Melbourne City FC has suffered a disappointing defeat at home in the NPL3, going down 0-1 against Nunawading City on Saturday afternoon.
Petr Kratky made just the one change to his usual 4-3-3 lineup heading into the Round 13 clash, bringing Luke Oresti in for Alexander Menelaou in central midfield.
Matthew Grimaldi tried to get City off to a fast start when he struck at goal in the 5th, but the effort from the edge of the area required only a comfortable save from former A-League shot-stopper Michael Theo.
Luke Oresti came close in the 19th, finding space at the edge of the area to launch an effort on goal, only to be thwarted by the upright with Theo appearing to have been otherwise beaten.
Just a few minutes later, former City man James Brown would earn the best of Nunawading’s early opportunities, rising to meet the cross in from the right only for his goal-bound header to be fired into the back of a City defender, allowing Ahmad Taleb to claim the ball comfortably.
Both teams approached the game with an attacking intent that saw numerous solid chances for either side, but as the half wore on, it was Nunawading who would begin to get on top in the final few minutes.
First came an intelligent save from Taleb with his feet in the 43rd minute when Paul Kuol drove into the box and shot from a tight angle. Just a few minutes later, ex-Victory player Fahid Ben Khalfallah drove a low, fizzing shot just narrowly wide of the upright to give City a late scare before the referee blew for half-time.
12 minutes into the second period, Taleb came up with a massive one-on-one save to deny Brown who was through on goal and tried to place his shot between the City keeper’s legs, but the ball took a vital deflection to trail wide of the post.
Nunawading exposed the City defence again in the 61st, with Zois Galanopoulos’ strike from inside the six-yard box incredibly denied by a sliding Matthew Grimaldi, who was able to extend a leg to make the crucial block.
City struck back with a great chance of their own in the 64th, with Charbel Shamoon forcing a sharp diving save from Theo to tip the ball outside the post, but it was clear which way the game was starting to swing by that stage.
This was confirmed in the 71st minute when Brown was again fed through one-on-one against Taleb, this time able to toe-poke past the oncoming keeper and into the back of the net.
The onslaught on City’s goal continued just minutes later, with Lee Gellis curling an effort narrowly wide of the post which would have really dampened the home side’s spirits.
While City were able to stem the tide in the latter stages, the team struggled to create quality chances to find the back of the net themselves, Nunawading able to hold on to their one-goal lead for the remainder of the encounter.
Following two consecutive losses for the first time this season, Melbourne City will be looking to get back to winning ways next weekend against North Sunshine Eagles FC.