Trophy Holders Slip In Easter Weekend Shake-Up
PS4 NPL Victoria Round 5 Wrap
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PS4 NPL Victoria
By Damir Kulas
Oakleigh Cannons recorded an upset 3-2 win against rivals Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex on Friday night.
The visitors took the lead through Dean Piemonte but found themselves behind after two strikes either side of the break from Daniel Dixon and Matt Thurtell gave the hosts the edge. Undeterred by the setback, Oakleigh rallied and were on level terms thanks to Dimitri Hatzimouratis before a Dusan Bosnjak goal late on sparked euphoria on the Cannons bench and away end.
The undefeated home side began the game on the front foot and were thwarted early on by Oakleigh goalkeeper John Honos who did well to deny Jack Webster and Thurtell from opening the scoring with two fine saves.
The visitors determined to show they were not pushovers signalled their own attacking intent with Bosnjak’s driving run seeing him cross the ball into the box to an unmarked Hatzimouratis but his header lack the power and direction to trouble Ryan Scott in Greens goal.
The scoring was then opened 20 minutes into the contest as the Piemonte pounced on a defensive mistake from the Greens defence, scoring his fifth goal in his last three visits to the venue.
Bentleigh immediately went in search of an equaliser as Chris Lucas broke free from the offside trap but was denied after a splendid save from Honos who was in inspired form early on in the contest.
Bosnjak came close when his splendid curling effort from the edge of the box went narrowly wide before Scott produced a brilliant reflex save to deny Piemonte his second of the game.
The home side pushed hard for an equaliser in the latter stages of the half and were rewarded when Lucas cut the ball back across goal into the path of Dixon who calmly tapped home for his first goal for the Greens following his summer move from Perth.
The Greens almost took the lead just before the break when Wayne Wallace broke through into the penalty area and squared the ball into the path of Thurtell who could not get contact onto the ball as the two sides headed into the half-time break on level terms.
The second half began at a hundred miles an hour and Thurtell was not to be denied a third time when he met Dixon’s cross from the left to score past Honos in his return to the starting eleven following a ten month absence through an ACL injury.
The lead was not to last for long as a strike from Hatzimouratis took a deflection from close range, wrong footing Scott in the 52nd minute and restoring parity between the two sides.
The Greens then missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when an excellent through ball inside his own half from Luke Pilkington presented Tyson Holmes with a chance to restore the lead only for the midfielder to miss the target.
A good attacking move from the Cannons saw the ball break free to Ioannis Georgopoulos but the midfielder blazed the ball off target and over the goal. However there was to be no denying Oakleigh at the second opportunity when substitute Ali Hameed persevered into the penalty area before Hatzimouratis’ shot from close range was saved by Scott but fell into the path of Bosnjak who scored what proved to be the winner.
Bentleigh pressed hard for an equaliser but met a blank as the Cannons defence provided ample resistance with the hosts unable to capitalise on South Melbourne’s slip up as they prepare to host Melbourne Victory next week while Oakleigh travel to the winless Avondale with a spring in their step after two consecutive thrilling league victories.
One of the more sensational results of the season was an hour in the making at Kevin Barlett Reserve as Richmond turned a 3-1 deficit into a 6-3 win with five second-half goals.
Nick Epifano's early goal was cancelled out by Nicolas Niagioran but it looked like the equaliser had only served to spark South Melbourne into action as Epfiano and Lujic again scored in the ensuring 10 minutes.
However the second half would dramatically swing Richmond's way when Niagioran made it two on debut and Nick Kokolakis equalised within three minutes. Jake Barker-Daish would come back to haunt his former team with a double while a red card for Niagioran would not open the door to a South comeback, instead Richmond scored again in stoppage time through Liam Flynn.
Luca Santilli and David Stirton exchanged goals in the first hour before a double red-card incident in the 66th minute had tempers flaring. Lambros Honos and Nathan Megic were both given their marching orders after a coming together. Jamie de Abreu's goal pinched all three points for Port Melbourne, while Pascoe Vale suffered more late pain as Davey van 't Schip was red carded in stoppage time.
An open exchange of attacking chances failed to yield more than one goal as Jason Hicks' strike before half time proved the difference at Knights Stadium.
Hicks scored after bringing down a cross from the right by Nick Glavan, steadying on the ball and sending a low shot to the left side of the target which proved too hot to handle for Bulleen goalkeeper Griffin McMaster.
McMaster was sharp to deny Chris Talajic a chance to double the lead in the second half, while opposing goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers was a stand-out for Knights.
A goal of the year contender from Reuben Way was the highlight of a convincing Heidelberg Untied win. Sean Ellis' return from injury yielded his first PS4 NPL goal of the season before Way's scissor kick doubled the advantage in the second half. Kenny Athiu secured the points mid-way through the second half to leave Avondale at the foot of the table, still seeking their first point of the campaign.
