NPL Victoria: Round 23 Recap – Bulleen relegated and Hume cause the upset of the season

Green Gully 2-3 South Melbourne

It seems as if these two sides have swapped places in the last month. The side that is too big to be relegated, South Melbourne, has been replaced by a team of similar stature, and a team that enjoyed an illustrious era of success, particularly in the latter days of the Victorian Premier League.

The sacking of Arthur Papas has not seemed to have changed much, even though Green Gully haven’t officially announced it themselves. Their 3-2 loss at home brought back similar stories to that of the Papas reign, a performance lacking of spirit.

While Nick Krousoratis gave Gully the lead in the 6th minute, two goals from Marcus Schroen and one from Milos Lujic put South beyond reach and ensured that the three points were in the bag for the Greek giants. A consolation goal from George Lambadaridis gave Gully hope, but they would ultimately go home empty-handed.

One win in 13 games means they are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference, with matches against the side around them coming up in the last three rounds.

Kingston City 4-4 Bentleigh Greens

One of the games of the season saw Kingston gain a valuable point against Bentleigh, who failed to capitalise on their own chance to make up ground on Heidelberg.

Two goals in the first ten minutes from Kingston had them flying, and with a 4-2 lead at half-time, they would have been expecting to see the Greens off.

But two goals in a matter of minutes from Velibor Mitrovic and then Matt Thurtell had the game back tied at 4-4 by the 80th minute.

The draw doesn’t do much for either team considering the lead that Kingston did indeed have, but if you gave them a point before kick-off, they most probably would have taken it.

Bentleigh now move down to third and have been surpassed by Avondale, but you would think both are too far away from Heidelberg to mount any challenge.

Kingston face Green Gully in the last round of the season, in what looks set to be the game that will decide who has to play off for survival.

Kingston v Bentleigh

HIGHLIGHTS | A vital 3 points it would of been against Bentleigh Greens but for a late comeback in an eight goal thriller. We now turn our attentions to next Sunday when we visit Lakeside Stadium to take on South Melbourne FC.#NPLVIC #KingstonOle

Posted by Kingston City FC on Saturday, 4 August 2018

Avondale 4-3 Melbourne Knights

This weekend was simply goals galore, and this game certainly didn’t disappoint.

Avondale capitalised on dropped points from both Bentleigh and Heidelberg to finally move out of third position and into second; a handy place to be with a few weeks to go considering the top two sides get the first week of finals off.

Avondale’s 3-0 lead by half-time was reduced to just a one goal cushion, but Liam Boland’s second of the day was enough to give the Avengers a bit of breathing space in the second half.

The Knights showed a lot of character late in the game, and a goal from Tommy Uskok brought them back into the contest; but a red card to that very goalscorer with ten minutes to go made the come-back nearly impossible.

The Knights themselves are now losing touch with the top six, sitting in 7th and three points behind Oakleigh in sixth position. It really is heating up now in the middle of the table, with even South Melbourne on the cusp of finals football.

Port Melbourne Sharks 2-2 Northcote City

This was another result in round 23 that does not do much for either side, and it is two points dropped for both rather than one point gained.

Northcote, with their terrible goal-difference are now pretty much relegated – six points behind the playoff place with nine points left to play for.

Port Melbourne will also will feel as if they should have won this one, considering the disparity in ladder positions. The point was important though, as it should be enough to secure a spot in the finals with a four point gap between them and 7th placed Melbourne Knights.

Northcote let 2-1 with 25 minutes to play, so Port Melbourne may feel grateful of the point they gained; while Northcote may see this as the result as that sealed their fate.

Dandenong Thunder 2-4 Oakleigh Cannons

Two goals from Wade Dekker and two from Dean Piemonte gave Oakleigh one of their most important wins of the season, as they travelled to Dandenong to come back with three points.

The win was crucial for Oakleigh, who were able to capitalise on other results to cement their place in the top six for the time-being.

The Cannons have been a team this season that have certainly flown under the radar, and they could be a dark horse come finals time.

Dandenong welcomed back Brandon Barnes off the bench, and there was no surprise that he put his name on the scoreboard once again after he converted a penalty. The goal was his 21st for the season, and he is still seven ahead of the next best despite missing so many games.

The Thunder will rue their last six weeks of form, which has been far from impressive, as they face an uphill battle now to make it into the top six.

Heidelberg 0-2 Hume City

One of the upsets of the season saw Hume City beat potential champions Heidelberg United at Olympic Village.

The tough and unexpected loss may not be the worst thing in the world for the Bergers, who are still four points clear with a game in hand.

Maybe it will serve as a wake-up call that many potential champions seem to come face to face with in all sports. But for Hume, this win is season defining. They are completely outside the relegation zone for the time-being, two spots ahead of Kingston but just one point ahead of both them and Green Gully.

John Cofie and Bradley Blumenthal were the heroes on the day, scoring goals that gave Hume three points that could go down as their most important all season.

Hume play Oakleigh this week before hosting Green Gully in a game that will be a big factor on who finishes where at season’s end.

NPLVIC Round 23 – Heidelberg United vs Hume City (Extended Highlights)

EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS | Get around it! All the best bits from our crucial win against Heidelberg United FC yesterday, with commentary from Bilal Ali.Watch in HD

Posted by Hume City F.C. on Monday, 6 August 2018

Bulleen 0-1 Pascoe Vale

Bulleen’s season is officially over, sitting ten points behind the relegation playoff place with nine points to play for. Despite the transfers made and the promise that Bulleen showed a few months ago, they will be down in NPL 2 next season.

Pascoe Vale were the team with the power to relegate the team from the Veneto Club, and they did this in scrappy fashion.

Hakeem Alaraibi’s maiden goal of the season was the only goal of the game and was the one that relegated Bulleen, in a game marred by heavily windy conditions.

Bulleen may cite an imbalance of youth and experience as the reason for their relegation, but it is clear that something needs to change at the Veneto Club.

Pascoe Vale will almost certainly finish fourth and are certainly an outside chance to be the side lifting the NPL Victoria trophy come grand final day, given their strong end to the season.

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