NPL Preview: Western United v City

Melbourne City FC’s NPL3 outfit will be eager to get back to winning ways against Western United in Round 6 after its three-game winning streak was snapped in last Saturday’s 3-2 loss away to Box Hill United.

The clash was a see-sawing affair all the way through, with goals to Max Caputo and Lucas Byrns seeing City into a 2-1 lead in the first half before a Stuart Edgar double ensured the three points would be staying with Box Hill. 

City was without a host of its top talents heading into the game given it took place on the same day as the club’s A-League clash against Macarthur FC, with Stefan Colakovski, Marco Tilio, Matthew Sutton, Kerrin Stokes, Alec Mills and Raphael Borges Rodrigues all missing from Petr Kratky’s starting lineup.

With City missing so many of its top personnel, it was Box Hill who made the faster start and struck first, rattling the back of Ahmad Taleb’s net with a volleyed finish following a cross in the 17th minute.

Parity would be promptly restored in the 26th when Max Caputo was brought down in a one-on-one tangle in the box, with the striker stepping up to convert it with composure from the spot.

Moonib Adus was able to forge a second for City in the 39th, weighting a perfect ball from the left to find Lucas Byrns who had cut inside to finish neatly near the back post.

Just as it looked like City would be heading into the break with a one-goal lead, Box Hill were able to net an equalising goal in added time, with the game poised at 2-2 as the referee blew to signal the end of the first half.

Unfortunately, it was Box Hill who dominated the second period, striking again in the 64th following a turnover in midfield that lead to a quick transitional goal for the home side, before holding on comfortably for the remainder of the 90 to ensure a 3-2 win.

The City boys will be eager to get back on the winners list when they meet Western United at ABD Stadium in Round 6. The young side face a significant test, with their upcoming opposition currently one place above them in 3rd position, having started the campaign undefeated thus far.

Last time out, Western United downed Ballarat City by five goals away from home, cementing the losing team’s place at the bottom of the table.

United have scored 14 goals to start the season, with Manyluak Aguek leading the way with four.

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