PS4 NPL Review Men's Round 21 / Women's Round 18
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PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria
By Mark Gojszyk
Pascoe Vale 2 (Santili 16’, Lazarides 18’) Hume City 1 (Harris 78’)
Pascoe Vale emerged a dark horse top six contender after denting Hume City’s run to the finals with a 2-1 win at CB Smith Reserve.
Luca Santilli scored in just the 16th minute when he pounced on Chris Oldfield’s save off Matthew Lazarides’ shot. Lazarides then turned scorer when he connected with Marino Gasparis’ low cross following a throw in to double the lead.
Danny Dixon fired in the first warning shot, forcing a strong save out of Alex Pavlidis.
Kym Harris did pull one back for the visitors, but it acted as consolation only as the visitors couldn’t find another, while the hosts spurned a couple of opportunities to pull ahead further.
With the likes of Hume and Gully still juggling cup commitments, and Paco taking on many of the top six in their run homes, one of the dominoes may just tumble.
Melbourne Victory 0 Avondale FC 3 (Germano 2’ 3’, Crazia 15’)
Avondale FC created more space away from the relegation zone with a 3-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Epping Stadium, with all three goals coming early in the contest.
A good passing move involving Massimo Murdocca and Matt Sanders ended in Jonatan Germano sliding in the opener.
The Argentine had a second soon after, played in after a Victory error to chip the ball over Lucas Spinella into the net.
Michele Crazia added the team’s third after just 15 minutes, knocking the ball in from a set-piece.
Christian Theoharous and Michael Holden had a couple of chances up the other end which ultimately didn’t trouble the scorers.
Green Gully 1 (Lambadaridis 65’) Richmond SC 1 (Caniglia 21’)
Richmond and Green Gully shared the spoils in a result which didn’t necessarily suit either side, though it may prove an important point on the road for Richmond in the survival race.
Alex Caniglia, consistently one of his side’s best players this campaign, hit a long range curling effort to put the visitors ahead after 21 minutes.
He had another chance after half an hour, but Rani Dowisha was on hand to make the save.
A change fell to Gully when George Lambadaridis played in Kliment Taseski on the right, but Tony Foglia saved the shot. Lambadaridis turned scorer in the 65th minute, equalising for 1-1.
Liam Boland almost had the hosts in the lead in the 73rd minute, but his free kick crashed off the post, and the scores remained 1-1 for the 90.
Northcote City 3 (Crowley 27’ 33’ 67’) Port Melbourne Sharks 1 (Goulopoulos 79’)
Northcote City claimed a massive three points at home while dragging Port Melbourne into the unwanted race away from relegation with a 3-1 win at John Cain Memorial Reserve, the main protagonist being Braedyn Crowley with a hat-trick.
The forward had his first after 27 minutes when latching onto a through ball by James Papadimitriou, hitting the post but following in to score the rebound.
Just six minutes later it was 2-0 when a clearance from Luke Gavalas found its way back to Northcote players – Port invited pressure, which culminated in a ball into the box for Crowley to finish.
Matters got worse for the visitors in the 51st minute when an Adrian Zahra head-butt following a challenge by Papadimitriou led to a straight red – and possibly further sanctions via the tribunal.
Crowley had a third in the 67th minute when pouncing on a stray backpass.
James Goulopoulos got one back late for the 10-men Sharks, but that’s how the game ended at 3-1.
Melbourne Knights 0 Bentleigh Greens 4 (Paczkowski 3’, Lucas 16’, Thurtell 42’, Wallace 60’)
After the emotional rollercoaster of the Dockerty Cup semi between the two, Bentleigh emerged the stronger and secured a week’s double over Melbourne Knights with a resounding 4-0 win at Somers Street.
The hosts got off to the perfect start when Ryan Paczkowski smashed in a loose ball for the lead in just the third minute.
Chris Lucas made it 2-0 after just 16 minutes when a quality cross from Liam McCormick found the forward for the finish.
It was 3-0 before the break when another assist from McCormick led to Matt Thurtell’s seventh goal in as many consecutive games.
It was all wrapped up in the 60th minute when Wayne Wallace pounced in the box to make it 4-0.
Heidelberg United 4 (Athiu 20’ 84’, Ellis 46’, Way 61’) FC Bulleen Lions 1 (Nour 27’)
Heidelberg kept the pressure on South Melbourne in second spot with a resounding 4-1 win over the usually resolute Bulleen Lions.
