After bravely seeing off a determined Moreland City FC last week, Melbourne City’s NPL side will return home to LaTrobe University on Saturday to take on Moreland’s other club, the Moreland Zebras.
City took advantage of a Moreland City own goal to escape with a 1-0 win in their round 12 clash, spending most of the second half under siege as their Brunswick based opponents through everything at the young city defence to grab an equalizer.
Despite the win, City will be looking to improve on their performance, which saw Moreland’s intense pressure force City away from their possession based playstyle they have exemplified for much of the season and into a more rushed mindset, with City coach Lachlan Armstrong noting after the 90 “We probably did panic a little bit and got sucked into playing it long. We didn’t really play our possession style of play at all today.”
Despite the win, City fell to second on the PS4 NPL2 Eastern Conference at the rounds conclusion - Dandenong City SC’s win over Western Conference cellar-dwellers Bendigo City FC bringing them up to 23 points, equal with City, with their 6-0 margin of victory enough to give them a superior goal difference.
Sitting behind City and Dandenong City, also on 23 points, are the Dandenong Thunder. Inspired by a wonder goal from former Socceroo and Melbourne Heart stalwart Simon Colosimo, the Thunder came away with a hard fought 3-2 win over Whittlesea Ranges to keep pace at the top and ensure that City have no room for error if they are to stay with the two Dandenong based sides.
Dandenong City will host Melbourne Victory’s NPL side in their round 13 game, whilst the Thunder will travel to Ballarat to take on Ballarat City.
City’s opponents in the Moreland Zebras come into the clash second, with a game in hand, on the NPL2 Western Conference table, replacing their local rivals Moreland City in the position. The Zebras are unbeaten in a month of league action, with two wins and two draws in their past four.
After defeating Richmond SC 6-1 last week, the Zebras also became the highest scoring side in the NPL2 with 30 goals on the season (City sit on a respectable total of 28) and their attack will present another stiff challenge for a City backline that has recorded back-to-back clean sheets.
Coached by former Joe Marston Medal winner Fausto De Amicis, the Zebras feature the likes of former Slovenia youth representative Nejc Kolman, Amir Osmancevic - who netted a brace in the win over Richmond – and Ragsan Watkins - who has impressed since joining the Zebras from Bulleen’s under 20 side.
The two sides will meet at LaTrobe University (Pitch 1) at 3:00pm, with the Under 20 teams of each club to meet beforehand in a curtain raiser kicking off at 12:30.
Entry to the game is free for all patrons and Melbourne City Traveling Fans will be on hand selling foods and drinks.
NPL Victoria - Round 13
Melbourne City vs Moreland Zebras FC
Saturday May 6
La Trobe University (Pitch 1), Bundoora
Seniors: 3.00pm Under 20’s: 12.30pm