NPL Victoria: Round 25 Recap – It goes down to the wire for Gully, Hume and South Melbourne

Oakleigh Cannons 2-1 Pascoe Vale

Contrary to what many pundits thought would be the case a few months ago, Oakleigh Cannons have secured a top six spot and a place in the NPL finals.

A 2-1 home win and consistent form throughout the season from the Cannons means one of the most illustrious clubs in the state will have a chance to compete for the NPL Victoria championship.

This match will be replayed in the first weekend of the NPL Victoria finals, just at the home of Pascoe Vale. Both sides will be happy with their final placings.

Oakleigh v Pascoe Vale

Posted by Oakleigh Cannons FC on Friday, 24 August 2018

Kingston City 4-1 Heidelberg 

Heidelberg fielded a slightly weakened side with one eye on their FFA Cup exploits in mid-week, and Kingston capitalised.

For Kingston, the win shows the improvement we’ve seen them make over the course of the season. They looked as if they would go down at some stages during this campaign, but they have once again proven that they do deserve their status in NPL Victoria for the next 12 months. Somehow, they can actually still make the top six; it’s unlikely but possible with one game to play.

Avondale 6-2 South Melbourne

It has been a woeful season for South Melbourne, and they are still with a chance of finishing in the relegation playoff spot. It is unlikely, but wins for Hume and Green Gully on the last day as well as a South Melbourne loss will leave South Melbourne playing off for their spot in the NPL next season.

This game summed up their season; being able to score goals but an inability to keep their opponents out. Avondale have once again shown why they have the squad to go all the way in the finals, scoring goals for fun throughout the season.

Port Melbourne Sharks 0-1 Bentleigh Greens

Bentleigh Greens have put some doubt into Port Melbourne’s chances of playing in the NPL Finals in 2018.

A team that have looked like a lock for the top six for most of the season will now have to defeat South Melbourne on the last day to ensure they finish in the top six.

Bentleigh simply keep on winning, as Matt Thurtell netted his 14th goal of the year, to keep the likes of Heidelberg and Avondale on their toes as the finals series begins to creep closer.

Hume City 2-2 Green Gully

This game was the match of the week on paper, and clearly the most important game of both Hume and Green Gully’s seasons.

Hume, a side who have been near the bottom for most of the season and have given themselves every chance of beating the drop, and Gully, about to potentially playoff for their spot in the top flight. Not many woulkd have picked them to be in this predicament at the half-way point of the season.

The two struggling sides had to settle for a draw; and Hume may come to rue not capitalising on their chances in the first half, as they carried a slim 2-1 lead into the break after dominating the opening period.

Nick Hegarty led from the front with a goal inside six minutes, but an own-goal from Will Hendon meant the scoreline was levelled just six minutes later.

Harry Monaghan saved his first goal of the season for when it counted as Hume went back ahead; but a Kieran Dover goal in the second half put Gully back level.

A red card for Dover later on in the piece put Hume back on the front foot, but the home side were able to break the deadlock.

Thus, it comes down to the final day, and the pressure is on Green Gully.

Gully need at least a draw against Kingston to escape the bottom three, and hope Hume faulter at Pascoe Vale.

If Gully draw and Hume don’t get a result, it will be Hume who have to play-off. With all games played on Sunday at the same time, it will be a mouthwatering day of football.

NPLVIC Round 25 – Hume City vs Green Gully (Extended Highlights)

EXTENDED HIGHLIGHTS | Green Gully SC travelled to a jam-packed ABD Stadium on Saturday night to take on Hume City, with a place in the relegation zone with one game to play on the line.Catch the extended highlights with commentary from Fox Sports' Teo Pellizzeri and Bilal Ali.Watch in HD

Posted by Hume City F.C. on Monday, 27 August 2018

Dandenong Thunder 4-2 Northcote City

A game that looked as if it will mean nothing on paper produced a win for the Thunder that, like Kingston, leaves them with an unlikely chance of qualifying for the finals.

The Thunder have put themselves in a position where it is possible, and they couldn’t have wanted anything else from their last month.

Northcote have been overtaken and are now dead last; but for them, there is little difference between last and second last.

Bulleen Lions 1-0 Melbourne Knights

Where have performances such as these been all season long? Bulleen not only beat a big side at home on a cold Monday night, but they kept a clean sheet, one of very few this season. The win for Bulleen saves some pride for the Lions, but Melbourne Knights really let an opportunity slip here. A win would have put them in the box seat for that all important sixth position, but now the scrap ensues with four other sides.

What will we find out this weekend?

The focus on the final day will be split between the fight for the finals and the battle to avoid the relegation playoff.

South Melbourne welcome Port Melbourne, Hume travel to Pascoe Vale and Green Gully host Kingston on Sunday afternoon. Gully have a superior goal-difference to Hume and an inferior goal-difference to South.

If Gully pick up any points against Kingston, Hume will need to match or better their result, while a point for South Melbourne will be enough to ensure their safety.

Port Melbourne, Melbourne Knights, Dandenong Thunder and Kingston City will all be playing for one spot in the top six. If Port Melbourne defeat South Melbourne, the race will be over and they will finish in sixth.

If Port lose, the winner of Melbourne Knights vs Dandenong  Thunder will clinch finals.

If the Knights and Thunder draw, Port lose to South and Kingston defeat Gully, the once relegation-threatened Kingston will find themselves in the finals. It simply will be fascinating viewing.

The NPL Victoria table going into the final round of the regular season

 

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