PS4 NPL Review Men's Round 19 / Women's Catch-Up Round
Players and coaches speak to the FFV Podcast presented by Sportsmart every week - Click Here to subscribe in iTunes. See media links to photo galleries, video and match reports via the NPL Victoria Facebook page.
PS4 NPL Victoria
By Brandon Galgano
South Melbourne 2 (Lujic pen 45' 78’) Hume City FC (Trajceski 33’, Markelis 80’)
The week's feature game came from Lakeside Stadium where South Melbourne hosted Hume City in the blockbuster clash of the round.
With South crashing out of the FFA Cup at the hands of Bentleigh two weeks ago, the league has become a major priority for the former NSL powerhouse with Chris Taylor’s men needing at least a draw to guarantee holding top spot on the table for another round.
With both sides starting off in a positive fashion, both Milos Lujic for the hosts and Craig Carley for the visitors were guilty of missing one on one opportunities with two of the leagues premier keepers in Chris Oldfield and Nikola Roganovic making crucial saves early.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 33rd minute though by young attacking midfielder Kristian Trajceski who found space inside the area before smashing home past Roganovic who despite getting a strong hand to the ball, could only parry into the top corner to make it 1-0 Hume.
And just as it seemed as though Hume were going into the break with a 1-0 lead South Melbourne equalised with typically fantastic timing, winning a penalty in first half stoppage time.
Lujic made no mistake from the spot, showing composure to send Oldfield the wrong way to make it 1-1 with virtually the last kick of the half.
It was the home side who took charge in the second period, creating chances and dominating in possession as Hume struggled to create meaningful opportunities as the match wore on.
The introduction of Spanish import Manuel Herrero saw a change of system with South employing two strikers instead of the usual 4-2-3-1 system which has seen so much success in recent times.
Herrero’s impact was critical in creating the second goal for South with the former La Liga striker twisting and turning before putting an inch perfect cross into Lujic who slotted home to make it 2-1.
Hume’s response was instant though with the visitors taking all of 30 seconds to level up the game once again with a fantastic cross somehow finding its way to an unmarked Theo Markelis who made no mistake at the back post to make it 2-2.
Tempers flared just minutes later as a late tackle on Marcus Schroen saw a coming together of all 22 players on the field with a number of players at risk of being sent off.
Interestingly enough it was only Tim Mala of South Melbourne who was shown his marching orders alongside Hume assistant Zoran Markovski with Chris Taylor also seeing himself sent to the stands just moments later as the match threatened to boil over.
South, despite being down to ten men, looked the most likely to snatch a late winner with Lujic sliding a one on one just inches wide in the first minute of stoppage time before a sensational 25 yard drive from Schroen smashed against the cross bar with just seconds to play.
In the end neither side could be separated though with the final score 2-2 at Lakeside Stadium.
Port Melbourne Sharks 0 Green Gully FC 1 (Boland 9’)
Green Gully SC continued their surge up the NPL Victoria table with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Port Melbourne SC on Friday night.
Coming into the match just a few days after the FFA Cup round of 32 draw saw Gully drawn at home against Hyundai A-League side the Central Coast Mariners, Gully were focused on securing another vital three points following a draw against Northcote City last weekend.
Liam Boland proved to be the match winner with his strike in the 9th minute enough to secure the result for Arthur Papas men.
Port Melbourne, who have now lost four in a row pushed for an equaliser but were unable to find a way past one of the most experienced back four’s in the league anchored by skipper Rodrigo Vargas who continues to impress despite being just a few months shy of his 38th birthday.
The result means that Green Gully go level with Hume City on 34 points in 5th place on the NPL Victoria table whilst for Port Melbourne the result means that they continue to slide down the table with the Sharks now sitting in 9th place on 21 points with finals football looking increasingly unlikely for a second year running.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Theoharous 57’) Bentleigh Greens 2 (Lucas 50’, Honos 82’)
The Bentleigh Greens recorded a vital three points as they seek to take top spot off South Melbourne despite being pushed all the way by an improved Melbourne Victory outfit on Saturday afternoon.
With the Victory handed a six point deduction following the fan violence at Lakeside Stadium a few months ago, many expected the young side to be easily dismantled by one of the premier sides in Victoria but neither could be separated in an even first half.
Chris Lucas did open the scoring though just five minutes after half time to give the visitors the lead with a well taken finish.
Victory responded just seven minutes later though through youngster Christian Theoharous who scored against his former club for his first of the season as the Victory looked to cause one of the upsets of the season.
Those hopes were dashed just eight minutes from time though as veteran midfielder Lambros Honos scored his first goal for the club to secure the win despite being pushed all the way by the bottom side in the league.