Kenny Athiu opened the scoring after 20 minutes, heading past Griffin McMaster for 1-0.
Sami Nour quickly equalised with a bit of solo brilliance after 27 minutes.
However, Heidelberg once again had the advantage just before the break via a Sean Ellis lob.
The game was pretty much out of reach when a good combination between Athiu and Reuben Way led to the latter’s goal and a 3-1 scoreline.
Athiu then made it 4-1 to cap off a productive night for the hosts.
Oakleigh Cannons 4 (Bosnjak 14’ 62’, Hatzimouratis 45+2, Lovemore 65’) South Melbourne 3 (Pantelidis OG 23’, Minopoulos 30’, Lujic 72’)
Oakleigh Cannons triumphed 4-3 in a rollercoaster against South Melbourne, pushing up to fourth and doing South no favours in the title race.
Dusan Bosnjak played through Dean Piemonte, who was taken down by Kristian Konstantinidis when in on goal. Konstantinidis was sent off, while Bosnjak stepped up to take the free kick and blasted it past Nikola Roganovic in goals.
It didn’t deter South, and when Milos Lujic was played through, he was taken down by John Honos in goals – Steve Pantelidis bundled the ball over for an own goal, but the visitors were calling for a penalty and red card on the keeper.
South did however take the lead when an errant backpass – one of many – allowed Leigh Minopoulos clean through on goal – he converted his chance.
Yet it was all square at 2-2 before the break when a long ball from Perry Lambropoulos found Dimi Hatzimouratis for a header to equalise – essentially a goal out of nothing.
It got worse for South when Matt Foschini was subbed at half time with an injury, Iqi Jawadi coming on at left back with Amadu Koroma moving into the centre of defence.
After the break, a cutback found Bosnjak for his second of the night, once again giving the hosts the advantage. And it was essentially game over when a ball went through Amadu Koroma for Sean Lovemore to weave his way through on goal and add the finishing touches.
However, South had a final lifeline when Marcus Schroen found Lujic in the box who was felled by Steve Pantelidis for a penalty – he converted for 4-3, however that proved to be the final scoreline as neither side was able to add to that.
PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria Women's
Box Hill United 2 (Heckenberg 53' McGilp 56') Geelong Galaxy United 4 (Elsen 20' Martin 24' Al-Huneidi 43' White 46')
A dominant first half from Geelong Galaxy United all-but-mathematically sealed a finals berth for the club thanks to a 4-2 win away at Box Hill.
Annabel Martin's dominant performance down the right flank posed challenges for Box Hill all game, assisting the opening goal for Brit Elsen before scoring soon after herself.
Lulu Al-Huneidi and Kariah White then scored either side of half time to put the visitors in a dominant position.
Goals for Emma Heckenberg and Charlotte McGilp created some nerves for Geelong, but errant Box Hill finishing thereafter hurt any hopes of a comeback.
Bayside United 2 (Brown 3' 76') Calder United 1 (Lay 18')
Bayside pulled off one of the upsets of the season by rolling the then-first-placed team on Sunday night.
Jamie Brown scrambled in the opener after a cross from deep on the right was not dealt with by the Calder defence.
Cindy Lay would level soon after for Calder.
But Calder's frustration would grow through the second half, denied by the combination of near misses and a confident display from Bayside goalkeeper Ingrid Philippe.
Brown would then capitalise on a defensive give-away near the top of the penalty area, shooting early to catch Calder goalkeeper Shanel Camilleri off her line.
It was not all good news for Bayside though, with young forward Bronte James suffering a long-term knee injury.
Southern United 1 (Dudley-Smith 2') Alamein FC 2 (Ayres 22' Hodges 40')
Alamein kept its outside run at top spot going as it ground past Southern United away at Comets Stadium.
Brittany Dudley-Smith caught the visitors off-guard early with a goal in just the second minute of the match.
But league-leading scorer Melina Ayres had Alamein level within 20 minutes, before American import Kelsey Hodges followed assisting Ayres' goal by scoring one of her own.
A wind-swept second half prevented either side from producing their best.
FC Bulleen Lions 4 (Coppock 2' 89' Gudelj 47' Goad pen 68') Heidelberg United 0
A flat Heidelberg United was soundly defeated by Bulleen in a result that almost certainly closes the door to the last remaining team with a shot at disrupting the top four.
