NPL Preview: City v Goulburn Valley Suns

Melbourne City’s NPL side will undertake the second game of a three-match homestand on Saturday, as they host the visiting Goulburn Valley Suns.

City began their run of home games with a loss last week, going down 3-0 to regional outfit Murray United.

A brace by United’s Zac Walker, paired with an individual effort from Tom Morrison, got the job done for the side from Albury-Wodonga; who rode their luck to come away with an important three points despite conceding the lion’s share of possession to City.

The result means that City currently sit in 6th position on the NPL2 Eastern Conference table heading into round 5, their six points landing them three points adrift of conference topping Moreland City.

Opponents Goulburn Valley come into the contest in fourth place, their two wins and a draw enough to locate them a point clear of City.

The regional outfit come into this week’s contest on a two-game winning streak, having defeated both Nunawading City and the Eastern Lions in back-to-back weeks.

However, despite featuring imports such as Welshman Rob Hughes and former Inverness Caledonian Thistle youth player Liam Baxter, the Suns have only scored five goals en route to their two wins and a draw, a figure four less than City’s nine.

The Suns win last week came as they defeated the Eastern Lions 1-0; the games solo goal coming from Matthew Lelliott, who gave the Suns a lead they would not relinquish in the 34th minute of play.

The Shepparton based outfit pushed City right to the wire in the 2017 NPL2 season, their 41 points equalling City’s total. Only their inferior goal difference, +3 to the Suns against +19 to City, relegated them to fourth place on the table.

Despite having finished below City however, the Suns would actually win both meetings between the two clubs; defeating City 2-1 at the Shepparton Sport’s Complex in round nine and 4-3 in a spiteful affair at LaTrobe University in round 24.

City’s U20 side will play the Suns U20s in the traditional curtain-raiser slot prior to the senior clash, Peter Kratky’s side looking to back up last weeks result that saw them run out 5-1 winners over Murray United.

City’s U15 and U18s sides will also be in action over the weekend, both looking to bounce back from their first defeats of the season, and indeed their existence, at the hands of traditional NPL powerhouses South Melbourne.

City’s U15 side suffered a 3-1 defeat in their game with South’s youngsters, whilst the U18s suffered a heavy 6-2 loss.

Both sides will face another stiff challenge as they look to bounce back on Sunday, with another NPL fixture in the Bentleigh Greens paying a visit to Parade College.

The U15s game is set for a 9.15am kick-off, with the U18s set to follow at 11.30am.

Match Details

National Premier Leagues Victoria – NPL2 - Round 5
Melbourne City FC v Goulburn Valley Suns
Saturday, 17 March 2018
Venue: LaTrobe University (Pitch One), Bundoora, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 12.30pm, Seniors – 3.00pm

Photo: Dion Fountas Photography