PS4 NPL Victoria Preview: Round 4

Pascoe Vale and Northcote City kick off Round 4 desperate to secure their first points of the season.

*Round 3 of the NPL Victoria is being played midweek across the next month.

Pascoe Vale v Northcote City
8.30pm, Friday March 6, 2015
CB Smith Reserve, Fawkner
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #PVvNC #PS4NPLVIC


Both sides come into this game without a point to their names. It's been a tough start to the season for Pascoe Vale with two away games, but tonight sees the opening of its new facility in CB Smith Reserve, a state of the art complex which has had $6.4 million poured into making it a world-class facility.

Paco will be hoping to bounce back from a disappointing result against Port Melbourne, where two goals in the second half resigned them to defeat.

The home side will also be looking for its first goal of the season, having yet to score in its two games played.

Northcote's second half last week was just as poor, conceding the first goal just seconds after the restart, before a goal in the 70th minute sealed the result for the Knights.

The visitors will need to tighten up a leaky defence which has shipped six goals in two games.


Avondale FC v Port Melbourne
3.00pm, Saturday March 7, 2015
Avondale Heights Reserve, Avondale Heights
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #AFCvPM #PS4NPLVIC


Avondale FC has had a tough introduction to life in the NPL, with two losses to start off their campaign.

The newly-promoted side plays its first game at home, and it needs a result here to kick-start its season.

Coach Anthony Barbieri needs to make sure his team is switched on for the entire 90 minutes, with all five goals, over two games, conceded in the second half.

Meanwhile Port Melbourne will hope to continue its form, having defeated both Hume City and Pascoe Vale in its first two weeks.

Forward Kamal Ibrahim has been in inspired form, scoring two goals in two games, and being singled out by match reporters in both games as the man-of-the-match.

Avondale's fullbacks will need to be wary of a forward line that has the pace of Ibrahim, and the clinical finishing of Trent Rixon.


North Geelong Warriors v Melbourne Knights             
5.00pm, Saturday March 7, 2015
Elcho Park, Lara
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #NGWvMK #PS4NPLVIC

Last round:                           
Green Gully 1 - 6 North Geelong Warriors
Melbourne Knights 2 - 0 Northcote City


The last time these two teams played against each other was a month ago in the locally-run Victorian-Croatian Cup.

On that occasion, North Geelong ran out 3-1 winners, but it's not preseason anymore.

North Geelong has had a difficult start to the season, playing Bentleigh Greens and South Melbourne in its first two games, before a midweek fixture on Wednesday night.

The home side may be weary, having played on Wednesday night against Green Gully in its midweek fixture from Round 3.

They might be tired, but they'll be mentally boosted by the 6-1 demolition of Gully away from home, and they'll be hoping to continue that form at Elcho Park on Saturday afternoon.

An in-form Melbourne Knights team won't be an easy assignment, and Micky Colina's men will need to be ready for an attacking line-up of Stipo Andrijasevic, Adrian Zahra, and Andrew Barisic, which has already caused problems for Avondale Heights and Northcote City.

The Knights have yet to play away from home, and it'll be interesting to see whether the trip to Geelong plays a factor in their performance.


Dandenong Thunder v Green Gully
7.00pm, Saturday March 7, 2015
George Andrews Reserve, Dandenong
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #DTvGG #PS4NPLVIC


Some torrid weather ended Dandenong's match against Bentleigh Greens early last week, with the lights going out in the 85th minute.

But the home side showed a lot of promise, only conceding a second goal just minutes before the lights went out.

Thunder will be hoping to bounce back this week against a Green Gully side that was embarrassed midweek by newly promoted North Geelong Warriors.

Gully conceded six on Wednesday night, and coach Bob Stojcevski will have to go back to the drawing board to mentally bring his troops back from that kind of loss.

He'll be hoping to draw on his first two games of the season, where Gully recorded wins against Oakleigh and Northcote.

Both displays in Rounds 1 and 2 were impressive, with Green Gully putting four past an ailing Northcote City, before following up with a solid 1-0 win over Oakleigh.

Fitness could play a factor in this one, with Gully playing its third match in seven days.


Werribee City v South Melbourne
3.00pm, Sunday March 8, 2015
Galvin Park, Werribee
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #WCvSM #PS4NPLVIC


Werribee will be hoping to build on its first point of the season on Wednesday night, when it held on to earn a draw at Bentleigh Greens.

Fatigue could play a factor for Werribee here, given the three-day turnaround since their mid-week fixture.

They'll be facing a tough ask against South Melbourne, with the visitors coming to Werribee having taken all six possible points so far this season.

South comes into this game buoyed by its defensive record, just one of two sides that is yet to concede this season.

Part of that comes from goalkeeper Nikola Roganovic, who will be on a high after his second clean sheet in a row.

His performance in week one left South fans salivating, saving his side's bacon at the end of the match.

Werribee's forward line will have its work cut out for it to try break through South's defence, and get past the wall in Roganovic.


Heidelberg United v Bentleigh Greens
4.00pm, Sunday, March 8, 2015
Olympic Village, Heidelberg West
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #HUvBG #PS4NPLVIC


If we're using Werribee City as a litmus test for these two sides, there's not much separating them.

Heidelberg scraped past Werribee in Round 2 with a late goal to earn the Bergers all three points.

It took an 80th minute winner from substitute Andrew Cartanos to steal the game from Werribee.

The 'Bees backed up on Wednesday night against Bentleigh Greens and almost took all three points, but a late indirect free kick spared Bentleigh's blushes.

Last season, Heidelberg and Bentleigh's clashes were more than entertaining, with eight goals over the two encounters.

If both teams are on song, we could see another cracker at Olympic Village.

It's also worth noting that Sunday is International Women's Day, and Heidelberg United is giving all women free entry to the game.


Oakleigh Cannons v Hume City
5.15pm, Sunday March 8, 2015
Jack Edwards Reserve, Oakleigh
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #OCvHC #PS4NPLVIC


Oakleigh needs a win on Sunday. If it doesn't get the three points, there's the potential of a nine-point gap after just three weeks, making any potential title challenge very tough.

It hasn't lost by large margins by any means, with two 1-0 losses away from home, but the club needs someone to find his scoring boots, and quickly.

Along with Pascoe Vale, Oakleigh is the only side yet to have scored a goal in the top tier. They've been creating chances, but they need to start putting the ball in the net.

Hume have had no such problems, looking dangerous going forward in both their games so far. Louie Acevski will be hoping his side can kick on from its 2-0 win against Avondale FC, but plays its first game away from home.

Whether or not that makes a difference, we will see.


Keep up-to-date with all the NPL Victoria news, video, features and more via the official website, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels.