NPL Round 16 preview

NPL – Round 16

Pascoe Vale v Bentleigh Greens
7th v 4th         
8.30pm, Friday July 4, 2014
Hosken Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #PVvBG #NPLVIC

Last round:
Melbourne Knights 2-1 Pascoe Vale
Bentleigh Greens 1-2 Northcote City

Pascoe Vale: WWWWL
Northcote City: WDLLD
Last time they met: Bentleigh Greens 1-1 Pascoe Vale, Round 3 2014

Ryan De Vries was one of the catalysts behind Bentleigh’s run to the 2013 Victorian Premier League (VPL) Grand Final, and on Friday night he’ll make his NPL debut after re-joining the club from New Zealand top-flight team Waitakere United.

The South African attacker has been an asset to the Greens in recent seasons and will be expected to hit the ground running as his side looks to bounce back from a lacklustre performance last week.

Pascoe Vale’s run of five consecutive wins came to an end at Knights Stadium, and the loss of reigning player of the month Davey van’t Schip to JOS Watergraafsmeer in Amsterdam this week has only compounded the defeat.

Coach Vitale Ferrante could turn to Jake Nakic – signed from Dandenong Thunder - as a replacement.

Oakleigh Cannons v Port Melbourne Sharks
2nd v 12th         
8.30pm, Friday July 4, 2014
Jack Edwards Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #OCvPM #NPLVIC
Highlights to follow on FFV TV

Last round:
Heidelberg United 1-1 Oakleigh Cannons
South Melbourne 2-1 Port Melbourne Sharks

Oakleigh Cannons: WWWWD
Port Melbourne Sharks: LLLWL
Last time they met: Port Melbourne Sharks 2-2 Oakleigh Cannons, Round 3 2014

Oakleigh looked very flat in its 1-1 draw with a 10-men Heidelberg United and couldn’t find its passing rhythm on a slow, heavy pitch.

It was a costly draw for the Cannons – they’re now six points behind table-topper South Melbourne – and must win against lowly Port Melbourne to keep up the pressure at the top.

The Sharks are fighting to avoid relegation and will also be desperate for the points, but they’ll need to produce something special to knock off Oakleigh at its fortress.

The Cannons have gained 22 out of a possible 24 points at Jack Edwards Reserve, scoring 27 goals at an average of 3.4 per game.

Ballarat Red Devils v Northcote City
13th v 9th           
3.00pm, Saturday July 5, 2014
Morshead Park Stadium
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #BRDvNC #NPLVIC

Last round:
Ballarat Red Devils 3-0 Goulburn Valley Suns
Bentleigh Greens 1-2 Northcote City

Ballarat Red Devils: LLLLW
Northcote City: DLLDW
Last time they met: Northcote City 1-3 Ballarat Red Devils, Round 3 2014

The Red Devils may have one of the recruits of the season on their hands, with Deng Aguek scoring three goals in two weeks since joining from State League 1 North-West club Western Suburbs.

It doesn’t stop there however, with Ballarat also securing prolific striker Paul Harvey from Bulleen as it recognises the need to beef up its attacking stocks.

The last time these two sides met, the Red Devils stunned Northcote City away from home in a match where tempers flared, and they’ll be looking for a clean sweep over last year’s VPL champion on Saturday.

Northcote is a good traveller however, having lost just two of its seven away matches. The excellent surface at Morshead Park Stadium will also aid the visitors with their liking to keep the ball on the ground.

Hume City v Dandenong Thunder
5th v 8th
3.00pm, Sunday July 6, 2014
Broadmeadows Valley Park
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #HCvDT #NPLVIC

Last round:
Hume City 3-0 Werribee City
Green Gully 2-2 Dandenong Thunder

Hume City: WLWLW
Dandenong Thunder: LWLLD
Last time they met: Dandenong Thunder 1-0 Hume City, Round 3 2014

Dandenong was very impressive for large portions in its draw against Green Gully, but silly errors in defence cost it the three points.

That inconsistency in games has been a common trend for Thunder this season, while Hume City is suffering from the same problem.

The home side was bolstered by the club debut of Springvale White Eagles recruit Abel Fesseha however, who scored a brace in the win over Werribee City.

With both sides having a rollercoaster season, the result is tough to pick here.

Werribee City v Melbourne Knights
10th v 11th              
3.00pm, Sunday July 6, 2014
Galvin Park
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #WCvMK #NPLVIC

Last round:
Hume City 3-0 Werribee City
Melbourne Knights 2-1 Pascoe Vale

Werribee City: LDWLL
Melbourne Knights: LWLDW
Last time they met: Melbourne Knights 1-2 Werribee City, Round 3 2014

Werribee City’s list has undergone a huge makeover during the transfer window, with the Bees making more changes than any other club across both NPL and NPL 1.

Ersin Kaya (Northcote City) and Jose Guerrero (Hume City) are arguably the biggest signings, but coach Nino Ragusa swung the axe with the releases of Josh Groenewald, Ivica Praiz and Nemanja Govedarica among others.

