NPL Preview: City v Northcote City

Melbourne City’s NPL side will make the short trek to John Cain Memorial Stadium this Saturday looking to bounce back against NPL2 Eastern Conference foes Northcote FC.

City had a two-game winning run snapped last week, going down 4-0 to NPL2 Western Conference side North Geelong Warriors in the inaugural Josip Skoko Cup.

Despite the eventual heavy nature of the defeat, the contest between City and the Warriors was evenly poises heading into the half time break at Elcho Park; Jamie Noggler’s 33rd-minute strike for the hosts the only thing separating the two sides as they headed for the dressing room.

Nonetheless, the Warriors physical edge began to pay dividends as the second half wore on, as Kai Halliday Lochie McGrath and Darius Madison all added second-half strikes to comfortably secure the result for North Geelong.

The results mean that City will head into round 11 sitting in the fifth position on the NPL2 Eastern Conference table; two games back of table toppers Eastern Lions.

Saturday’s opponents, Northcote City, currently occupy third place on that table, having defeated Whittlesea Ranges 2-1 last week to ensure they remain in touch with Eastern Lions and FC Bulleen Lions in the race for automatic promotion to the top tier.

Northcote, also known as Hercules, enter into round 11 in a rich run of form, having won four of their last five games.

Despite that good run of form, Northcote was forced to come from behind against Whittlesea in round 11, Daniel Mitwali putting the visitors ahead at John Cain Memorial Park before Ben Parsons Collins and Noah Mihaliadis struck in the 75th and 79th minutes respectively to secure their side the three points.

Northcote suffered the ignominious fate of relegation in 2018, dumped from the top flight into NPL2 after finishing in the automatic relegation slots.

That means that the last meeting between City and Hercules came in the 22nd round of the 2017 NPL2 season when Northcote City – then in the Western Conference – recorded a 3-2 after a dramatic final ten minutes at John Cain Memorial.

Tomislav Fadljevic had the hosts ahead after just six minutes in that contest before Nathaniel Atkinson fired City level in the 38th minute.

City then went ahead in the 83rd minute when Austin Wong found the back of the net, only for Northcote to respond with goals in the 85th and 87th minutes to Adam Wright and George Stavridis to run out winners.

Match Details:

NPL Victoria - NPL2 Round Eleven
Saturday, 27 April 2019
Northcote City SC v Melbourne City FC
Venue: John Cain Memorial Park, Thornbury, Victoria
Kick-off: U20s – 12:45 pm | Seniors 3:15 pm