Bentleigh now move just one point behind South Melbourne in second spot on the table with the two sides set to clash for the fourth time this season on Friday night in what promises to be one of the matches of the season.
Melbourne Knights 2 (McGarry 37’, 83’) Richmond SC 0
By Jordan Kounelis
Melbourne Knights have temporarily dashed Richmond’s hopes of escaping the drop zone following their 2-0 win in a fiery clash at Knights Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
James McGarry scored at the end of each the first and second half to secure a brace and be the game winner for the Knights, keeping his team within touching distance of the finals; they still sit a win outside the top six and have built a six point gap on Pascoe Vale in eighth.
It was a vital win for Melbourne Knights in their hopes for a finals berth, especially considering four of their next five opponents are Hume City, Bentleigh Greens, Oakleigh Cannons and South Melbourne – all of whom occupy places in the top six.
Melbourne Knights are currently three points behind the Cannons, and a performance like this against an ever-plucky Richmond team will hold them in good-stead come the end of the season, even with their tough run of matches coming up.
The match saw two red cards flourished in a heated butting of heads at the end of the first half, with experienced campaigners Marijan Cvitkovic and Bryan Bran giving their marching orders on the 42nd minute.
Oakleigh Cannons 6 (Piemonte 15’, 33’, Bosnjak 50’, 54’, Hatzimouratis 65’, 90+2’) Avondale 0
Avondale have sunk to their fifth straight loss in the most devastating fashion, going down 6-0 to a rampant Oakleigh Cannons at Jack Edwards Reserve on Sunday.
The Cannons’ triple strike threat combination were the perpetrators of this demolition – Dean Piemonte, Dusan Bosnjak and Dimi Hatzimouratis each scoring a brace in perfect order to keep Oakleigh in the top six.
Piemonte secured his brace in the first half to see his time lead 2-0 at the break through two crackers; first a zinger of a shot from outside the box before he scored directly from the corner in the 33rd minute.
Bosnjak converted from two dead-ball situations within four minutes of each other, netting from a free kick then a penalty to put the game to bed.
But Hatzimouratis hadn’t had his fun yet, the striker bagging two goals in the final half hour of the match to help bridge the gap between Oakleigh’s goals for column to the other teams in the top six.
Heidelberg United 2 (Athiu 32’, Wilkes 55’) Northcote City 0
Heidelberg kept themselves on the heels of Bentleigh Greens and South Melbourne with another win at the Olympic Village, defeating Northcote City 2-0 on Sunday night.
An increasingly impressive Northcote made Heidelberg work for the full 90 minutes in this match, with Borbor Sam and Braedyn Crowley the main attacking outlets for GoranLozanovski’s men, while James Papadimitriou and Anthony Ramzy each contributed to throwing forays at a resilient Heidelberg back four.
It was Bergers striker Kenny Athiu which commenced the scoring when a swift end-to-end counter attack from their own defensive area, manufactured by Jack Petrie and John Lazaridis, ended with the 193cm-tall striker slotting it past Phil Petrovski to make it 1-0.
Former Northcote boy, Jordan Wilkes, scored against his former side in the 55th minute when he glanced a Sean Ellis corner in at the front post, and Heidelberg held on from there to keep a clean sheet and obtain all three points.
Northcote will have a good chance to get a win on the board next week when they take out an out-of-form Avondale, while Heidelberg will travel to Port Melbourne, who’ve lost their last four games on the trot.
FC Bulleen Lions 1 (Govas 15’) Pascoe Vale 1 (van’t Schip 41’)
Davey van’t Schip has continued his remarkable goal scoring form, bagging his sixth goal in five weeks to help Pascoe Vale take a point away from David Barro Stadium in a 1-1 draw with Bulleen Lions on Monday.
Coming off a three game winning streak, Pascoe Vale were brimming with confidence for the first time this season after an underwhelming year to date and expected nothing more than a win in this clash, but were apprehended by a Lions outfit desperate on avoiding relegation.
Van’t Schip netted just before the half-time break to cancel out Andreas Govas’ strike in the 15th minute when he pounced upon a Paco defensive error.
Both sides mounted opportunities for themselves in an attempt to find the winner at the start of the second half, but the match petered out in the final half hour as each team settled for a solitary point.
Alon Blumgart started for Bulleen in this match and will take on his former club, Green Gully, in next weekend’s Monday night football clash at the Veneto Club.
PS4 NPL Victoria Women's - Catch-Up Round
Geelong Galaxy United 7 (Burke OG 14', Al-Huneidi 47' 56' Richmond OG 67', Martin 77' Spiranovic 89' M. Taranto 90+2') Senior NTC 0
Lulu Al-Huneidi's first NPLW goals and Laura Spiranovic's return from an overseas trip helped Geelong Galaxy United power past Senior NTC in the only match of the weekend.