The Bees’ eight new arrivals may need time to adapt, particularly with Ragusa’s tendency to have his side play the long ball out of defence.

The Knights are a lot stronger on paper than they were a month ago, and it’s translating on the scoreboard. They’ll go in as favourites on Sunday.

South Melbourne v Green Gully
1st v 6th
5.00pm, Sunday July 6, 2014
Lakeside Stadium
Radio: Listen live on NPL VIC Live (or via the TuneIn app – search ‘Live Cast’)
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #SMvGG #NPLVIC

Last round:
South Melbourne 3-0 Heidelberg United
Dandenong Thunder 1-3 Port Melbourne Sharks

South Melbourne: WLDWW
Green Gully: WWLWD
Last time they met: Green Gully 3-5 South Melbourne, Round 3 2014

South Melbourne and Green Gully are two of the proudest and most successful clubs in Victorian football and never fail to disappoint when they meet.

One case in point was their Round 3 encounter, where a whopping eight goals were scored.

Green Gully has tightened up its defence since then and has the form to knock off the league leader, but South Melbourne has been crying out for a week’s break and will be fresh after finally receiving one.

Heidelberg United v Goulburn Valley Suns
3rd v 14th
5.00pm, Sunday July 6, 2014
Olympic Village
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #HUvGVS #NPLVIC

Last round:
Heidelberg United 1-1 Oakleigh Cannons
Ballarat Red Devils 3-0 Goulburn Valley Suns

Heidelberg United: DDWLD
Goulburn Valley Suns: LLDLL
Last time they met: Goulburn Valley Suns 2-6 Heidelberg United, Round 3 2014

Daniel Heffernan will sit out this one after being red-carded in Heidelberg’s draw with Oakleigh, and that will come as somewhat of a relief for the Suns as the league’s joint leading goalscorer destroyed them in their 6-2 loss in Round 3.

Heidelberg boasts serious attacking firepower even without Heffernan, and in-form striker Kaine Sheppard will need to be closely watched by the Suns, who could hand a club debut to newly-signed former Hyundai A-League defender Simon Colosimo.

The Suns are firmly entrenched in the relegation zone and are now in a do-or-die situation, while Heidelberg’s slim title hopes could disappear if it drops points on Sunday.

Leading goalscorers:

12 – Daniel Heffernan (Heidelberg United), Milos Lujic (South Melbourne)
10 – Brent McGrath (Bentleigh Greens)
9 – Craig Carley (Goulburn Valley Suns), Kaine Sheppard (Heidelberg United)
8 – Matthew Sanders (Green Gully), Dusan Bosnjak (Oakleigh Cannons)
7 – Nate Foster (Oakleigh Cannons), Jamie Reed (South Melbourne)
6 – Dean Piemonte (Oakleigh Cannons), Goran Zoric (Oakleigh Cannons), Jason Hayne (Green Gully), Osagie Ederaro (Green Gully)
5 – Jake Nakic (Pascoe Vale), Trent Rixon (Northcote City), Kevin Braniff (Port Melbourne Sharks),
4 – Dom Swinton (Ballarat Red Devils), David Stirton (Bentleigh Greens), Nick Hegarty (Hume City), Jacob Colosimo (Melbourne Knights), Joseph Youssef (Pascoe Vale), Nicholas Krousoratis (Port Melbourne Sharks), Leigh Minopoulos (South Melbourne), Steven Cudrig (Werribee City), Jack Petrie (Heidelberg United), Lambros Honos (Port Melbourne Sharks), James Kalifatidis (Northcote City), Daniel O’Donnell (Ballarat Red Devils), Luca Santilli (Pascoe Vale), Mathew Theodore (South Melbourne)

NPL 1 – Round 15

Avondale Heights v Sunshine George Cross
1st v 4th    
3.00pm, Saturday July 5, 2014
Avondale Heights Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #AHvSGC #NPLVIC

Dandenong City v Brunswick City
12th v 14th          
3.00pm, Saturday July 5, 2014
Frank Holohan Soccer Complex
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #DCvBC #NPLVIC

Springvale White Eagles v Richmond
11th v 6th             
3.00pm, Saturday July 5, 2014
White Eagles Stadium
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #SWEvRSC #NPLVIC

Box Hill United v North Geelong Warriors
3rd v 7th     
3.15pm, Saturday July 5, 2014
Wembley Park
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #BHUvNGW #NPLVIC

FC Bendigo v Whittlesea Ranges
10th v 13th           
6.00pm, Saturday July 5, 2014
Tom Flood Sports Centre
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #FCBvWR #NPLVIC

Kingston City v Moreland Zebras
8th v 9th   
8.30pm, Monday July 7, 2014
The Grange Reserve
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #KCvMZ #NPLVIC

FC Bulleen Lions v St Albans Saints
2nd v 5th  
8.30pm, Monday July 7, 2014
Veneto Club – David Barro Stadium
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #BLvSAS #NPLVIC

Image credit: Graeme Furlong


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