NPL Preview: City v Langwarrin SC

Melbourne City’s senior and U20 NPL sides will run out for the final time in 2018 on Saturday, taking to the fields of La Trobe University  to take on Langwarrin SC as Victoria’s NPL2 enters Round 28.

City’s senior NPL side was last week unable to spoil Dandenong City’s run towards the title, going down 3-1 to Hajduk as the side from Frank Holohan Reserve secured the 2018 NPL2 Eastern Conference title and automatic promotion to the NPL for next season.

Luke Pilkington opened the scoring for Dandenong in the fourth minute of that contest, Shaun Filipovic and Stipo Andrijasevic adding goals of their own in the second half.

Sam Morrison got one back for City in the 67th minute of that contest, but City was never able to truly impose themselves on the contest; Hajduk running out comfortable winners.

That loss means that City will enter Round 28 sitting in the sixth position, which they cannot improve on even with a win in the season’s final round.

They can, however, fall as low of eighth if they lose to this week’s opponents Langwarrin, who sit in seventh two points behind City, and Box Hill, who are also two points behind City in the eighth position, defeat Dandenong City in their final game of the season.

Despite being confirmed to be staying up in their first season in the NPL system, Langwarrin enters this weekend’s contest experiencing a torrid run of form, having failed to record a win since a 2-1 triumph over Whittlesea Ranges on 28 July.

Last week Langwarrin snapped a three-game losing run with a 1-1 draw with the already relegated Nunawading City, although they were forced to sweat it.

Borbor Sam’s 51st-minute goal had Nunawading noses in front and headed for an improbable win as the game entered into its final five minutes. A late strike from Luke Burgess saved the South-Eastern side from embarrassment, however, his late goal doing enough to earn his side a point.

City and Langwarrin last met in Round 13 of the 2018 season, Langwarrin running out 3-1 winners in that contest thanks to a brace from John Kuol and Mat Luak, Yusuf Ahmed getting on the scoresheet for City.

As is standard, the U20s of City and Langwarrin will meet as a curtain raiser to the senior clash, City looking to back up a 5-2 win over Dandenong City in their last hit out and Langwarrin coming off a 1-1 draw with Nunawading City.  

City’s U20s sit in the second position on the NPL2 East U20 table heading into the contest and need a win to ensure that they retain their position over the fast-finishing third-placed Springvale White Eagles.

Langwarrin’s U20s enter Saturday sitting in the seventh position on the table, able to finish as high as sixth or as low as eighth should depending on other results around the NPL2 Eastern Conference.

After a week off, City’s U18 and U15s squads will also be back in action this weekend, making the long road trip to Albury Wodonga to take on Murray United in their penultimate round.

City’s U18s – whose game against Murray will kick-off at 1.30 pm – will enter this weekend’s slate of games sitting in the second position on the NPL U18 Eastern Conference table, three points adrift of league-leading FC Bulleen Lions.

City’s U15s – whose fixture will commence at 12.00 pm – will enter this week sixth in the NPL U15 Eastern Conference, hoping that six points from their last two fixtures could see them finish as high as fourth by the end of the season.

Match Details

National Premier Leagues Victoria – NPL2 - Round 28
Melbourne City v Langwarrin SC
Saturday 8 September 2018
Venue: La Trobe University – Pitch One, Bundoora, Melbourne, Victoria
Kick-off: U20s 12.30 pm – Seniors 3.00 pm

Photo: Dion Fountas Photography