Al-Huneidi's quick-fire double in the second half broke NTC's resistance, with the third-placed team running up the goal difference in the dying stages.
Mel Taranto's curling long-range strike was the pick of the goals.
PS4 NPL Victoria NPL 2 East
By Damir Kulas
Brunswick City 2 (Wright 36', Le Page 70') Springvale White Eagles (Jovanovic 27')
Brunswick secured their first three points since Round 9 with a 2-1 win over Springvale at Clifton Park on Saturday afternoon and in the process ended a five-game drawing streak. However the visitors made the better start and were rewarded in the 27th minute when midfielder Milan Jovanovic struck his second goal since re-joining the club in late May.
The lead was not to last for long as City equalised less than 10 minutes later when Welshman Adam Wright netted goal number 11 of the season by beating two defenders to a bouncing ball and netting past White Eagles shot-stopper Lajos Oliveira.
Both sides had their chances but it was mid-season signing Andrew Le Page who netted mid-way through the second half following a come-back with the former Avondale attacker scoring in consecutive outings, to prompt relief on the home team bench for manager George Karakletsis.
Kingston City 1 (Karpeh 41') Eastern Lions 2 (Droutsas 61', Love OG 70')
The Eastern Lions grounded Kingston City’s promotion hopes with an upset 2-1 come-from-behind win over the hosts at The Grange on Saturday afternoon. Nick Tolios’ side took the lead four minutes from the half-time break in fortunate circumstances when a Jerry Karpeh ball into the box took a wicked spin of the surface to fool goalkeeper Chris van Corler in a scene more reminiscent from a Boxing Day test at the MCG rather than a football match.
However the Lions were undeterred by the setback and come out of the interval the stronger of the two teams, levelling proceedings on the hour when youngster Chris Droutsas netted an equaliser.
The former Bentleigh Greens midfielder, whose identical twin brother plays for Kingston, was in the thick of it once more as the Lions took the lead when his ball through caused a mix up in the opposition defence as goalkeeper Sermin Sadikovski’s clearance ricocheted into captain Ryan Love and into an open net.
City’s afternoon was compounded late on when Czech import Zdenek Koukal was giving his marching orders for a second booking.
Box Hill United 2 (Ludlow 19', Boahene pen 78') drew Murray United 2 (Lino 10', 80')
Box Hill’s barren run of late continued as they were held to a 2-2 draw by the struggling Murray United at Wembley Park on Saturday afternoon.
The hosts were without a win in five heading into the game and fell behind ten minutes in when striker Geoffrey Lino went on a solo run before placing the ball past Keegan Coulter for the opener.
The lead barely lasted ten minutes as a cross was not dealt with by Murray goalkeeper Dylan Nikolovski with the equaliser being credited to midfielder Caleb Ludlow.
Substitute Kobbie Boahene converted a penalty to give Box Hill the lead with just 12 minutes on the clock left only to be pegged back by Lino once more immediately from the restart as the regional outfit returned back to the border with their first point since Round 7.
Dandenong Thunder 1 (Bennett 21') Dandenong City (Faisal OG 76')
The second Dandenong Derby of the season proved to be a much more even contest than the first with the spoils shared after a pulsating 1-1 draw between the duo at George Andrews Reserve on Saturday night.
A large crowd was in attendance to witness one of the goals of the season from Thunder winger Daniel Bennett who opened the scoring mid-way through the first half when his unstoppable effort from range found the top right corner of the net.
City looked dangerous themselves as they went in search of an equaliser with Gonzalo Freddi dangerous throughout and former Thunder forward Amir Osmancevic shooting just wide. City finally were rewarded for their endless pressure with 14 minutes to go when a curling ball into the cross from the left by make-shift right-back Dario Matkovic went through into the back of the net despite almost being cleared away by Afghan international Faisal Sakhizada in the process.
Determined to extend their lead over Kingston at the top and maintain their 100% home record, Thunder went on the attack with Brandon Barnes hitting the post, Damir Salcin making two superb saves with the home side frustrated after a couple of penalty appeals were turned down by referee Shaun Evans with honours even at the end of the 90.
Goulburn Valley Suns 2 (Heffernan 42', 61') Nunawading City 0
The Goulburn Valley Suns rebounded from last week’s disappointing 5-3 loss to Moreland City following a dominant 2-0 triumph against Nunawading City on Sunday afternoon.
Like many of the weekend’s fixtures, the game was moved from the Suns home ground of McEwen Reserve to local AFL ground Rumbalara Oval.
