Back in the winner’s circle after last weeks’ games, Melbourne City will look to continue their momentum when they host Ballarat City FC in round 11 of the PS4 NPL2 season.
Goals to Anthony Theodoropoulos (his first at the NPL level), Gerrie Sylaidos and Nathanial Atkinson saw City run out 3-1 victors over Nunawading City FC last week, snapping their two-game losing streak.
City did it the hard way though, with the side uncharacteristically sloppy in front of goal and coach Lachlan Armstrong saying after the 90: ““I don’t think it was our greatest game by any stretch”.
As well as netting one of his own, Sylaidos had a key hand in setting up his team-mates two goals on the day and it is his play, as well as the play of Dylan Pierias and Lucas Derrick, who combined dangerously on City’s left in last week’s win, will be key in City’s efforts to secure all three points this weekend.
The win was City’s fifth for the season and leaves them on 17 points, only three adrift of Eastern Conference leaders Dandenong City SC. The conference leaders have drawn two games straight and face the difficult prospect of hosting Western Conference run-away leaders Northcote City FC on Friday night.
Sitting equal with City on 17 points on the Eastern Conference table are the Dandenong Thunder. They will host Brunswick City, seventh place in the Western Conference, on Saturday.
Opponents Ballarat City FC come into the match in excellent form and with a three-game winning streak.
The football side formally known as the Ballarat Red Devils (The side reformed as Ballarat City FC this past offseason) has scored a combined 13 goals without conceding once over the course of the three games, scoring 3-0 wins over Richmond SC and Sunshine George Cross SC before demolishing Bendigo City FC 7-0 in the Gold-Rush-Derby in round 10.
The wins have seen Ballarat rise to eighth place on the Western conference table, sitting on 13 points after four wins, one draw and five losses.
Striker Michael Trigger has netted eight times for the Ballarat Club during their winning run, and the target man was on target five times in the 7-0 win last week. He sits second on the NPL2 Golden Boot leader board, first in the Western Conference, and City defenders Ali Eyigun and Jordan Hall will need to play close attention to the Ballarat talisman if City are to get the three points on the day.
The match between City and Ballarat will begin at 3:00pm, with the U20s sides of each club meeting beforehand for a 12:30pm kick-off.
NPL Victoria - Round 11
Melbourne City vs Ballarat City FC
Saturday 22 April
La Trobe University (Pitch 1), Bundoora
Seniors: 3.00pm Under 20’s: 12.30pm