Richmond completed a league double over Bulleen with a 1-0 win over the Lions at David Barro Stadium on Monday night meaning three teams will face the threat of relegation heading into the final day.
Pascoe Vale 1 (Lazarides 19') South Melbourne 4 (Lujic 39', 42', pen 61', Schroen 90')
A Milos Lujic hat-trick saw South Melbourne earn an impressive 4-1 away win over the in-form Pascoe Vale at a rain-soaked CB Smith Reserve on Friday night.
The evening got off to a good start for the home side who opened the scoring inside the opening twenty minutes when winger Matthew Lazarides was played through and made no mistake with the finish as beat Nikola Roganovic for his third goal of the season.
That was as good as it got for the hosts as Leigh Minopoulos was brought down in the box by Adam Nakic with the Rams defender receiving his marching orders allowing Milos Lujic to step up from the spot and net home at the second attempt after Alex Pavlidis saved the initial spot-kick.
Minopoulos turned provider once more when he assisted Lujic for the second to hand South the lead at the break. Lujic then won another penalty in the second half after Pavlidis brought him down and being shown a red for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity with the league’s leading goalscorer making no mistake from the penalty spot this time around.
Lujic then earned his side another penalty which was taken by Nick Epifano all the wide forward was unable to break his 12 game scoring drought with his penalty saved by Dennis Martin.
A fourth was added to the scoreline in stoppage time as Marcus Schroen scored goal number four of his season to seal an emphatic victory which takes South above rivals Heidelberg heading into their final game of the regular season at home against Green Gully next Sunday.
Port Melbourne Sharks 1 (Kelly 51') Hume City 0
The Port Melbourne Sharks have ensured their status in the top flight with their first win in ten outings following a 1-0 victory over Hume City at JL Murphy Reserve on Friday night. With the Sharks held scoreless in their previous three league meetings, it was perhaps not surprising to see the visitors have much of the early running with a Nick Hegarty ball into the area turned goalwards by youngster Kristian Trajceski only for the 17 year-old to be denied by an alert Peter Gavalas.
Tom Cahill then missed two good opportunities to give his side the lead heading into the break as he shot over the bar on both occasions. The only goal of the night came shortly after the resumption of play as a corner into the area was not dealt with by City goalkeeper Jordan Franken – who started in place of the suspended Chris Oldfield – with the ball bouncing back of the crossbar and into the path of the on-rushing Shaun Kelly who headed home from close range to give the hosts a surprise lead.
The setback seemed to spark Dean Hennessey’s side into action as Nick Hegarty saw his attempt smartly saved by Gavalas while David Stirton tried his luck from range only to be thwarted by Franken. Hegarty was not going to give up without a fight as the Hume captain sent in two further efforts before the end of the 90 without much luck as both shots went wide of goal.
The final whistle came not long after as players, coaches and supporters from the home side celebrated with joy at a precious victory which confirmed the Sharks NPL status for at least another season.
Green Gully 2 (Boland 28' Jones 48') Melbourne Victory 1 (Waring 82')
Green Gully made it three wins from their last three competitive outings as a 2-1 home triumph over the already relegated Melbourne Victory helped consolidate their stranglehold on fourth place on the competition standings.
Unsurprisingly it was the hosts who had much of the early running as Todd Dekker saw a goal ruled out for offside while Jay Davies was unable to make full usage of a Liam Boland knock-down by firing wide of the target.
The deadlock was soon broken and in some style when FFA Cup hero scored his third goal in as many matches – and his 12th overall this season - with a spectacular long range free-kick putting Arthur Papas’ men in front heading into the half-time interval.
A second goal was added minutes into the second period when defender and club captain Daniel Jones turned and finished from close range to compound Victory Youth’s misery. The goal did however sprung the visitors into the life as James Xydias pounced upon a Gully defensive error only to place his shot wide off target in his attempts to reduce the deficit.
The lead was halved late on in the contest when Victory grabbed a goal back as former Joeys forward Pierce Waring finished off from a Lucas Derrick cross for his second of the campaign.
That goal proved to be a mere consolation and couldn’t dampen Gully’s joy post game just days after the Keilor East based club learned their FFA Cup Round of 16 fate as they were paired off against near neighbours Melbourne Knights.
Northcote City 2 (Crowley pen 53' Papadimitriou 71') Bentleigh Greens 1 (Webster 45')
Northcote City dug deep to keep their survival hopes alive after producing an upset come-from-behind victory over ladder leaders the Bentleigh Greens on Saturday afternoon at John Cain Memorial Reserve.
A curling free-kick from reigning Gold Medalist Kamal Ibrahim eventually found its way to Jack Webster but the Englishman’s close range shot was saved well by the scrambling Phil Petrovski.
