PS4 NPL Victoria Preview: Round 9

It's a battle of the battlers in Round 9 of PlayStation 4 NPL Victoria as an out of sorts Northcote hosts a North Geelong side that has had five losses in a row.

Port Melbourne Sharks v Werribee City
8.15pm, Friday, April 17, 2015
JL Murphy Reserve, Port Melbourne
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎PMvWC ‪#‎PS4NPLVIC

When Port Melbourne fires, it fires. If it’s on its game tonight, Werribee City could be in for a long night. But the problem Eric Vassiliadis’ men are facing is consistency.

While they’ve had some impressive results this season, they can’t seem to find any regular form, as seen in last week’s loss to Dandenong Thunder.

The Sharks do have proven performers in their side, but have had games where they’ve struggled to find the target. This game could prove a potential banana skin for the hosts as a tricky Werribee City side comes to town.

Werribee has yet to win a game, but it hasn’t been losing by much.

The visitors come into this game having not lost by more than one goal so far this season; and one can only get the feeling that it’s only a matter of time until Nino Ragusa’s men get their first win.


Melbourne Knights v Green Gully
8.30pm, Friday, April 17, 2015
Knights Stadium, Sunshine North
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎MKvGG #PS4NPLVIC

It’s been a tough week for Green Gully, coming off the wrong end of a heavy 8-2 thrashing by Heidelberg United, and then getting knocked out of the FFA Cup by NPL 1 side Kingston City.

This week’s task won’t be any easier, coming up against a resilient Melbourne Knights that will no doubt be motivated by last week’s loss to arch rivals South Melbourne. Green Gully’s form has been slipping, culminating in last week’s heavy loss.

Gully isn’t a side that is known to leak goals consistently, but when it does have an off day, it’s bad; 14 of its 21 goals conceded have come in two games. It is now equal with Northcote City as having conceded the most goals across the league.

Knights will be motivated with two losses in important games over the last three weeks against Bentleigh and South Melbourne. It hasn’t won in three weeks, and coach Chris Taylor will need to lift his boys before the mini-slump turns into anything more.


Avondale FC v Dandenong Thunder
3.00pm, Saturday, April 18, 2015
Avondale Heights Reserve, Avondale Heights
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎AFCvDT #PS4NPLVIC

Is Avondale starting to hit form? Three wins from its last four games suggest so, and its only loss in the last month has come via a 90th minute capitulation. It is too early to suggest that Avondale will go on a 15-game undefeated streak like it did in the NPL 1 last year, but it is making progress.

On the other hand, Dandenong Thunder’s defeat of Port Melbourne last week could prove a turning point in its season. Prior to that, Dandenong had five losses in a row and was firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.

Last week it was 17-year-old Yusuf Ahmed who earned Dandenong the win. This week, he’ll be up against a tough Avondale defence consisting of Michele Crazia and co that has conceded the least goals of any side in the bottom half of the table.


Northcote City v North Geelong Warriors
3.00pm, Saturday, April 18, 2015
John Cain Memorial Reserve, Thornbury
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎NCvNGW #PS4NPLVIC

Northcote should have had a win last week, but Oakleigh taught City a lesson in playing for 90 minutes. Its late capitulation denied it breaking a winless streak which has now stretched to four games.

Meanwhile, the Warriors should have picked up a point in their last game against Avondale FC, but were stung when a dramatic injury time equaliser was ruled out. It's been the story of the season for the visitors as almost all their losses have been by a margin of only one goal.

Micky Colina's men have shown promise, and if Northcote isn't careful, this game could be the game where the Warriors end their losing streak.


Hume City v South Melbourne
7.00pm, Saturday, April 18, 2015
ABD Stadium, Broadmeadows Valley Park, Broademadows
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎HCvSM #PS4NPLVIC

On its day, Hume can play like one of the top teams in the competition. It didn't show that last week against Bentleigh, as it went down 1-0 to the Greens.

Bentleigh jagged a penalty in the first half, and Louie Acevski's men couldn't break down a tough defence for the rest of the game. It'll have its work cut out against a strong South Melbourne side that will be spurred on by both a win against arch rivals Melbourne Knights last weekend, and a midweek 8-0 thrashing of North Sunshine Eagles in Victoria's FFA Cup qualifying.

The hosts have it all to do against the undefeated South, who currently sits in third place with a game in hand. The 2014 champions have only dropped points against leaders Heidelberg and second-placed Bentleigh.

But Chris Taylor's men will need to en garde and ready for Nick Hegarty, Jai Ingham and co, who have proved dangerous when given room to play their game.


Oakleigh Cannons v Heidelberg United
5.45pm, Sunday, April 19, 2015
Jack Edwards Reserve, Oakleigh
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, ‪#‎OCvNC #PS4NPLVIC

Heidelberg comes into this game with one of the biggest wins that the NPL has seen under its belt, after defeating Green Gully 2-8 away from home last week.

The goal glut was led by four goals to Andreas Govas, and a goal each to Kaine Sheppard, Necj Kolman, Jakob Williams, and Kenny Athiu. It’s surely a terrifying result for an Oakleigh side that has underachieved so far this season, and whose only win has come via a last second winner against Avondale FC.

But Oakleigh has shown signs of improvement over the last few weeks, with draws against Melbourne Knights and Northcote City. Perhaps the worst is behind Miron Bleiberg’s side, but Sunday evening will prove a tough test against a deadly table-topping Heidelberg side.


Pascoe Vale v Bentleigh Greens * DELAYED
8.30pm Wednesday, June 3, 2015
CB Smith Reserve, Fawkner



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