It’s the second game of Melbourne City’s four match homestand this Saturday – as they host NPL2 West Side Bendigo City in round 19 of the PS4 NPL2 Season.
Despite rebounding from a disappointing first half performance - that saw them physically bullied by a bigger and stronger Dandenong City side - to be dominating the match by the final whistle; Melbourne City suffered a one nil defeat in round 18.
The result kept City in third position on the NPL2 Eastern Conference table - with the challenge of overhauling the promotion positions becoming an increasingly daunting task with Dandenong City 11 points clear on top of the table and the Dandenong Thunder six points clear in second.
Compounding matters, both Dandenong sides also hold a game in hand over City.
The dropped points also enabled City’s pursuers to make up ground on their position. Murray United’s win over the Eastern Lions saw them move to only one point back of City in fourth – whilst the Goulburn Valley Suns nil all draw with Box Hill United moved them to three points back of City in fifth position.
City haven’t won a game since their one nil defeat of Moreland City (Currently third on the NPL2 Western Conference Table) on April 29 – with their six games since resulting in four draws and two losses.
Also of concern to City would be their inability to hit the scoresheet first – another feat they haven’t managed since the one nil victory over Moreland City.
In more positive news however, City’s talent stocks took a major boost last week with Dylan Pierias and Denis Genreau making cameos off the bench - with Pierias being particular impressive in his half an hour shift.
A number of youth boys were also able to get the chance of a lifetime earlier in the week when Gerrie Sylaidos, Lucas Derrick, Lucas Portelli and Josh Cavallo trained with the Brazilian national side, the Seleção, at their Lakeside training base before their game with the Socceroos.
Round 19 however should also provide City with the medicine for their woes in form when Bendigo City FC come to visit.
The regional side sit rooted to the bottom of the NPL2 Western Conference – their only point on the season coming from a draw with bottom placed NPL2 Eastern Conference side Richmond – with a goal difference of -72 and 15 points behind ninth placed Werribee City FC.
The regional side have conceded 81 goals this season – 34 more than the next worse team (Richmond) in the NPL2.
Bendigo had their best chance of a win on the season just last week, when they hosted Moreland City. Three first half goals to Kevin Walker, Lachlan Beever and Anthony Marafioti looked set to give Bendigo the win – before Moreland scored four unanswered to consign Bendigo to yet another loss.
This weekend’s game will kick off at 3pm on pitch one at LaTrobe University – with City and Bendigo’s U20 playing a curtain raiser than begins at 12:30pm.
NPL Victoria - Round 19
Melbourne City vs Bendigo City FC
Saturday June 17, LaTrobe University (Pitch One), Bundoora
Seniors: 3pm Under 20’s: 12.30pm