The home side had the better of the early chances but were met with heavy resistance from City goalkeeper James Loterzo who made a number of important saves throughout the afternoon to keep Nunawading in the contest.
The deadlock was broken just before the break when former Heidelberg striker netting his third in as many games to send Nick Kalafatis’ side into the lead heading into the half-time break.
The second half was more of the same as the lead was doubled on the hour mark by the former Mariners forward Heffernan who sealed his brace but was to be denied a hat-trick by the inspired Loterzo in goal as the Suns moved into fourth place on the NPL 2 East standings as they travel to third placed Dandenong City next weekend.
PS4 NPL Victoria NPL 2 West
By Matthew Conversano
Moreland City FC 2 (Rixon 74’, Ukuno 87’) Ballarat Red Devils 3 (Trigger 14’, 48’, Francis 68’)
Ballarat keep their slim hopes for promotion alive as they held on despite a late scare from Moreland City to earn three points.
Key forward Michael Trigger opened the scoring in the fourteenth minute, and would add a second three minutes after the start of the second half with a deft touch and finish to put the visitors 2-0 up. Substitute Jake Francis would make it 3-0 just before the 70th minute.
Not to be deterred, veteran striker Trent Rixon pulled one back for the hosts with sixteen minutes of play remaining.
Five minutes from time, South-Sudanese striker Apai Ukuno added another for Moreland, this time in rather controversial circumstances, with Ballarat expecting the ball returned for them following a stoppage in play, only for Ukuno to score.
Devil’s manager James Robinson reflecting on the incident post game stated “(Moreland City’s second goal) says a lot about them, but the result said a lot about us.”
Melbourne City FC 2 (Wong 77’, Gallo 86’) Whittlesea Ranges FC 3 (Slefendorfas 53’, Mustedangic 61’, Yabio 90+3’)
Whittlesea remains top of NPL2 West following an entertaining contest with second place Melbourne City, which saw all five goals occur in the second half.
Following a rather uninspiring first half, Whittlesea would be the first to strike in the 53rd minute as George Slefendorfas was the recipient of an Andrew Milicevic cross to finish from close-range, with Adem Mustedanagic’s first goal for the season doubling the visitor’s advantage eight minutes later.
City would fight it’s way back into the contest thanks to two long range efforts, first from Austin Wong, then through Luke Gallo to draw level with four minutes of the regulation 90 remaining.
Some fitting late drama given the nature of the match ensued, with Tedros Yabio pouncing on a fumble from City custodian James Delianov to snatch three points in the third minute of stoppage time.
St Albans Saints SC 2 (Monek 1’, McGuffie 45’) Moreland Zebras FC 1 (McMonagle-Ihasz 57’)
Moreland Zebras extend their winless run to four games after falling to a third successive defeat, at the hands of St Albans at Churchill Reserve on Sunday afternoon.
The home side would state their intent right from the onset as a cross from Adrian Barresi found an unmarked Joey Monek at the back post who slammed home.
Captain Ryan McGuffie would double the host’s lead from the penalty spot just before half time, as Josh McMonagle-Ihasz’s second half strike would prove little more than consolation for the visitors.
The win propels St Albans into the promotion playoff spot one point clear of Melbourne City.
Sunshine George Cross SC 3 (Gonzalez 48’, Arredondo 68’, Kitade 80’) Bendigo City FC 2 (Younan27’, Mcheileh 67’)
The relatively inconsequential encounter between the league’s two lowest ranked sides provided a more enthralling contest than what would seem on paper, as Sunshine prevailed in a five-goal thriller.
The visitors would open the account for the afternoon through a David Younan strike that flew beyond a flailing Robert Santilli and into the net.
Sunshine’s tactical switch to a 3-5-2 at the half would pay dividends as Nicholas Gonzalez would be the first of three mid-season signings to see their names on the scoresheet for the afternoon, as he equalized three minutes after the restart.
City would have their noses in front again thanks to NPL2 player of the month candidate George McHeileh, only to be cancelled out one minute later by Gerogies’ Hernan Arredondo.
Former Pascoe Vale man Yusei Kitade would strike the fatal blow for the home side in the 80th minute, finding the net to secure the three points.
Werribee City FC 1 (Voulgaris 87’) North Geelong Warriors FC 1 (Eze 44')
North Geelong will be ruing it’s missed opportunity to gain some ground in the promotion chase as they were held to a 1-1 draw at Galvin Park.
The visitors would strike the first blow via a strike from American forward Kene Eze, only to be cancelled out by a late strike from Werribee frontman Jonathan Voulgaris to steal a point for the languishing home side.
The point sees North Geelong four points adrift of the promotion playoff spot.