NPL Preview: City v Dandenong City

Having taken a well-deserved week off as the rest of the NPL once more entered the fray of the FFA Cup, Melbourne City’s youth will return to the playing field on Saturday as they host Dandenong City.

City last saw action on March 24 when, after finding themselves 2-0 down to the Springvale White Eagles at halftime, produced six of the best in the final 45 to overwhelm their opponents 6-2 at White Eagles Reserve.

City had five individual goal scorers for the contest, with Zac Bates, Josh Cavallo, Yasin Nur and Moudi Najjar all grabbing solo efforts and Yusuf Ahmed continuing to find form after a long run with an injury with a brace.

The result leapfrogs City from fifth to the second position on the table, where only one point separates them from league leaders, and this weeks opponents, Dandenong.

Dandenong came into the game on a mixed run of form.

On the positive; the side known as Hajduk by their faithful are undefeated in two rounds of NPL2 action and with only six goals conceded possess one of the stingiest defences in the Eastern Conference.

Negatively however, their FFA Cup excursion last week was not a successful one. Drawn against top division NPL side Kingston City, Hajduk went down 2-0 on Monday – unable to repeat the efforts of last years cup competition that saw them knock out the Melbourne Knights before eventually going down 5-4 to South Melbourne in one of the FFA Cup’s most famous ties.

Dandenong has only tasted defeat once so far this NPL2 campaign, and despite losing cult-hero defender Ljubo Milicevic in the offseason still possess a squad list containing notable talents such as Nick Kalmar, Shaun Filipovic and Luke Pilkington.

Last season, Dandenong would have the wood over City in their two meetings; Hajduk running out 2-0 winners at home in Round 3 before coming to La Trobe in Round 18 and securing a 1-0 win.

They would also finish nine points clear of City on the table, finishing in second place with 50 points from their 28 fixtures.

The U20 sides of the two clubs will also clash in the traditional curtain-raiser slot before the two senior sides meet, City’s U20s looking to bounce back after going down 3-1 to the top of the table Springvale White Eagle U20 outfit in their last hit out.

In other Academy action, City’s U15 and U18 sides will once more be in action, both sides looking to bounce back after disappointing defeats to the Oakleigh Cannons in their last runout.

Both sides are at their home of Parade College against the Port Melbourne Sharks, with the U15s kicking off at 10.30 and the U18s set for a 12.30 kick-off on Sunday.

Match Details

National Premier Leagues Victoria – NPL2 - Round 7
Melbourne City FC v Dandenong City
Saturday, 7 April 2018
Venue: LaTrobe University, Bundoora, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 12.30, Seniors – 3.00pm

Photo: Dion Fountas Photography