NPL Preview: City v Eastern Lions

Back on the winner’s list after recording a 3-0 victory of Manningham United Blues FC, Melbourne City’s NPL side will be looking to make it two wins from two on Saturday when they host Eastern Lions at La Trobe University.

Coming into the game having lost three straight games, City started brightly against Manningham last week; winger Ramy Najjarine – who had made a cameo appearance in the A-League less than 24 hours prior – opening the scoring after just 11 minutes after being played in behind the defence by Connor Metcalfe.

Despite Manningham subjecting them to intense pressure as they searched for an equaliser in the wake of Najjarine’s strike City were able to hold out and add a second before half time when Metcalfe followed up an effort from Stefan Colakovski that had bounced off the post.

The result was then sealed close to the hour mark of the second half when Josh Cavallo found himself with space outside the area and hammered a left-footed effort into the top corner of the net to make it 3-0.

The vital three points secured lifted City to sixth place on the NPL2 Eastern Conference table following the conclusion of the round’s play – just three points behind third-placed FC Bulleen Lions.

This week’s opponents Eastern Lions will run out onto the La Trobe University surface as the top-ranked side in the NPL2 East, a point clear of second-placed Langwarrin SC heading into round nine.

The news, however, isn’t all good for the Lions after the club suffered its first defeat of the season in round eight after going down 1-0 to Northcote City at John Cain Memorial Reserve.

The Lions – who have become specialists at snatching a point very, very late in games throughout the season’s opening slather of games – were unable to find an answer for James Wilson’s 61st-minute strike.

City and Lions last met in round 18 of the 2018 NPL2 season. On that day, a 61st-minute strike from Dylan Pierias and an own goal from the Lions’ Casey Thomas weren’t enough for City as a Cameron Neales goal and brace from substitute William Ellis earned Lions a 3-2 win.

As ever, both City’s and the Lions’ U20 sides will meet prior to the senior side’s kick-off in the traditional curtain-raiser clash.

Four points clear atop the NPL2 U20 Eastern Conference table, City will be looking to back up an 8-0 win against the seventh-placed Lions, who enter the contest having recorded a 2-0 win over Northcote City in their previous hit out.

Match Details:

NPL Victoria - NPL2 Round Nine
Saturday, 13 April 2019
Melbourne City FC v Eastern Lions SC
Venue: La Trobe University (Pitch One), Bundoora, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 12:30 pm | Seniors 3:00 pm