NPL Preview: City v Werribee City

Melbourne City’s NPL side will look to make it three wins in three weeks on Saturday when they return home to La Trobe University to take on Werribee City FC in round 12 of the NPL2 Season.

City last week extended their unbeaten run to four weeks with a 2-1 victory over NPL2 Western Conference foes Brunswick City at Dunstan Reserve.

Moudi Najjar grabbed his 11th goal of the season in the triumph, opening the game's scoring just before halftime. Stefan Ristic then pulled one back for the hosts just three minutes after the second half re-start, before City’s Zac Bates struck with just five minutes remaining to secure Joe Palatsides’ side the three points.

The win means that City now sits just three points back of NPL2 Eastern Conference leaders Dandenong City on the table and only a single point adrift of the second-placed Moreland City. With five points separating City from fourth-placed Springvale White Eagles, three points over the weekend will be vital if City is to remain a part of the trio separating themselves from the Eastern Conference pack.

Werribee will head into this week’s contest off the back of a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Dandenong in their week 10 contest.

Dandenong’s Ben Everson opened the scoring after less than five minutes into that affair, with David Stirton then putting Dandenong up by two when he netted in the 38th minute. Hiro Nagatomi got one back for the Bees in the 51st minute to give them some sniff of a comeback, but Werribee was unable to capitalize, their two-game winning streak snapped by the Eastern Conference leaders.

Nagatomi is one of two Japanese imports plying his trade with Werribee, the attacking midfielder joining defender Aki Machiyama – who was the Bee’s player of the season in 2017 – prior to the current season.

Werribee currently sits in 6th position on the NPL2 Western Conference table: their four wins, single draw and five losses good for thirteen points on the season so far.

City’s U20 side will be looking to record their fourth win on the trot in their weekend game, having recorded a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Brunswick’s U20 side in their last hit out.

Giovanni Stellitano opened the scoring for Peter Kratky’s U20s in the 26th minute of last week’s contest; before Dennis Menelaou would grab a second-half brace with goals in the 51st and 87th minutes to seal City’s 3-0 win.

The win means that City’s U20s now sit in the fourth position on the U20 NPL2 Eastern Conference table, with the third-placed Goulburn Valley Suns only a point clear of them.

They will this week clash with the U20s of Werribee in the traditional senior curtain-raiser – a Werribee U20 side that fell to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Dandenong’s U20s last week.

Werribee’s U20s sit in 9th position of the ten team U20 NPL2 Western Conference table: with their three wins, two draws and five losses only enough for 11 points.

City’s other Academy squads will this week travel South-East, taking on the Springvale White Eagles at White Eagles stadium on Sunday.

Davey van ‘t Schip’s U18 squad will be looking to back up a big win, having downed the U18s of top-flight NPL side Dandenong Thunder 4-2 at George Edwards Reserve in their last hit out.

Darcy Anastovski, Yaya Dukuly, Raphael Borges Rodrigues and Joshua Rachele all netted in the win, a triumph that stretches City’s U18s winning streak to five.

Simon Zappia and his U15 squad didn’t fare quite as well as the rest of City’s academy sides last week, but will be looking to bring the positives from their highly entertaining 4-3 defeat to White Eagles Stadium.

Charbel Shamoon grabbed his tenth goal of the season in the loss, with Rhys Bozinovski and Giorgio Serdenes also on target against the Thunder.

The U15s will kick-off their clash with the White Eagles at 11.30, whilst the U18s will follow at 1.00.

Match Details

National Premier Leagues Victoria – NPL2 - Round 12
Melbourne City FC v Werribee City FC
Saturday, 12 May 2018
Venue: La Trobe University (Pitch One), Bundoora, Melbourne
Kick-off: U20s – 12.30pm, Seniors – 3.00pm

Photo: Dion Fountas Photography