Green Gully piled on the pain for Northcote City with a break-through goal on 30 minutes triggering a one-way procession to a 5-0 win. Anthony Rizk had volleyed a chance just wide of the right post for Northcote when the game was 0-0.
Nick Krousouratis controlled a high bouncing clearance from Rani Dowisha on 30 minutes then turned to dribble through the Northcote defence and finish for the opening goal. Krousouratis would net a hat-trick by the 53rd minute while Liam Boland netted a double.
By Tim Michell, Leader Newspapers
Hume City capitalised on two defensive mistakes from Melbourne Victory on its way to a 3-0 victory at Epping Stadium on Saturday.
Daniel Clark fired a brace for the victors, either side of a Nick Hegarty penalty, as Hume City moved equal on points with ladder leaders South Melbourne and Bentleigh Greens after five rounds of the NPL campaign.
The trio are two points ahead of Green Gully on the table, with Hume making the most of shock losses for South Melbourne (6-3 against Richmond) and Bentleigh (3-2 against Oakleigh) during a feast of Easter football across the state.
Victory started brightly, taking a lion’s share of possession in the opening 20 minutes at its adopted home ground.
Influential attacker George Howard almost gave the hosts the lead after 12 minutes after catching Hume City goalkeeper Chris Oldfield off his line.
Oldfield hustled back but could only watch on as Howard’s lofted strike rattled off the cross bar.
Nine minutes later, Clark opened the scoring following a forgettable defensive error from Victory.
Casually playing across the back, Victory was made to pay when an errand pass landed at the unmarked striker’s feet and he launched a stinging drive past Lucas Spinella into the right corner of the goal.
Joey Katebian had a chance to draw Victory level six minutes later, but the prolific marksman uncharacteristically bundled his shot well wide of Oldfield’s goal.
Six minutes after being booked, left-back Christian Cavallo was at fault when Victory gave away a penalty.
Cavallo failed to make contact with an attempted clearance when he was the last man in Victory’s defence, allowing Hegarty to pounce on a loose ball in the six yard box.
As the Hume skipper attempted to cut back from an acute angle onto his favoured left boot, he was collected by Cavallo and referee Alejandro Azcurra pointed to the spot.
While Spinella guessed correctly, Hegarty’s penalty had enough power to beat the Victory custodian and double the visitors’ advantage after 35 minutes.
Cavallo was given his marching orders two minutes after the resumption, booked for a second time after a reckless challenge.
Hume controlled proceedings for most of the final 30 minutes and converted its dominance into a third goal when Clark latched onto a parried save from Kofi Danning’s powerful drive in the 79th minute.
The result sets the scene for a blockbuster contest between Hume City and South Melbourne at ABD Stadium this Saturday night, while Victory next faces Bentleigh away from home.
Victory coach Vaughan Coveny said he was confident his side belonged in the top flight after a promising start to the campaign despite Saturday’s loss, while Hume mentor Lou Acevski admitted his title challengers were still searching for top form.
PS4 NPL Victoria 2 Cross-Over Round
By Jordan Kounelis
Melbourne City NPL 0 Kingston City 2 (Karpeh 74’, 81’)
Jerry Karpeh’s second half brace ensured a ten-man Kingston City maintained their winning run in a battle between two undefeated sides in PS4 NPL 2 on Saturday as they trumped Melbourne City at City Football Academy Melbourne.
Tempers flared on the hour mark following a controversial decision by the referee to send off Kingston defender Simo Jovanovic, who committed a clear foul on Melbourne winger, Stefan Zinni, but the lack of malice in the tackle could’ve deemed the challenge a yellow card offence.
Jovanovic’s expulsion riled the Kingston sidewho sought to assert themselves physically on the match.
Once the residual heat after the red card died off, Kingston fought desperately to break the deadlock, and it eventually came when Karpeh was played into a paddock of space behind the defence and into a one-on-one with Melbourne ‘keeper, Yaren Sozer, whom he rounded and scored the game’s first goal by rolling the ball into an empty net.
The score doubled almost ten minutes later when Karpeh again was played into space following a defensive error, and curled a composed shot around Sozer and into the bottom corner.
It took Kingston a while to get themselves into a groove earlier in the game, and had eight shots in the first half – none of which registered on target.
Kingston’s French goalkeeper, JulienChaumet, was a standout for the visiting team, pulling off five incredible saves over the course of the match to deny Melbourne City a goal.
Springvale White Eagles 2 (Pykett 74’, Stoilovic 85’) Whittlesea Ranges 3 (Ofli 28’, 47’, Sanni 76’)
Attila Ofli has maintained his lofty position in the PS4 NPL 2 goal-scorer tallies as he fired home a brace for Whittlesea Ranges in their 3-2 win over Springvale on Saturday.
