NPL Preview: City v Box Hill United

Melbourne City’s senior NPL side will be looking to stretch their unbeaten run of games to start to the 2019 NPL season to five on Saturday when they make the short trip to Wembley Park to take on Box Hill United.

City last week made it four games without defeat after securing a 1-1 draw with a visiting Springvale White Eagles side thanks to a first-half goal from attacker Sam Morrison.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ side, however, will rightly have felt aggrieved to not come away from the contest with all three points after a 91st-minute goal from Ramy Najjarine was egregiously disallowed for offside.  

Despite that misfortune, though, City retained second place on the NPL2 Eastern Conference table heading into round five; two points adrift of table-topping Eastern Lions and a single point clear of third and fourth-placed Langwarrin SC and Northcote City.

This week’s opponents Box Hill United sit in the fifth position on the Eastern Conference table on five points, three back of City.

Box Hill, also known as Pythagoras, last week suffered their first defeat of the young season when they went down 2-1 to Eastern Lions.

Thomas Biss had the Lions ahead in the 38th minute of that contest when he found the back of the net for the third time for the season before Box Hill responded in the 78th minute through Rowan Macnamee.

The Lions, nonetheless, were able to retake the lead in the 84th minute of play when captain Cameron Neales struck to give his side the win.

City and Box Hill met twice during the 2018 NPL Victoria season, with the two sides splitting the season series at a win apiece.

Goals to Dylan Pierias and Gianluca Iannucci propelled City to a 2-0 win over Pythagoras in the first meeting between the two sides in round three, before a 94th-minute strike from Todd Decker in the return fixture stole a 2-1 win for Box Hill in round 21.

City and Box Hill’s U20s are also set to meet in a top-of-the-table clash in the day’s curtain raiser.

Petr Kratky’s City side will be seeking to extend their lead atop the NPL2 U20s Eastern Conference table and make it five wins from five in the clash, whilst Box Hill – three points behind City on the table with three wins and a loss – will be looking to erase the gap between the two atop the table.

Match Details:

NPL Victoria - NPL2 Round Five
Saturday, 16 March 2019
Box Hill United SC v Melbourne City FC
Venue: Wembley Park, Box Hill, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 02:15 pm | Seniors 5:00 pm