A preview of all of the Round 12 fixtures in PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria.
Bentleigh Greens v Northcote City
8.15pm, Friday May 8, 2015
Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, Cheltenham
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #BGvNC #PS4NPLVIC
Northcote City travels to Kingston Heath to face a very strong Bentleigh Greens side that has managed 13 points in its last five games. Its only blemish over the last month is a draw against Green Gully more than a month ago, and a difficult midweek loss to Ballarat Red Devils in Round 5 of the Westfield FFA Cup.
That loss has driven Johnny Anastasiadis and his lads to push on in the NPL, given it’s the only competition they’re still currently involved in. Bentleigh sits second in the table with a game in hand, and is still undefeated.
Northcote, sitting ninth, will have its work cut out. While they’ve suffered some big losses, Goran Lozanovski’s boys have shown signs of turning their season around. But wins against Werribee City and North Geelong Warriors count for little when losing 6-1 to 12th placed Dandenong Thunder.
If Northcote is to steer clear of the drop zone, it needs to keep grinding results from the bigger teams.
South Melbourne v Avondale FC
8.15pm, Friday May 8, 2015
Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #SMvAFC #PS4NPLVIC
Three games in seven days could take its toll on Avondale. After a 0-2 loss at home against Bentleigh Greens last Saturday, Friday’s visitors backed it up on Tuesday night with a win over Port Melbourne in Round 5 of the Westfield FFA Cup.
While the result would mentally give Avondale a boost, having to play 120 minutes of football and partake in a penalty shootout three days out from facing the undefeated South Melbourne will be tough. How Anthony Barbieri adapts his regular high-energy, high-pressing game will be crucial.
Chris Taylor’s side goes into this game after salvaging a late draw against Port Melbourne last Friday night. South chased that game for the majority of the second half, before a late equaliser salvaged a point and kept its undefeated streak alive. How Taylor rallies his troops after a performance like that will influence proceedings on Friday night.
Melbourne Knights v Pascoe Vale
8.30pm, Friday May 8, 2015
Knights Stadium, Sunshine North
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #MKvPV #PS4NPLVIC
Melbourne Knights goalkeeper Chris May proved the hero last week in a 0-0 draw against Hume City. His performance was magnificent in earning his side a point, keeping Hume at bay.
But what’s troubling for the Knights is that they haven’t scored in 200 minutes of football, since the second goal in a 2-0 win over Green Gully in Round 9. Knights coach Andrew Marth will need to push his side to get an early goal and end that streak as soon as possible.
Meanwhile Pascoe Vale has improved drastically since the start of the season. It’s gone from a team that didn’t win in its first four games, to just sitting outside of finals by goal difference, with a game in hand. Paco will be gunning for a clean sheet on Friday night, having not kept one since early April.
Green Gully v Port Melbourne
3.00pm, Saturday May 9, 2015
Green Gully Reserve, Keilor Downs
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #GGvPM #PS4NPLVIC
After an incredible start to the season, Port Melbourne has fallen away, with two points from its last five games. Green Gully isn’t any better, having failed to notch a single point in its last five games.
The Sharks kicked off their year with a strong 3-1 win over Hume City, and just a month ago looked to be kicking on with 4-0 wins over both Oakleigh and North Geelong. Last Friday night was Port’s chance to start again, but a late equaliser from South Melbourne quashed its chance of inflicting the 2014 champion with its first defeat of the season.
Tuesday night was another disappointment for Port, having fought back twice to take its Round 5 Westfield FFA Cup game against Avondale FC to extra time and penalties. If the hosts can manage the same resilience and enthusiasm on Friday as they have in their last two games, they have every chance of inflicting yet another defeat on a Green Gully side that’s looked helpless.
It hasn’t won in two months, since a 2-5 win over Dandenong Thunder away from home. With rumours of turbulence in the playing ranks over the last week, how Gully reacts on Saturday will be interesting.
Hume City v Heidelberg United
7.00pm, Saturday May 9, 2015
ABD Stadium, Valley Park, Broadmeadows
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #HCvHU #PS4NPLVIC
For a side that had potential to be a wrecking force in the NPL, Hume City has underperformed so far. Louie Acevski’s biggest problem is the lack of a consistent goalscorer, and that’s where next week’s transfer window will prove crucial.
While Hume can score goals, proving that in a 5-0 demolition of Northcote, and putting four goals past North Geelong, it has struggled over the last month. His strikers have only scored twice in their last five games.
That could be a problem against a table-topping Heidelberg side. Last week, Heidelberg drew against the bottom-placed North Geelong, but it wasn’t for a want of trying. A flurry of saves from North Geelong’s keeper and hitting the post twice kept the ‘Bergers scoreless. If there was any complacency involved from the ladder leaders, they need to shake it off before they face a sleeping giant that could awaken at any moment.
Dandenong Thunder v North Geelong Warriors
7.00pm, Saturday May 9, 2015
George Andrews Reserve, Dandenong
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #DTvNGW #PS4NPLVIC
Micky Colina’s men need to build on last week’s draw against ladder leaders Heidelberg if they’re to have any chance of salvaging their season. With just four points at almost the halfway point of the season, North Geelong is already five points away from safety.
This game will be crucial on closing that gap as they face an inconsistent Dandenong Thunder side, sitting just outside the relegation zone. Dandenong has shown promise; its youngsters have started to mature over the last month with a big win over Northcote last week, and a solid 1-0 win over Port Melbourne. Yusuf Ahmed has run riot for the Thunder, proving to be a revelation for Dandenong.
If the Warriors are to get something from this game, the defence will need to shut him down as they did Kaine Sheppard last week.
Werribee City v Oakleigh Cannons
3.00pm Sunday, May 10, 2015
Galvin Park, Werribee
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #WCvOC #PS4NPLVIC
Oakleigh is on its way back up. Last year’s runner-up had a difficult start to the year, and a month ago was firmly rooted to the foot of the table. But two wins in the last two weeks has seen Oakleigh jump clear of relegation and into 10th spot, just four points shy of finals football.
How much of that comes down to new coach Arthur Papas remains to be seen, but the telling point is that the side has started to score goals; 10 goals scored in its last five games, compared to just two goals scored in its first five games. This week, Oakleigh faces a Werribee side that is yet to register a win this year.
The next three weeks will be telling for Werribee, facing lower-table sides until they come up against Heidelberg United, Bentleigh Greens, and South Melbourne in consecutive weeks. Getting nine points out of their next three games is crucial for the Bees as they look to get out relegation.
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