Melbourne City FC overcame testing conditions to record its second consecutive NPL 1 West victory with a 1-0 win over Dandenong City SC on Saturday afternoon.
Striker Wade Dekker continued his rich vein of goalscoring form, slotting home the only goal of the game inside ten minutes as City endured a rain sodden pitch at Frank Holoran Soccer Complex to register their fourth victory in the last five matches.
Despite wet and windy conditions playing havoc for both sides, it only took eight minutes for Melbourne City FC to take the lead. Dekker’s angled run into the penalty area was met by a lovely pass from Hernan Espindola, and the striker calmly side-footed the ball beyond Damir Salcin to make it 1-0.
Dekker had a golden opportunity to double the advantage in the 17th minute but Melbourne City FC were denied by some brilliant goalkeeping from Salcin. The Dandenong goalkeeper first thwarted Espindola’s dangerous cross with a strong right handed save, before springing to his feet to deny the rebound from Dekker.
Melbourne City FC were dominant in possession throughout the first half and nearly created a second goal out of nothing when Dekker chased down a long clearance from Nick Symeoy. The striker expertly cut inside his marker and played a deft ball to Espindola, whose strike was quickly charged down by Chris Ross and John Carroll.
Dandenong City rarely threatened throughout a testing opening period but managed to produce a half-chance in the 26thminute when Sean Seavill saw his effort blocked by a wall of defenders after capitalising on some pinball inside the City penalty area.
The swirling conditions left Yaren Sozer with a nervy moment in the 32nd minute, but the Melbourne City FC goalkeeper re-adjusted himself well to beat out a cross-come-shot from Seavill. The shot-stopper had to be alert once more on the stroke of half-time, rushing of his area to clear the danger ahead of Keegan Ziada as Dandenong began to work themselves into the contest.
Dandenong City began the second half with a renewed sense of endeavour and nearly equalized only three minutes after the restart when Ziada could only direct a brilliant cross from Andy Jeres wide of the target.
And they were nearly punished immediately up the other end when a long range effort from City skipper Phil Petreski went agonisingly wide of the target with the goalkeeper well beaten.
Melbourne City FC had Sozer to thank for preserving their slender advantage in the 51st minute after the goalkeeper reacted brilliantly to parry a piledriver from Ziada onto the crossbar and prevent what seemed to be a certain goal.
Dandenong City continued to commit numbers forward in search of an equalizer but were unable to break down a resolute Melbourne City FC defence, with Symeoy making a brilliant last-ditch tackle to deny the dangerous Ziada and Jordon Hall making a crucial interception to snuff out an arrowing cross from Carroll.
Luke Gallo seemed to have wrapped up all three points in the 63rd minute after turning home a brilliant centre from Dekker, but his strike was ruled out by the offside flag as City threatened to end the contest with a killer second goal.
Dandenong City were presented with a golden opportunity to level the scores just two minutes from time when Chris Antoniadis gained possession inside the penalty area, but he could only manage to blaze his effort well over the crossbar.
Facing an aerial bombardment in the dying stages of the match, it was Sozer who stood up for Melbourne City FC, showing safe hands to cling onto a header from Shawn Filipovic in stoppage time to earn a second successive clean sheet and victory for his side.
Melbourne City FC 1 (Wade DEKKER 8')
Dandenong City SC 0
Melbourne City FC Line-up: 1. Yaren SOZER, 3. Nick SYMEOY, 4. Jordon HALL, 5. Leo ATHANASIOU, 6. Phil PETRESKI, 7. Hernan ESPINDOLA (Stefan ZINNI 70’), 8. Ratip CILELI, 9. Wade DEKKER, 15. Luke GALLO (Mehdi SARWARI 90’), 16. Matthew MILLAR, 19. Anthony TARANTO.
Substitutes not used: 12. Tom BARFOROSH, 13. Haralambos STAMBOULIDIS, 20. Yianni SKLIROS (GK).
Yellow cards: Petreski 40’
Red cards: nil
Dandenong City FC Line-up: 1. Damir SALCIN, 2. Brad CLARKE, 3. Chris ROSS, 6. John CARROLL (C), 7. Keegan ZIADA, 9. Ashley CATTERMOLE, 10. Sean SEAVILL (Erkhan FILIZ 80’), 11. Andy JERES (Robbie WYNNE 85’), 12. Shawn FILIPOVIC, 14. Chris ANTONIADIS, 18. Chris SANITA
Substitutes not-used: 5. Alex ROJAS, 13. Anthony MIJAC, 42. Anthony CASSET.
Yellow cards; Ziada 18’, Cattermole 72’, Antoniadis 88’
Red cards: nil