A quick move through the left flank by Olivia Ellis and Daniela Gudlej put the ball on the head of Em Coppock in just the second minute to nod in Bulleen's opener.
Young goalkeeper Mia Mossman then denied Heidelberg striker Leigh Gray one-on-one, while Elise Mamanu-Gray volleyed over the Bergers' next-best chance for an equaliser.
Lia Privitelli's cross from the right was then deflected in by Gudelj just two minutes into the second half to consolidate Bulleen's advantage.
Beattie Goad won and converted a penalty in her final PS4 NPLW game of the season, the 19-year-old is relocating to the United States to play NCAA soccer with Stanford University.
Coppock's diving header on the end of a Privitelli cross from the right was the pick of the goals, rounding out Bulleen's win.
PS4 NPL 2 East
By Jordan Lim
Dandenong Thunder 1 (Barnes pen 38’) by Box Hill United 2 (Osei-Safo 28’, Fesseha 87’)
Dandenong Thunder’s dream of an unbeaten season came to a halt, as they fell to a 2-1 loss to Box Hill United at George Andrews Reserve on Saturday night.
The Thunder enjoyedall of the early running, as Brandon Barnes and Kristian Sarkies combined well to cause headaches for the Box Hill defence.
First Sarkies struck wide of the left post from a Barnes layoff, before roles were reversed as Barnes latched onto a good lofted ball only for United keeper Keegan Coulter to make a good save.
Daniel Bennett volleyed wide from outside the box, as did 16-year-old Godwil Benjamin, who made cleaner connection, but couldn’t steer his shot goal bound.
Despite the chances that fell the way of the Thunder, the game was quite even, as a fearless Box Hill took on the Dandenong defence at every opportunity.
Michael Kariuki used his strength to shield the ball inside the 18-yard-box and struck well at the near post, although Thunder keeper Fraser Maclaren was alive to tip wide
Benjamin broke with pace on the counter, released on the left wing and almost rounded the keeper for a goal, but the work of the tracking defender was enough for the forward to double back and miss his opportunity to strike.
Box Hill hit the lead in somewhat controversial circumstances, as a Ben Osei-Safo shot was clawed off the line by a desperate Maclaren, only for the officials adjudge the ball was over the line.
Kobbie Boahene then had a sighter from 20-yards which sailed agonisingly wide of the right upright, which would’ve seen the visitors hit a 2-0 lead.
Dandenong hit back on the stroke of half-time after being sent to the spot, with Kariuki adjudged to have impeded a Thunder player in the midst of a goalmouth scramble, Barnes made no mistake as he buried his shot into the left of goal.
Box Hill thought they had regained the lead just minutes after the restart, as Osei-Safo tapped home from an Adrian Del Monaco cross, only for the linesman to rule offside.
A chance immediately occurred at the other end as Barnes attempted to steer in at the near post after Sarkies steered the ball forward.
Barnes then tried his luck from range, but thanks to a deflection and a brilliant low save from Coulter, was left luckless
A contender for the worst corner of the year was a rare highlight in the second half, as Kariuki managed to up and under his set piece 20 yards behind goals.
Thunder had a brilliant chance on 81 minutes through Barnes, who streamed clear in the left channel, only to be denied by a desperate lunge from Tom Lakic to keep it level.
The defensive effort didn’t go in vain as Box Hill struck at the other end with a brilliant move, which saw Abel Fesseha nod home a towering header from a perfectly weighted cross
Kingston City 4 (McNamee 3' 76', Zwed 7' Karpeh 48') Nunawading City 0
A double for Rowan McNamee was enough for Kingston City to notch up a second consecutive league win, this time coming against bottom-placed Nunawading City.
The win for Kingston puts closes the gap to Dandenong Thunder in the race for promotion to the PS4 NPL Victoria top flight, with the gap between the two sides now three points.
Two goals within the opening seven minutes set the tone for a one-way contest, and so it turned out to be.
Jerry Karpeh grabbed a goal to extend the lead to 3-0 after the half-time break, before McNamee popped up once more.
The result puts even more emphasis on the impending clash between the Thunder and Kingston, which will go far in deciding who takes out the NPL 2 East title.