Up the other end, in-form former Newcastle Jets forward Braedyn Crowley tested Ryan Scott with a shot on target from outside the box before Ibrahim fluffed his lines after being played through by Tyson Holmes.
The former Sharks midfielder made amends seconds before the half-time whistle when his driving run into the area saw him tee up Webster who netted goal number five of his campaign. A handball in the box from Greens defender Ross Archibald saw Crowley step up and slot the ball home from the spot for his 13th goal in 18 league games and in the process put City on level terms.
One became two soon after as the relegation strugglers edged in front after a Todd Norris knock-down was poked into the back of the net by James Papadimitriou with the goal taking the former Zebras forward into double figures for the year following his mid-season move from Moreland.
Northcote hang on to temporarily postpone Bentleigh’s title celebrations which will have to wait another week as the hosts gave themselves a fighting chance of avoiding drop as they prepare for a do-or-die battle away to the Oakleigh Cannons next Sunday.
Avondale 5 (Germano 14' 61' Symeoy 37' Berkant 44' Kraphko 49') Melbourne Knights 0
Jonatan Germano’s fourth brace in the space of a month has helped Avondale dismantle a depleted Melbourne Knights 5-0 on Sunday afternoon at Knights Stadium.
The Avengers were looking to complete the league double over their co-tenants at Somers Street having prevailed over their hosts 3-1 earlier in the season.
With the Knights still on a high following their mid-week FFA Cup triumph, the scoring was opened inside the opening 15 minutes as Germano tapped home from close range to edge Avondale ahead. Full-back Nick Symeoy then doubled his side’s lead with his third goal of the year – his previous two also coming against the Knights – with a well taken finish past Fraser Chalmers.
Fellow youngster Jem Berkant added a third on the stroke of half-time as the former Green Gully midfielder after smashing the ball home at the near post.
Ukrainian-born forward got the scoring rolling in the second half with his third goal of the campaign after a number of near misses in the opening half.
Germano then rounded off his double on the hour mark with what was his 14th goal of the campaign to heap more misery on the fatigued opposition as Avondale recorded their fourth consecutive victory thanks partly to the contribution of their Argentine star.
Heidelberg United 0 Oakleigh Cannons 0
Archie Thompson’s debut for Heidelberg United finished in a stalemate as the Bergers were held to a 0-0 draw at home to the Oakleigh Cannons on Sunday afternoon.
A four figure crowd flooded the turnstiles at Olympic Village as the hosts brought the former Socceroos striker into the starting eleven in place of suspended forward and top goalscorer Kenny Athiu.
A cagey opening half saw both sides struggle to create any clear cut opportunities on goal with home-team goalkeeper Chris Theodoridis alert when called into action to deny Dusan Bosnjak from opening the scoring.
The game’s defining moment came just after the hour mark when Heidelberg substitute Harry Noon played a clever through ball into the path of Thompson who managed to beat the offside trap but unable to get the ball past Cannons custodian John Honos, with the veteran producing a good save to deny the former Victory attacker’s clever dink from going goal wards.
With the game evenly poised and heading for a dire scoreless tie, former Northcote pair Dean Piemonte and Adrian Chiappetta linked up from the free-kick, but the defender’s flick on went just wide of Theodoridis’ goal as the former City trio exchange pleasantries post game.
Failure to obtain three points saw Heidelberg concede second place to rivals South Melbourne heading into the final round of the regular season although consolation can be found in the fact that the result saw the Bergers finish the campaign undefeated at home for the first time since 1969.
Bulleen Lions 0 Richmond 1 (Roorda 58')
A quiet opening half saw both sides unwilling to take any risks as both seemed comfortable with the scoreline. Star Richmond winger Alex Caniglia had the best chance of the first half only to see his effort well saved by Griffin McMaster in Lions goal.
The away side grabbed the lead just before the hour when a foul on Hamlet Armenian just outside the box from Ersin Kaya saw Dutchman Geert-Arend Roorda step up and place his free-kick past McMaster with the former Netherlands youth international netting his third of the season.
Japanese attacker Takanori Nishimoto almost opened the scorer only for his header to be denied by a superb save from Richmond’s Frenchman goalkeeper Tony Foglia as Bulleen searched for an immediate response.
Dominic Barba brought on former Newcastle Jet Joshua Barresi in attempt to turn the game and the substitute almost made an immediate impact only for his shot on the turn to be deflected wide for a corner.
Late drama saw Richmond coach Rick Mensink punted from the technical area although he was all smiles minutes later as the final whistle went with the 2015 NPL1 Champions moving into 12th, one point behind Bulleen and two ahead of Northcote heading into the final game of the season.
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