PS4 NPL Victoria Preview: Round 18

This weekend marks the One Goal Round, raising awareness of the fight against child malnutrition. Clubs across Victoria are being encouraged to take positive action, promote the One Goal campaign, and assist in fundraising activities.

Port Melbourne v Northcote City
8.15pm, Friday, June 26, 2015
JL Murphy Reserve, Port Melbourne
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎PMvNC ‪#‎PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Port Melbourne 0 – 3 Avondale FC
Northcote 1 - 3 Pascoe Vale


Last time they met:
Northcote City 2 - 1 Port Melbourne

After four straight losses, Port Melbourne needs a win to get its season back on track and salvage its finals hopes. Both teams come into Friday night on 19 points, but Port only has one point from a possible 15 in its last five games.

Meanwhile Northcote has six from a possible 15, but its biggest problem - as has been all season - is consistency. It’s struggled to string two wins together in a long time, but Goran Lozanovski has a big chance on Friday night to stake a claim for finals.

However, both sides still have a long way to go before they can even consider finals football: seven points to be exact. With nine rounds left in the regular season, it’s possible but they will need to mount a run starting tonight.


Oakleigh Cannons v Pascoe Vale
8.30pm, Friday, June 26, 2015
Jack Edwards Reserve, Oakleigh
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎OCvPV #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Hume City 1 - 0 Oakleigh Cannons
Northcote City 1 – 3 Pascoe Vale


Last time they met:
Pascoe Vale 2 - 3 Northcote City

It’s hard to know whether last week’s loss to Hume City was the end of the Papas-led Oakleigh resurgence, or rather just a brief snag after a tricky midweek FFA Cup encounter. But all will become clear tonight as seventh-placed Oakleigh takes on sixth-placed Pascoe Vale.

There’s a gap of five points between the two sides, but a win here will bring Oakleigh within touching distance of finals football. Pascoe Vale found its scoring boots last week, putting three past a tricky Northcote City outfit, but prior to that hadn’t scored more than a goal in a game over the last month.

Meanwhile Oakleigh has been playing good football, with new signing Mirjan Pavlovic well and truly finding his feet against Melbourne Knights in a 4-1 win. He’ll need to be on top form if he’s to help Oakleigh make a late push for finals.


North Geelong Warriors v Hume City 
3.00pm, Saturday, June 27, 2015
Elcho Park, Lara
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #NGWvHC #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Melbourne Knights 2 - 0 North Geelong Warriors
Hume City 1 - 0 Oakleigh Cannons


Last time they met:
Hume City 4 - 3 North Geelong Warriors

After a win a fortnight ago, North Geelong was thrown a tricky encounter against Melbourne Knights last week. Despite conceding two against a strong Knights outfit in the opening half hour, the Warriors were not poor by any means. They’ll be boosted by the knowledge they could score three away at Hume City the first time around.

This time, the Warriors are at home and are playing a Hume City that faced a difficult midweek assignment in their FFA Cup qualifier against Kingston City. But putting aside any potential fatigue, Louie Acevski’s side has been solid. 

Hume has lifted its game over the second half of the season, partly due to the overhaul of its strike force. New signing Theo Markelis especially proved his worth midweek, scoring a brace against Kingston City. If his form continues in Saturday, North Geelong’s defence will need to be especially wary.


Dandenong Thunder v Melbourne Knights
7.00pm, Saturday, June 27, 2015
George Andrews Reserve, Dandenong
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #DTvMK #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Green Gully 6 - 1 Dandenong Thunder
Melbourne Knights 2 - 0 North Geelong Warriors


Last time they met:
Melbourne Knights 1 - 0 Dandenong Thunder

With one point in five weeks, Dandenong Thunder is in trouble. Stuart Munro’s boys are sitting in 13th in one of two automatic relegation spots, and with a big loss last week to 11th-placed Green Gully, it’s hard to see them getting out.

Its saving grace has been the revelation of another crop of youngsters in Yusuf Ahmed, Jarod Blackbourne, among others. They’ll need a miracle to get a result out of a strong Melbourne Knights side has firmly established itself as a side that will be playing finals football come the end of the season.

The biggest issue Andrew Marth’s side is facing at the moment is an injured Chris May, with the first choice custodian struggling with a broken finger. However, that wasn’t a problem last week with the goalkeeper still taking the field, and even keeping a clean sheet in the process.

If he can keep Dandenong’s lively, young attackers at bay, he should lead the Knights to another win.


Werribee City v Green Gully 
3.00pm, Sunday, June 28, 2015
Galvin Park, Werribee
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎WCvGG #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
South Melbourne 1 – 0 Werribee City
Green Gully 6 - 1 Dandenong Thunder


Last time they met:
Green Gully 1 - 1 Werribee City

Green Gully will play another relegation six-pointer for the second week in a row. A win here will put the history-rich side eight points clear of the playoff relegation place, and with eight games to go, almost safe. But despite a solid performance last week against Dandenong Thunder, a win isn’t assured.

Werribee has had two tough games in a row against Bentleigh Greens and South Melbourne, and will be relieved to be playing against someone from the same part of the table as itself. If it is to get a result, it will need to contain a Gully side that ran rampant last week with braces to Matthew Breeze, Alon Blumgart, and Liam Boland.


Heidelberg United v Avondale FC
4.00pm, Sunday, June 28, 2015
Olympic Village, Heidelberg West
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎HUvAFC #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
Bentleigh Greens 4 – 0 Heidelberg United
Port Melbourne 0 - 3 Avondale FC


Last time they met:
Avondale FC 0 - 1 Heidelberg United

After three draws, Avondale got its first win in a month against Port Melbourne last week. It wasn’t just any win though, it was a clinical 3-0 win over a side that it couldn’t crack the first time around.

This week they’ll face a Heidelberg United side that comes off the back of a heavy 4-0 loss to Bentleigh Greens. It was always going to be a tough assignment with the Bergers missing forward Kaine Sheppard and goalkeeper Griffin McMaster, as well as midfield maestro Andreas Govas starting on the bench. The task was made even harder after the loss of Dan Heffernan to injury.

But it didn’t stop them running rampant against Goulburn Valley Suns midweek, qualifying for the FFA Cup Round of 32 with a 5-1 win. With this being Heidelberg’s third match in 10 days, fatigue could play a factor on Sunday night, but Avondale will still need to be at its best in order to get a result, and keep its finals hopes alive.


South Melbourne v Bentleigh Greens
5.00pm, Sunday, June 21, 2015
Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#SMvBG #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:
South Melbourne 1 - 0 Werribee City
Bentleigh Greens 4 – 0 Heidelberg United


Last time they met:
Bentleigh Greens 2 - 2 South Melbourne

For the second week in a row, Bentleigh Greens will play in a top-of-the-table clash. There were no issues last week with John Anastasiadis’ men comfortably dispatching of Heidelberg United.

A win here will see Bentleigh go four points clear, and in the box seat to sew up the PlayStation 4 NPL National Finals spot. It won’t be as easy as Heidleberg seemed last week, but despite four wins from its last five league games, South hasn’t been in stellar form.

The last two have been workman-like performance against cellar dwellers Werribee City and Dandenong Thunder, grounding out 1-0 results in both cases. On the other hand, Bentleigh has been immaculate; its only blip in the last five games coming with a draw against Pascoe Vale.

With two teams in good form coming together, Sunday is set to be a season-defining moment in 2015.


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