Dandenong City 0 Brunswick City 1 (Wright pen 90’)
Dandenong City’s promotion chances took an almost killer blow after an injury time penalty to Adam Wright gave Brunswick City a 1-0 win at Frank Holohan Soccer Complex.
Neither keeper saw much action in the opening term, with both teams wasting the chances presented to them with some poor finishing.
Forward Amir Osmancevic came closest to breaking the deadlock, but struck the base of the goals from a tight angle, having squeezed a shot past Brunswick keeper Wesley Coles.
A double goalmouth block from Matthew Augello kept the visitors in the game as both Ross Frame and Osmancevic were in succession denied by his defensive efforts on the last line.
Dandy keper Damir Salcin was made to work in the second half as he first clawed away a Liam Newman pile-driver, before doing the same to a low volley from Wright.
The Welshman then went on to win the game from the penalty spot with his 13th goal of the league season.
Murray United 0 Goulburn Valley Suns 0
The ‘regional derby’ played out between Murray United and Goulburn Valley Suns ended in an uneventful 0-0 draw at La Trobe University, Albury-Wodonga campus.
A red card to Suns player Nikolaos Kalafatis saw him given his marching orders in the second half for a tackle as the last defender.
The resulting free-kick was well saved by Suns custodian Muntadhar Al Gazaly, but the keeper was almost beaten right at the end of the 90 minutes.
A shot from Murray’s Jayson Ferguson was forced off the line in injury time, with Munyaradzi Ruparanganda’s follow up sent over the bar.
It continues Murray’s resurgence of sorts in recent weeks, which has seen them pick up two draws in three weeks to put further distance on Nunawading City at the bottom of the ladder.
Eastern Lions 2 (Williams 69’ pen 74’) Springvale White Eagles 1 (Pykett pen 26’)
Two goals from Eastern Lions captain Andrew Williams gave the hosts a memorable come from behind victory over Springvale White Eagles at Gardiners Creek Reserve.
A tense start to the contest saw Springvale eventually break the deadlock, after being sent to the spot via a foul on VojoMilojevic.
Englishman John Pykett made no mistake, burying his chance to put the visitors one goal to the good.
Eastern had their equaliser through Williams as he hammered home an effort from 25 yards, which soared into the net.
Their winner came via the penalty spot with just 15 minutes to play as Williams completed his brace.
A hat-trick evaded him, despite a well taken free-kick rattling the crossbar on its way out.
Springvale had a number of chances to steal a draw, but it wasn’t to be as the Lions picked up their eighth win of the season.
PS4 NPL 2 West
By Jordan Lim
Werribee City 2 (Voulgaris 17’, Weaver 77’) Ballarat Red Devils 2 (Mitrovic 33’, Mullins 90+4’)
A 10-man Werribee City were unable to hold on to their one-goal advantage as a debut senior goal to Michael Mullins in stoppage time gave Ballarat Red Devils a 2-2 draw at Galvin Park.
In a largely physical encounter between the two sides, little spot fires popped up throughout the 90 minutes, which eventually manifested itself in a second yellow card to Jonathan Voulgaris for an uncompromising tackle in the second half.
The midfielder had earlier put his side into a 17th minute lead with a brilliant free-kick, that hit the top right corner past the outstretched hand of Aaron Romein in goals.
The goal came just a minute after they thought they had their openeras Shaun Weaver headed home from a cross stood up at the back post from Domenico Marafioti, but the goal was scrapped for an offside.
The equaliser came through Dejan Mitrovic’s first ever senior goal, as he combined with 16-year-old Brandon Lauton on the right wing, before closing down a clearance from the Werribee defence, allowing him to finish from a tight angle with help from a deflection off a defender.
David King nodded towards goal from a Nelson Salvatore free-kick, which brought with it the half-time whistle as the scores remained locked at 1-1.
A great ball from Michael Trigger saw Mitrovic free with the chance for a second, but the forward was unable to hit the target from just outside the penalty area.
Similarly, Voulgaris was denied his second by a good save from Romein in goal, who was forced to work to tip away his header.
Ballarat’s Lauton angled a scrappy low shot towards the bottom right corner, which caused trouble for Marko Stevanja in goals despite its lack of pace; the keeper failing to hold, only for Mitrovic to see his follow up shot blocked.
