Melbourne City’s senior NPL side will look to return to the winner's list this Saturday night when they host Langwarrin SC in the first rematch of the 2019 NPL Victoria NPL2 Eastern Conference season.
City and Langwarrin previously met in the first round of the 2019 campaign in a barnburner contest at Lawton Park Reserve in Melbourne’s Southeast in which City escaped with a win after some very, very late drama.
Taking the lead in the 16th minute thanks to an own goal from former Melbourne City Youth prospect Jaiden Madafferi, City looked to be sitting pretty eleven minutes into the second half of that contest when Ramy Najjarine struck to make it 2-0.
However, a 79th minute strike from David Stirton gave the hosts a glimmer of hope heading into the dying stages of the match and, in the 94th minute of play, it appeared that the Langy man had saved his side when he poked home to secure his brace and make it 2-2.
The drama was not yet completed, though, as two minutes City burst up the other end of the field and Najjarine fired home, securing a brace of his own and City’s first three points of the season.
Unfortunately for City, those three points have since proved an elusive prize throughout the season; the 3-2 triumph in round one representing a quarter of their total win total for the season.
Winless in their last seven games, City enter Saturday nights contest with Langy in the bottom position on the NPL2 Eastern Conference table, five points adrift of the all important sixth position on the table that would allow them to remain in Victoria’s second tier in 2020.
Last week, City appeared to be heading for their fifth win of the season multiple times against rivals Melbourne Victory, taking the lead in their contest at Epping Stadium in the 36th minute thanks to an own goal from Victory captain Ben Carrigan and, after Victory equalised through Nuh Sehavdic, taking the lead once again in the 70th minute thanks to Moudi Najjar.
However, City was unable to keep a hungry Victory squad at bay; Stefan Ristic striking in the 71st and 83rd minutes to consign the side in sky blue to another defeat.
Despite the defeat, it wasn’t all negative for City in that contest, with Mark Karlic and Stefan Colakovski making their long awaited returns to the side after injury and Najjar returning to the starting line-up.
Langwarrin, currently third placed in the NPL2 Eastern Conference, also enter Saturday’s contest on the heels of a defeat after going down 1-0 to NPL2 Western Conference side Brunswick City at Dunstan Reserve.
Down in the ninth minute after Matt Murphy swung in a cross that Riki Hosoai headed in, Langy threw everything they had at the Spartans in the following 80 minutes to try to bring the game back to level pegging but, despite multiple chances, found themselves unable to beat Sebastian Mattei in the Brunswick goal.
City’s seniors will kick off the first game in what will likely serve as their regular home base at the Veneto Club for the remainder of the 2019 season at 8:30 pm, with the U20s curtain-raiser – in which City will be looking to extend their lead atop the NPL2 U20 Eastern Conference table – will kick-off at 6:30.
For fans unable to make the journey to Bulleen for the fixture, the seniors game will be broadcast live and free over the NPL Victoria Facebook and YouTube pages with Joey Lynch and Josh Parish on the call.
NPL Victoria - NPL2 Round Seventeen
Saturday, 15 June 2019
Melbourne City FC v Langwarrin SC
Venue: David Barro Stadium, Veneto Club, Bulleen, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 06:30pm | Seniors 8:30pm