Melbourne City will make their final road trip of the 2018 NPL season on Friday night, travelling to South-East Melbourne to take on NPL2 Eastern Conference-leading Dandenong City in the penultimate round of the season.
Dandenong City sits four points clear at the top of the NPL2 Eastern Conference heading into fixture against City, meaning that a win on Friday night would seal Hajduk promotion to the NPL for the 2019 season.
Conversely, City can finish no higher than fourth this season – eight points adrift of third-placed Springvale White Eagles.
City last week suffered one of their heaviest defeats of the season, going down to the only side that can theoretically catch Dandenong – Moreland City.
Apai Ukuno netted a brace for Moreland in that fixture, with Mathew Reid and Ratip Cileli adding solo strikes for the NPL2 Eastern Conference’s second-placed side.
Dandenong recorded a 2-0 win over already-relegated Nunawading City in their Round 26 fixture, Liam McCormick and David Stirton both finding the back of the net for Dandenong.
City and Dandenong last met in Round Seven of the NPL2 season, goals to Stirton and Nick Kalmar cancelling out Denis Genreau’s opener to seal a 2-1 win at La Trobe University.
Prior to the senior’s 8.30 kickoff, City and Dandenong’s U20 sides will meet for their second last match of the season, meeting in the traditional curtain-raiser slot at 6.30.
Peter Kratky’s boys were last week held to a 1-1 draw by Moreland City, which meant that the third-placed City was mathematically eliminated from catching the first placed Eastern Lions atop the NPL2 U20 Eastern Conference table.
Billy Skliros was on the scoresheet for City in that contest, netting in the 13th minute of play, whilst Damon Bisetto struck for Moreland.
Dandenong – who sit in the sixth position on the NPL2 U20 Eastern Conference table heading into this weekend – last week recorded a 1-0 draw over the 20s of Nunawading City; Jarryn Fittock putting Hajduk ahead just on the stroke of halftime.
Neither of City’s junior academy sides will be in action over the weekend, both teams earning a well-deserved rest at the U18 and U15 NPL leagues mark a catch-up round.
The two sides will return to action on 8 September, when they will both make the long trip Northward to take on Murray United in Albury-Wodonga.
National Premier Leagues Victoria – NPL2 - Round 27
Dandenong City SC v Melbourne City
Friday 31 August 2018
Venue: Frank Holohan Soccer Complex – Pitch One, Endeavour Hills, Melbourne, Victoria
Kick-off: U20s 6.30 pm – Seniors 8.30pm