Melbourne City will look to get back into the winner’s circle on Saturday when they play host to Eastern Conference adversaries Box Hill United SC in round 15 of the PS4 NPL2 season.
Despite going down 4-2 to the Dandenong Thunder in their round 14 clash, City will be hoping to see the late efforts that saw them grab two late goals - a Jordan Hall header and an Austin Wong long range thunderbolt - and threaten for a third - a long-range effort from captain Ali Eyigun -continue over to this weeks game.
The fightback also featured a late cameo from the returning Gerrie Sylaidos. His period on the pitch saw a marked improvement in the play of City, with coach Lachlan Armstrong saying: “I thought it was no coincidence that when Gerrie was on the field we looked a little bit more dangerous”
How the player nicknamed “Speedy Gonzalez” pulled up from the contest, and the word of the Melbourne City physios will determine how much the right winger will play against Box Hill.
The defeat to the Thunder capped off a run of three straight games for City against teams sitting in second position in their conference, coming away from the challenging run with a win over Moreland City in round 12, a draw with the Moreland Zebras in round 13 and the loss to the Thunder in round 14.
These four points from their last three games have seen City fall from their peak at top of the table after round 12 to be currently sitting in third place, five points adrift of the two Dandenong sides setting the pace in the Eastern Conference.
City do however, maintain their own five-point buffer over Archie Thompson’s fourth placed Murray United, who City will travel to face in round 17.
Opponents Box Hill come into the game with City sitting in eighth position on the Eastern Conference table, having come away with three wins, six draws and five losses out of their previous matches.
These three wins have come in the past three weeks for the team from Box Hill, defeating Nunawading City 3-2 in round 14, Bendigo City 7-0 in round 13 and Werribee City 2-0 in round 12.
Relying on a close-knit group of players who have experience with each other instead of big name former A League talent, Box Hill coach Greg Kassidas will be looking to around the fortunes of his side, which despite its struggles this season is features a large contingent of the squad that finished fourth in the NPL2 East in the 2016 season.
The two sides will meet on Pitch One at LaTrobe University at 3pm, with the two clubs U20 teams meeting in a curtain raiser at 12:30pm. Entry is free for all patrons.
NPL Victoria - Round 15
Melbourne City v Box Hill United
Saturday 20 May
LaTrobe University (Pitch 1), Bundoora
Seniors: 3.00pm Under 20’s: 12.30pm