam
The second term was a different story, as the game saw chances fly at both ends, with Nunawading proving a good match for their much more fancied opponents.
Vito Cichello converted from close range to effectively seal the contest, although a late strike to Nuna’s David Antequera was just reward for their toils in the final 45 minutes.
The manner of the victory will matter little to a top of the pile Warriors, as they look to cement their position against Eastern Lions this weekend.
Ballarat Red Devils 1 (Karras) Kingston City 3 (Karpeh 7’ 90+2’, Zwed 60’)
Kingston City remain in touching distance of top spot in the NPL2 East after securing their fifth win in six starts with a 3-1 win over Ballarat Red Devils.
Competing at Morshead Park just a day after the Matildas’ win over New Zealand the day prior, it was this time the visitors who took the win as Kingston went two-goals in front, courtesy of Jerry Karpeh and Mouad Zwed.
Pat Karras pulled one back for Ballarat to make for an interesting final few moments, only for Karpeh to seal the contest late, securing his brace in injury time.
Kingston still sit four points off top spot, but are in pole position for a play-off position, while the Red Devils have drifted out to sixth spot after a winless four rounds.
Whittlesea Ranges 3 (Ofli 12' 18' 62') Goulburn Valley Suns 1 (Gaillard 42')
By Lou Verga
Whittlesea Ranges temporarily went one point clear at the top of the table with a 3-1 win over a ten-man Goulburn Valley Suns at Epping Stadium on Saturday.
The turning point came with just ten minutes played as prolific striker Atilla Ofli was brought down in the box as he tried to round Muntadmer Al Gazaly. The goalkeeper received a straight red card and Ofli calmly converted the penalty to give his side the advantage.
Eight minutes later it was 2-0 as Ofli was again played through with a long ball over the top, successfully rounding stand-in keeper Declan Mariano to roll it into an open net.
From there the Suns rallied and after some half-sights at goal involving returning striker Daniel Heffernan, managed to pull one back late in the half.
A cross directed at Heffernan wasn’t fully dealt with by Luke Gallo who came out to punch, leaving an unmarked Anthony Gaillard with a simple volley at the back post to make it 2-1.
Whittlesea continued to create chances in the second half with George Slefendorfas and new signing Teddy Yabio both denied by Mariano before Ofli completed his hat-trick on the hour mark.
In similar fashion to the first two goals, he jinked it past Mariano in the corner of the area, before showing composure to slot it beyond the covering defenders. The haul took Ofli past the 20-goal mark for the season with only 15 matches played.
Goulburn Valley didn’t give up and had a great chance to pull one back as Heffernan provided a powerful strike, but it was well saved by Gallo as the hosts held on for a comfortable win.
Sunshine George Cross 2 (Turer 26' Grossman 90') Eastern Lions 1 (own goal 80')
Sunshine George Cross picked up their second win of the season by defeating Eastern Lions 3-1 at Chaplin Reserve.
The Georgies took the lead when Ahmet Turer clinically finished off a well-worked team goal. The Lions equalised with ten minutes left in the second half but Sunshine would find a last-minute winner as Chris Grossman scored following a clever short corner to cue big celebrations with the home fans.
Murray United 0 Bendigo City FC 1 (McHeileh 53')
Bendigo City ensured that Sunshine’s win didn’t leave them bottom of the table, picking up a rare win of their own with a dramatic 1-0 triumph away to Murray United.
Bendigo went ahead early in the second half with an absolute peach of a strike from George McHeileh which flew into the top corner, before United were awarded a penalty in the eighth minute of stoppage time.
Zac Walker stepped up and directed the spot kick towards the bottom corner, but it was brilliantly saved by Rob Munday as Bendigo held on for three points.
Springvale White Eagles 3 (Milojevic 19' 32' Jovanovic 61') Moreland City FC 0
Springvale White Eagles picked up a convincing 3-0 win over Moreland City at White Eagles Stadium.
Debutant Vojislav Milojevic scored a brace and despite Moreland having chances of their own, the White Eagles picked up another win which firmly entrenches them in mid-table in NPL2 East.
Moreland Zebras kept pace at the top end of the NPL2 West table with a 2-0 win over Box Hill United at CB Smith Reserve.
Goals in the second and 25th minutes were enough as the Zebras find themselves one point off the automatic promotion spot, with only two points separating the top four.
Moreland Zebras 2 (McMonagle-Ihasz 2' Papadimitriou 24') Box Hill United 0
An early goal from Josh McMonagle-Ihasz put Moreland Zebras on course for victory against Box Hill United, with James Papadimitriou's goal by the 24-minute mark giving the Zebras a winning advantage.
The goal would be Papadimitriou's last in Zebras colours, signing for NPL team Northcote City during the week.