NPL Match Report: City 4-1 Doveton SC

Melbourne City has pulled off a big win at home in the NPL3, downing Doveton SC 4-1 in an action-packed clash at CFA Casey yesterday thanks to goals from Luke Oresti, Max Caputo, Lucas Byrns and Jordi Valadon.

Starting XI

A host of changes were made from the starting lineup that downed North Sunshine in Round 14, with Moonib Adus and Luke Oresti coming in for Harry Politidis and Lucas Byrns on the wings. Matthew Grimaldi and Alexander Menelaou replaced A-League squad regulars Raphael Borges Rodrigues and Taras Gomulka in midfield, whilst Tim Boke came in for Kerrin Stokes at the heart of defence.

What happened?

With a crucial three points on the line, the City boys couldn’t have asked for a better start, with Luke Oresti netting from outside the area within the first minute of the game. After gliding past opponents to find space at the edge of the box, his left-footed strike stayed low enough to sneak under the keeper and ripple the back of the net.

City maintained possession well in the opening quarter of the game, buoyed by the confidence of their early goal. This restricted Doveton’s shooting opportunities early on, with exception of Rinor Muriqi’s 16th minute strike from just inside the area which flashed narrowly past Matt Sutton’s left post.

It was a case of déjà vu for Muriqi just a few minutes later, once again only able to achieve a close but off-target result with a shot from a near-identical position at the edge of the area.

City came incredibly close to finding a second in the 27th minute, when Max Caputo’s header from the corner was denied by a brilliant diving save from Doveton’s Thomas Avdoulos. Just four minutes later, the home side was denied again when Oresti struck the post with an identical shot from just about the same blade of grass as his early goal.

Muriqi continued to be a thorn in City’s side in the 39th, forcing a brilliant diving save from Sutton to tip the ball outside the post from the close-range free kick. Unfortunately for City, Doveton’s volume of chances reached a tipping point soon after, with Liam McCormick latching on to the clearance from the subsequent corner to beat Sutton from distance.

Following the break, it was City who made the faster start, forcing two important interventions from Avdoulos to first deny Adus from close-range following the corner and then Oresti’s strike from distance just a minute later.

City continued to control the early stages of the second half, with the home side’s next solid chance arriving in the 61st minute when Caputo was able to drive wide into the area and fire off a shot that struck the outside of the upright.

Chances proved harder to come by over the following 20 minutes though, but the deadlock was eventually broken in the 83rd minute when the referee awarded a penalty for a foul on Grimaldi as he drove into the box, with Caputo stepping up to convert with composure.

Just as the game looked to be drawing to a close, City pressed on and nabbed back-to-back goals in stoppage time, with the first arriving through Lucas Byrns at the end of a lightning counterattack and the second scored by Jordi Valadon as he was slipped through one-on-one against Avdoulos in the 93rd minute.

What's next?

City moves to within two points of Doveton in second place thanks to yesterday’s big result, with the boys now looking to continue their recent good form when they take on Box Hill United at home next Sunday.