Ofli now has eight goals for the season and overtakes Moreland City’s Apai Ukuno to top the NPL2 West leader board.
The striker opened the scoring after the 28th minute of the Ranges’ encounter against the lowly White Eagles, and doubled his side’s lead just after the main break to give Whittlesea a comfortable 2-0 advantage.
John Pykett pegged a goal back for Sprngvalein the 74th minute, but that was quickly cancelled out by a strike from former Altona Magic player, Dauda Sunni, just two minutes later.
Damir Stoilovic netted his third goal of the year in the 85th minute to give the game its final 2-3 scoreline in favour of the Ranges.
Werribee City 1 (Cassano 55’) Dandenong City 4 (Filipovic 12’, Freddi 36’, Matkovic 85’, Cattermole 86’)
Dandenong City have notched up their second win of the season with a valuable away triumph against Werribee City on Saturday afternoon, sinking the Bees to their fourth loss from the first five rounds.
Shaun Filipovic, a homegrown Dandenong City midfielder, opened the scoring for his side early in the first half and Gonzalo Freddi doubled that lead almost 20 minutes later – the Argentine scoring in the 36th minute.
Werribee gave themselves a chance for a result when Julien Cassano knocked home his second goal of the year ten minutes into the second half, then won a penalty for a chance at 2-2.
But Damir Salcin saved the spot-kick and quick-fire goals from Dario Matkovic and Ashley Cattermole within a minute of each other rapidly snuffed out any opportunity Werribee had of getting a late result.
Nunawading City 1 (Antequera 71’) defeated by St Albans Saints 3 (Grgic 27’, Devlin 77’, 80’)
Nunawading’s winless start to 2016 has continued after St Albans rallied late to sink the home side 1-3.
St Albans took the early lead thanks to Michael Grgic in the 27th minute, but Nunawading didn’t drop their heads, with Daniel Patterson and David Antequera formulating a number of chances to test the St Albans defence.
Nunawading continued to harrythe visitors in the second half and it finally paid off when Antequera netted in the 71st minute to equalise the encounter.
Unfortunately for Nunawading, that scoreline was shattered not even ten minutes later by a snap Saints double courtesy of Barry Devlin, giving St Albans their third win of the season.
North Geelong Warriors 2 (Anderson 58’, Eze 81’) Goulburn Valley Suns 0
North Geelong have continued their good form with a third win in four weeks by downing their NPL2 third-place counterparts, Goulburn Valley Suns, in this cross-conference round of football.
The Suns went down to ten men after half an hour when Salawat Allafta fouled Nicholas Jurcic, immediately putting Goulburn Valley on the back foot from the early stages.
American import, Kene Eze, came on as a substitute early in the second half for his first NPL appearance in Warriors colours and had an immediate impact when his cross found Michael Anderson to put the home side ahead after 58 minutes.
North Geelong had a number of chances to double their lead in the second half – mainly through Jurcic – but it would be Eze who put the icing on the cake when he fired home an 81st minute strike to get himself on the scoresheet and seal the result.
Bendigo City FC 1 (Younan 78') Eastern Lions SC-The Official Site 0
David Younan's long strike shocked Eastern Lions to spark wild celebrations from Bendigo City.
The late goal was enough to secure a first win of the season for Bendigo City.
Alex Schroen's late winner completed a Box Hill United comeback form 2-1 down to secure three points away at Morshead Park.
Kazuki Okada played in Schroen for the winning goal having already scored the equaliser in the 70th minute. Keegan Coulter denied Ballarat the chance to open a 3-1 lead prior to Okada's goal.
Ballarat had taken a 2-1 lead to half time thanks to goals from Jake Francis and Michael Trigger.
A goalkeeping error from Brandon Galgano proved the decisive moment in the 'Sydney Rd Derby' as Brunswick City came away with all three points.
Juan Portillo capitalised on the missed collect from the Moreland City 'keeper to finish into an empty net early in the second half.
Moreland Zebras bounced back from the disappointment of Westfield FFA Cup elimination with a 4-1 win away to Murray United.
Kliment Dimitrieski and Josh McMonaghle-Ihasz gave the Zebras a flying start before a second half double in quick succession from James Papadimitriou took the sting out of the game. Murray United snared a late consolation with Lionel Masudi netting his first goal for the club.
Dandenong Thunder was stunned by Juso Julardzija's opener for Sunshine but responded before half time with Veton Korcari and Brandon Barnes scoring to send Thunder to half-time with a 2-1 lead.
Barnes completed his hat-trick in the second half to secure a fifth straight PS4 NPL Victoria win for Huss Skenderovic's men.