Second placed Oakleigh Canons host fifth placed Hume City to kick-off Round 18 of NPL Victoria.
Oakleigh Cannons v Hume City
8:30pm, Friday July 18, 2014
Jack Edwards Reserve
Oakleigh comes into the game in top form, having thrashed Green Gully last week in convincing fashion, and are still unbeaten since losing to Pascoe Vale back in Round 10.
Hume City lost to South Melbourne last week, but has otherwise been showing some promising signs to climb up the table to fifth spot.
It will be tough for Hume to bounce back from that defeat this time around, with Jeremy Walker off trialling overseas and a forward line packed full of attacking might to contend with from Oakleigh. Jack Edwards Reserve has been a fortress for Oakleigh this season, with a draw against Northcote its only blemish all season long.
Ballarat Red Devils v Pascoe Vale
3:00pm, Saturday July 19, 2014
It would be crazy for fans to desert Morshead Park after last weekend’s 5-5 thriller. James Robinson’s mid-season signings have already made goalscoring impacts and they will need to be on song in attack again if they are to trouble a stubborn Pascoe Vale defensive unit.
Pascoe has the equal-third best defensive record in the league, a catalyst in their good form this season. But it has been on the slide in recent weeks, losing to the Knights, while only earning a solitary point against Bentleigh Greens and Northcote City.
Games involving Ballarat have generally involved plenty of goals and the hosts should push Pascoe Vale all the way. After all, Pascoe was made to come back from two goals down to snatch a point late on the last time both sides met.
Goulburn Valley Suns v Green Gully SC
6:30pm, Saturday July 19, 2014
The season is quickly slipping away from Goulburn Valley Suns, with last week’s 1-0 to Port Melbourne leaving the side with a mountain to climb if it wants to avoid the drop. It’s been difficult to predict Green Gully’s form this season, and it really depends which unit shows up against GVS on Saturday. Both sides could really use the confidence boost, and a win for either side will certainly boost spirits.
Gully broke its early season losing streak against GVS in Round 6, and would love to repeat the dose this time around.
Dandenong Thunder v Bentleigh Greens
7:00pm, Saturday July 19, 2014
George Andrews Reserve
Dandenong Thunder has a few worries going into this weekend. The side has failed to win in its last five games, and really haven’t troubled the teams at the higher end of the league.
Bentleigh Greens meanwhile come into the game on the back of a Dockerty Cup extra-time 3-2 loss to Melbourne Knights, and will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday night. The Greens looked dangerous with Ryan De Vries looking settled in his return to the club, but fatigue could be a factor for them against the Thunder.
Werribee City v Northcote City
3:00pm, Sunday July 20, 2014
Despite making a raft of mid-season signings, Werribee has continued to struggle, and the only have a win against Port Melbourne, as well as a point away to Heidelberg to show for in their last eight games. In contrast, Northcote is unbeaten in four games, with a point against the resurgent Knights and a win against Bentleigh Greens really headlining its return to form.
Northcote coach Goran Lozanovski believes the next month is crucial to what his side will be playing for come the end of the season, and a win against Werribee would be a perfect tonic to tackle the likes of South Melbourne and Oakleigh in the coming weeks.
South Melbourne v Melbourne Knights
5:00pm, Sunday July 20, 2014
This is undoubtedly the clash of the round, and it is tough to pick a winner. South Melbourne has recovered from its blip against GVS and has since recorded four straight wins, while the Knights are on a winning run of their own.
The mid-week cup win over Bentleigh may have taken a bit out of the Knights’ legs but they will be buoyed by the fact they have never lost at Lakeside Stadium since its redevelopment, as well as the fact they have already won there this season. It promises to be a true battle in the traditional derby.
Heidelberg United v Port Melbourne Sharks
5:00pm, Sunday July 20, 2014
Heidelberg will be disappointed coming off the epic 5-5 draw away in Ballarat, a result which has left the side with plenty of catching up to do. Still, with the league’s best attacking duo in Daniel Heffernan and Kaine Sheppard, goals are essentially guaranteed for Heidelberg, who has scored against every opposition but South Melbourne.
Port Melbourne will have to be on guard to avoid a pasting as they received back in Round 4, but will face the league’s highest scorers with some confidence after recording a vital 1-0 win over GVS last weekend.
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