NPL Preview: City v North Geelong Warriors

Following up a result in which their hopes of victory were dashed by a 94th-minute equalizer, Melbourne City’s youth will return home this week with eyes solely locked on three points, welcoming the Warriors of North Geelong in the NPL2s second cross-conference round of the season.

Goals from Moudi Najjar and Yusuf Ahmed had cancelled out a Matthew Reid strike for Moreland City heading into injury time of last week’s contest; City seemingly set to record back-to-back wins over Moreland’s two clubs.

A late header from Moreland’s Christopher Cristaldo scuppered those hopes, however, 10-man City unable to mount a successful rear-guard action after Josh Cavallo had been sent off just prior to half-time.

City retained third place on the NPL2 Eastern Conference table with the point, their goal difference of +14 easily securing them third over the Springvale White Eagles and their goal difference of +4.

Three points behind the second-placed Moreland, City do however find themselves six points adrift of the top placed Dandenong City, and will be looking to secure three points on Saturday in order to stay in touch with league topping Hajduk.

Opponents North Geelong had a much more routine affair than City in their round nine contest, defeating Ballarat City FC 3-1 in Ballarat – with goals to Domenico Marafioti and a brace by Darius Madison.

The Warriors were last year relegated from the NPL, but strong early season form indicates that the side is looking for only a brief stay in the NPL2.

North Geelong sit in third position on the NPL2s Western Conference table, one point behind the league-leading Altona Magic and only behind the second-placed St Albans Saints SC on goal difference.

In the traditional curtain-raiser slot to Saturday’s game, Peter Kratky’s U20s squad will be looking to back up last weeks result, which saw them snap a four-game losing streak and record a 3-1 victory over Moreland’s U20s.

The win vaulted the U20s from seventh to fifth place on the U20s NPL2 Eastern Conference table, and their attention now turns to getting a result against the U20s of the Warriors, who sit in the fourth position on the U20s NPL2 Western Conference table.

The Warrior’s U20s come into Saturday winless in four matches, last week suffering a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Ballarat’s U20s.

In other academy action City’s U15 and U18 sides will go into their weekend fixtures riding a wave of momentum, having both recorded heavy victories – 6-0 and 4-1 respectively – over the academy sides of NPL powerhouses Heidelberg United last week.

This week, Simon Zappia’s U15s and Davey van ‘t Schip’s U18s will welcome the visiting academy sides of Murray United to Parade College.

In a bit of unusual scheduling, the U18s are set to kick-off at 10.30am on Sunday, with the U15s set to follow at 1.00pm.

Match Details

National Premier Leagues Victoria – NPL2 - Round 10
Melbourne City v North Geelong Warriors FC
Saturday, 28 April 2018
Venue: La Trobe University (Pitch One), Bundoora, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 12.30pm, Seniors – 3.00pm

Photo: Dion Fountas Photography