By Brandon Galgano (@bgalgano94)
An absolute belter from former Adelaide United youngster Liam Wooding has seen Northcote City defeat Heidelberg United 1-0 at John Cain Memorial Reserve on Sunday afternoon.
Having already put up a contender for goal of the season in last weekend’s victory over Goulburn Valley, Wooding added another candidate with a brilliant finish right on the stroke of half time.
It was Heidelberg who came out of the blocks fired up though and it very nearly took the lead twice inside the first two minutes.
The first attempt fell to Dan Heffernan who received the ball on the edge of the area before cutting onto his left and striking low but his effort was held well by Theodoridis.
Just 30 seconds later Heffernan found Kaine Sheppard free on the edge of the area but the Englishman could only steer his half volley wide of the post.
Northcote had to wait half an hour for its first sight on goal as Wooding found space at the edge of the area, but his shot was brilliantly charged down by former Melbourne Victory defender Steven Pace.
Unfortunately for the veteran though he appeared to have injured himself in doing so and was substituted just minutes later.
And just as it seemed like both sides would go into the break level pegging, a moment of brilliance from Wooding saw Northcote take the lead.
With just seconds remaining in first half stoppage time the South Australian picked up the ball on the edge of the area before cutting onto his right foot and curling an unstoppable effort past Griffin McMaster into the top-right corner.
Heidelberg begun to dominate in the second half as they looked to break down a sturdy Northcote defence but the poor playing surface limited the influence of their usually deadly attacking trio of Heffernan, Shephard and Cartanos.
The side had its best chance to equalise with just fifteen minutes to play though as Sheppard found himself free just six yards out but his effort was brilliantly denied by Theodoridis once again.
Heidelberg’s chances of getting back into the contest then took a massive blow with just 10 minutes to play as top scorer Heffernan clashed heads with Northcote skipper Adrian Chiappetta and had to be substituted with what looked like a serious head injury.
The visitors very nearly stole a point right at the death though through Jack Petrie but his half volley from just inside the area flew just over the bar.
Heidelberg coach George Katsakis was disgusted with the playing surface following the match before calling on the FFV to take immediate action.
“It’s just an absolute disgrace to the league,” Katsakis said.
“When you’re playing on a field like this it doesn’t allow an NPL club to be able to fulfil its position in the league if they can’t maintain their grounds up to a certain standard.
“The FFV need to take immediate action because it’s simply not good enough and I just feel sorry for the Northcote players who have to come back here week after week.”
Northcote coach Goran Lozanovski was pleased with his side’s performance against one of the top sides in the league but did admit that the surface had an impact on the quality of the match.
“Look I think it was a matter of us taking our chances and it was one spectacular goal which made the difference for us today so I’m very happy with the result against one of the best sides in the league,” Lozanovski said.
“Unfortunately the quality of the pitch isn’t up to scratch but as a club we are at the mercy of the council and all we can do is get on with our jobs.
“I feel for Heidelberg but they have to understand that we have to train on this field week in week out and unfortunately that it is out of our control so I think everyone just needs to get over it and move on.”
Northcote City 1 (Wooding 45’) defeated Heidelberg United 0 at John Cain Memorial Reserve
Northcote City Line-up: 22 Chris Theodoridis, 2 Adrian Chiappetta ©, 16 Gregory Lombardo, 5 Phillip Petreski, 6 Aaron Ward, 4 Kristian Konstantinidis, 23 Jonathan Bounas (7 Jonathan Munoz 64’), 11 Liam Wooding (14 Michael Catalano 78’), 10 Marinos Gasparis, 17 Anthony Rizk (3 Nasr Said 90’), 15 Wade Dekker
Unused Substitutes: 1 Luke Gavalas
Yellow Cards: Konstantinidis 50’
Red Cards: Nil
Heidelberg United Line-up: 32 Griffin McMaster, 2 John Lazaridis, 13 Luke Byles©, 12 Steven Pace (19 Jacob Williams 31’), 10 Jack Petrie, 11 Mark McGough, 9 Kosta Kanakaris, 4 Jordan Wilkes, 23 Andrew Cartanos (6 Paul Miller 64’), 22 Kaine Sheppard, 14 Dan Heffernan (8 Zane Sole 80’)
Unused Substitutes: 20 Ryan Norval, 16 James Goulopolous
Yellow Cards: nil
Red Cards: Nil
Image credit: Mark Avellino Photography