By Lou Verga
Northcote City and Dandenong Thunder played out a goalless draw at John Cain Memorial Park on Saturday.
After a dour first half with limited opportunities, the second half provided entertainment and plenty of goalmouth action but ultimately no winner.
Timmy Purcell was the first to try his luck on eight minutes, blasting a 25-yard strike just wide of the top corner.
Three minutes later Evan Kounavelis split the Dandenong defence open with a diagonal through ball to James Kalifatidis, but the forward could only hit his shot straight at Anthony Saric in the Thunder goal.
It was a tight affair from that point on with neither side able to penetrate in attack, resulting in a goalless first half.
Jordan Wilkes almost opened the scoring minutes after the restart, seeing his goal-bound looping header cleared off the line by Ramazan Tavsancioglu.
Shortly after, space opened up in the box for Calvin Mbarga, but the striker sliced his shot well wide.
At the other end, Tavsancioglu thought he had put Thunder ahead with a precise header that was somehow kept out of the net by a desperate Northcote defence.
Kounavelis came close to a stunning goal just after the hour mark, unleashing a vicious volley that bounced off the upright and stayed out.
On the counter attack, Dandenong was presented with an excellent opportunity but Jarod Blackbourn fluffed his lines with only Chris Theodoridis to beat.
Kalifatidis broke through on goal in the 68th minute but Saric was out quickly to smother the low strike.
Mbarga very nearly won it for Northcote in the 93rd minute with a fizzing shot across goal, but a fingertip save from Saric diverted the ball around the post.
Both sides continued to push forward in search of a winning goal but couldn’t find the killer touch in the final third.
Match details: Northcote City 0 drew with Dandenong Thunder 0 at John Cain Memorial Park
Northcote City: 22. Chris THEODORIDIS, 4. Jacob ELIOPOULOS, 19. Ryan GO, 8. James KALIFATIDIS, 12. Jordan WILKES, 6. Aaron WARD, 7. Bonel OBRADOVIC, 5. Gregory LOMBARDO, 11. Evan KOUNAVELIS (14. Anthony RAMZY 84’), 9. Calvin MBARGA, 18. Nikola MARKOVSKI (23. Jonathan BOUNAS 71’)
Unused substitutes: 10. Marino GASPARIS, 20. Nicholas KOKOLAKIS, 25. Gianluca FANTACCI
Yellow card(s): Lombardo 54’, Markovski 56’, Obradovic 87’
Red card(s): None
Dandenong Thunder: 20. Anthony SARIC, 2. Jarryd BARNES, 3. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU, 5. Faisal SAKHIZADA, 24. Viktor MUJEDINOVSKI, 12. Brendan ELMAZOVSKI, 11. Timmy PURCELL (8. Lewis FOSTER 71’), 10. Feston AZIZI (9. Veton KORCARI 86’), 27. Brodie PATERSON, 7. Jarod BLACKBOURN, 14. Damir STOILOVIC (23. Michael GERACE 75’)
Unused substitutes: 14. Joseph ISAIAH, 21. Nicholas VOULOUMANOS
Yellow card(s): Foster 86’
Red card(s): None