NPL Victoria: Round 18 Recap – South Melbourne in serious trouble and Bulleen turn their season around

Melbourne Knights 2-2 Bentleigh Greens

Second-placed Bentleigh went into this game believing that only a win would keep their title hopes alive, and they did not get off to the best start on that front.

The Knights went ahead twice either side of half-time, but the Greens were able to equalise both times, the second leveller coming from the penalty spot as Matt Thurtell scored his second of the game with a cheeky chipped penalty.

The Greens weren’t able to find a crucial go-ahead goal and the two teams were forced to share the spoils, a result that meant Heidelberg would have the chance to go four points clear at the top with a game in hand when they played Pascoe Vale at home on Saturday.

Oakleigh Cannons 0-1 Green Gully

In the other Friday night game, only one point separated these two sides at kick-off, with both teams needing a win to put themselves firmly in the conversation for finals.

The game was tight throughout and it looked destined for a draw; but in the 85th minute, Green Gully were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box and the home crowd was left shell-shocked.

Gully made no mistake from the penalty spot, converting the spot-kick and propelling themselves into the top six, leapfrogging Port Melbourne and the Knights on goal-difference.

Bulleen Lions 5-1 Avondale FC

Bulleen have well and truly turned their season around; from not being able to buy a win just over a month ago to beating one of the best 32 teams in the country by four goals in front of their proud and quite disbelieving fans.

On the indications of the first half, it was going to be a tight affair; but all it took was an Avondale goal to take the lead in the 55th minute to trigger Bulleen’s survival instincts and spark the game into life.

The Lions found an equaliser six minutes later Lewis Hawke and did not look back from that point, going ahead in the 71st minute when Hawke netted his second, and scoring another three to claim a result that is sure to make the rest of the league take notice.

The win lifted the Lions off the bottom of the table and away from automatic relegation, with Kingston still to play later in the day.

Hume City 1-0 Port Melbourne Sharks

Hume City went into their Saturday night clash against Port Melbourne knowing that a win would propel them out of the relegation zone and within viewing distance of the finals places, while Port Melbourne were looking to regain their place in the top six.

After a good opening 25 minutes from the Sharks, Hume wrestled the momentum away, creating chances as the first half came to a close.

Hume ultimately found a breakthrough in the 77th minute through Tom Barforosh, and he should’ve doubled his account in injury time when he found himself clear on goal.

But City were more than happy to take the three points in whichever way they came, as they climbed out of the danger zone, three points clear of 16th placed South Melbourne.

NPL Victoria – Round 18: Hume City vs Port Melbourne Sharks (Extended Highlights)

Extended highlights of our crucial win over Port Melbourne "Sharks" Soccer Club last night.WATCH IN HD

Posted by Hume City F.C. on Sunday, 1 July 2018

Dandenong Thunder 4-1 Kingston City

Dandenong Thunder moved within one point of the finals places with a convincing win against a Kingston side that continues to struggled to regain the momentum they seemed to have picked up at the start of last month.

Kingston looked to have turned a corner when they took the lead early in the game, but the Thunder came back strongly, coming from behind to march to a commanding 4-1 win that sees them move above Oakleigh and into 8th place.

South Melbourne 1-1 Northcote City

It’s been a mixed week for South Melbourne; the club was shortlisted for A-League expansion, but on the field, the side suffered two results that have seen it finish in the relegation zone two weeks in a row.

For a club of South Melbourne’s size, there results this season have been simply unacceptable, and it’s beginning to take its toll on and off the pitch.

Last week, Nicholas Epifano had a fallout with the club during their home loss to Pascoe Vale, and the club announced during the week that it had released the player from his contract.

This week, they welcomed Northcote to Lakeside Stadium, with South desperate to get out of the relegation playoff places and Northcote desperate not to finish the round at the bottom of the table.

Ultimately, neither side was able to achieve what they set out to do, with a draw doing no favours for either team’s survival hopes.

Heidelberg United 0-2 Pascoe Vale FC

When Pascoe Vale visited Heidelberg United at Olympic Village on Sunday afternoon, they knew they’d be coming up against a side that’s looking to go four points clear at the top of the table, with a game in hand.

But Pascoe Vale were in no mood to begin rolling out the red carpet for an early inauguration as they shrugged off a slow start to score twice either side of half-time and shut out the Bergers attack.

Both goals came from Davey van’t Schip, as the striker continues to stake a claim for being one of the most lethal forwards in the league.

The result still leaves Heidelberg on top after Bentleigh’s slip-up earlier in the season, but they will need to start looking over their shoulder for a title-chase from the Greens.

 

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