A late, late, goal from Travis Chalk-Hatton capped off a stunning comeback, as Box Hill came from two down to defeat Melbourne City 3-2 on Saturday afternoon at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.
The first half was a very tight affair, with both sides playing a high line, compressing the midfield, resulting in a lack of clear-cut chances.
The best early chance fell to Hernon Espindola, who having been picked out by a superb Luke Gallo cross, sent his volley over the bar 11 minutes in.
Ten minutes after, Ratip Cileli went even closer from a corner, his ball into the box curling in, forcing Christian Pavlidis into work, the Box Hill keeper’ tipping it onto the crossbar.
Box Hill’s best chance came four minutes from half time, as Franc Carafa jumped onto a loose ball following a defensive lapse from City; however, he was only able to shoot straight at Yaren Sozer in the City goal.
The second half bore no resemblance to the first, as both teams switched gears, attacking at every opportunity.
The deadlock was broken four minutes in. The lively Luke Gallo picked out Nick Morton on the edge of the box, the striker curling past Pavlidis from 20 yards.
City doubled the advantage on 53 minutes, with Gallo again providing the assist.
The winger sent in a dangerous cross, which found Espindola, who calmly finished to make it 2-0.
City looked dominant at this stage, they went very close to making it 3-0 in the 65th minute.
Captain Phil Petreski sent in a dangerous corner, which eluded everybody but Luke Gallo, who saw his header cleared off the line.
The game then was flipped on its head.
Shaun Paterson found his captain Michael Godfrey, from a corner, his header, flashing wide of the post.
Box Hill got some hope back in the 75th minute, as Petersen again delivered a wonderful cross, this time onto the head of Lucas Johns, his header glancing in off the post.
Eight minutes later, the game was level.
Following an attack which had been cleared initially, a ball was played to Aaron Porcaro, the full back crossing onto the head of his captain Godfrey, who nodded home to set up a tense finish.
City tried to counter punch, but looked tired, and with less than a minute remaining, Box Hill made them pay.
Lucas Johns drew two defenders as he advanced towards the box, before placing a perfect through ball for substitute Travis Chalk-Hatton, who struck the ball first time, in off the far post, leaving Sozer stranded.
The goal resulted in absolute jubilation for Box Hill, whilst City will be wondering just how they let this one slip.
Box Hill United 3 (Johns 75’, Godfrey 83’, Chalk-Hatton 90+2)
Melbourne City 2 (Morton 49’, Espindola 53’)
Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, Cheltenham.
Box Hill XI: 35: Christian PAVLIDIS (GK), 17: Aaron PORCARO (20: George KALAS 90’), 18: Joey CALDERONE, 25: Michael GODFREY (C), 5: Alex SCHROEN, 24: Shaun PETERSON, 10: Franc CARAFA, 14: Lucas JOHNS (19’ Christian LAR), 8: Caleb LUDLOW, 9: Adam SKOWRONSKI (21: Travis CHALK-HATTON 54’), 11: Sebastian BARRERO.
Subs: 1: Alex CONNELL (GK), 6: Luca PRESUTTI
Yellow Cards: None.
Red Cards: None.
Melbourne City XI: 1: Yaren SOZER (GK), 2: Tyler JAMES, 5: Leo ATHANASIOU, 6: Phil PETRESKI, 7: Hernon ESPINDOLA (22: Nicolas Gonzalez 67’), 8: Ratip CILELI, 12: Anthony RIZK, 14: Nick MORTON, 15: Luke GALLO, 16: Matthew MILLAR, 17: Baley ROW.
Subs: 18: Mehdi SORWAIN, 19: Anthony TARANTO, 20: Yianni SKILIROS (GK), 21 Denis GENREAU
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None.