The game changed as Voulgaris was given his marching orders in the 74th minute, with Werribee defying the numerical disadvantage to hit the lead, courtesy of a Weaver header coming from a corner.
Ballarat threw everything at an equaliser and saw a triple chance halted, with Mitrovic, then Josh Romein and finally Jake Francis all missing their opportunities to draw level.
Another headed effort by Weaver was well stopped by the Ballarat keeper as the Englishman continued to put his body about at every aerial contest.
With the last opportunity of the game, and all men pushed up in the penalty area, it was substitute Michael Mullins who was able to poke home from a corner kick to give Ballarat a late reprieve.
Bendigo City 0 Whittlesea Ranges 2 (Ofli 25’, Slefendorfas 32’)
Whittlesea Ranges have continued their rapid ascent in 2016 by placing themselves firm favourites for promotion after a 2-0 away win over Bendigo City.
The win makes it seven games unbeaten for the top side, who now push four points clear of second placed St Albans Saints, the equal biggest lead they’ve held in the title race all season.
It was their regular suspects doing the damage once more for the Ranges, with Atilla Ofli and George Slefendorfas both getting on the scoresheet in the first half, both exploiting the right flank on their way to goals.
The pair take their respective tallies for the NPL2 West season to 28 and 11, which accounts for 72% of Whittlesea’s goals for the 2016 season.
Bendigo were solid in defence throughout the second half as they held off the considerable attacking firepower held in possession by Whittlesea.
Moreland Zebras 1 (Nikolic 10’) Melbourne City 0
A first half goal to Joel Nikolic allowed Moreland Zebras to slip past Melbourne City in a huge game in context of the NPL2 West promotion race.
The win sees the Zebras jump up to third place and gain ground on St Albans Saints in the race for the promotion play-off spot.
A win for City would’ve put them within two points of the Saints, instead they lie in fifth place, five points off the pace.
Melbourne City travel to Morshead Park next week in a crunch game against Ballarat Red Devils, while the Zebras tackle Sunshine George Cross as they look to keep the pressure on the top two.
Moreland City 2 (Ukuno 15’, Co. Thomas 17’) St Albans Saints (Rodriguez 19’, Tsiakalakis 90+5’)
A goal deep into stoppage time from St Albans Saints’ George Tsiakalakis gifted the visitors an important point against Moreland City for their NPL2 West promotion charge.
A flurry of early goals saw City take a 2-0 lead in quick-time, with ApaiUkuno on hand to tuck home a cross from Osman Kose.
Moreland captain Corey Thomas then doubled the lead in the 17th minute, only for St Albans to respond through Spaniard Vitaka Rodriguez who steered a wonder goal in from outside the box.
Casey Thomas looked to get his name on the scoreboard, but struck the crossbar with a chipped effort, before Ukuno fired wide with his chance at a double before the half-time whistle sounded.
Josh Knight failed to hit the target for St Albans in the second half as they frantically chased and equaliser, which eventually fell their way deep into stoppage time.
Tsiakalakis beat debutant keeper Dean Menere with a powerful header from a Joe Monek corner, with what proved to be the final action of the game.
It keeps alive their six-game unbeaten run as the Saints mount a real charge at promotion.
Sunshine George Cross 1 (Arredondo pen 23’) North Geelong Warriors 1 (Jurcic 83’)
North Geelong Warriors were the third side in the top half of the league to drop points in Round 21, as they valiantly fought to claim a 1-1 draw with Sunshine George Cross.
A controversial penalty awarded to Sunshine George Cross saw HernanArredondo fire the hosts into an early lead.
Keeper Daniel Zilic rushed off his line to meet to ball, but brought down a Sunshine attacker in the process, which eventually saw the ball make its way into the net, only for the referees to converge and pay a penalty instead.
Debate was sparked not only about whether play should’ve been brought back for the penalty, but also whether the foul was committed inside the box as well as the correct punishment for Zilic, who only saw yellow for his tackle.
Another penalty was awarded in the second half, this time in favour of the Warriors, as Michael Anderson was brought down in the process of shooting at goals.
The resulting spot kick from captain Matthew Townley was saved by keeper Robert Santilli in the 80th minute, however they didn’t had to wait long for their eventual equaliser.
Just three minutes later, Nicholas Jurcic – fresh off a brace in the win against Melbourne City last week – earned his side a point with a well-guided volley.