NPL Preview: City v Murray United

Melbourne City’s NPL side will once again be in action this week, returning to LaTrobe University in Bundoora for their first home match of the 2018 Victorian NPL2 season.

After stumbling in their round two clash with the Eastern Lions, City returned to the winners list last week, defeating Box Hill United 2-0 at Wembley Park.

Goals in either half – Dylan Pierias netting his second goal of the season in the 36th minute and Gianluca Iannucci notching up his third in the 88th– did the damage for City, who handled the hot conditions better than their Box Hill opponents to bring up their second win of the season.

The win resulted in City rising to third position on the NPL2 Eastern Conference table, with their goal difference of +6 equal best in the conference.

Opponents Murray United will come into this weekend’s game keen to reverse a poor run of form that has resulted in them only securing a solitary point so far, despite opening the season with three straight home games.

The club from Albury-Wodonga have backed up their season opening 1-1 draw against the Eastern Lions with a 6-0 defeat to Moreland City and a 4-2 loss at the hands of Dandenong City to sit in 9th place on the Eastern Conference table.

Sitting only above the winless Box Hill United in the standings, the border side’s goal difference of -8 is also the worst out of either NPL2 conference.

Despite their poor form, United would last week go into half time against Dandenong City ahead 2-1 thanks to goals from Gonzalo Freddi and Tom Morrison.

However, Dandenong would run over the top of United in the second half, Shaun Filopovic bringing them equal before David Stirton secured a brace to grab the 4-2 win.

City and United played out two 2-2 draws in the 2017 NPL2 season – United finishing the year in fifth place, two points adrift of third placed City.

City’s U20s, 3-1 winners over Box Hill’s U20s last week, will be looking to back up their return to form in the curtain raiser to the senior’s clash, Peter Kratky’s side taking on the U20s of Murray United, who went down 3-2 to Dandenong City in their runout last week.

The U15s and U18s of City will also be in action on the weekend, both looking to make it three wins from three competitive fixtures to start their seasons. Last week saw both sides score 4 goals en route to victory, the U15s defeating FC Bulleen Lions 4-3 and the U18s defeating Bulleen 4-2.

Both sides will once again be at their home ground of Parade College this week, taking on the youth of traditional Victorian powerhouses South Melbourne on Sunday, with the U15s set for a 10.15am kick-off and the U18s scheduled to commence at 12.30pm.

Photo: Dion Fountas Photography

Match Details

National Premier Leagues Victoria – NPL2 - Round 4
Melbourne City FC v Murray United FC
Saturday, 10 March 2018
Venue: LaTrobe University (Pitch One), Bundoora, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 12.30pm, Seniors – 3.00pm