This weekend sees one of the biggest home games for the year, as first placed South Melbourne visit John Cain Memorial Park to take on our Seniors, undefeated in their last five matches.
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Northcote City has edged out a determined Werribee City outfit 3-1 in an entraining encounter at Galvin Park on Sunday.
A Wade Dekker double proved the difference for Northcote who only sealed the points in stoppage time when substitute Gregorios Pitsokas found the back of the net at the end of a swift counter-attack by the visitors.
It was one of Werribee’s better efforts in recent weeks which in the end wasn’t enough to take a much needed three points.
Evan Batsis grabbed Werribee’s only goal in the 22nd minute but was unluckly to be the only one.
Werribee began the game like a side desperate to win the contest, and threatened to scare Northcote with an early goal.
Despite the promising start by Werribee, it was Northcote who opened the scoring in the 10th minute through Dekker.
Jonathan Munoz sent Dekker goal bound courtesy of a delightful through-ball that cut open the defence, leaving Dekker one-on-one with Werribee goalkeeper Tommy Dunn, whom he got his shot pass expertly.
Northcote’s lead would only last 12 minutes however when Batsis did well in a crowded penalty box to find space and finish a Simon Zappia cross from the left.
Werribee dominated the remaining minutes of the half and came agonisingly close to taking a shock lead on multiple occasions.
Simon Tolli and Zappia were the biggest threats to the Northcote goal in the dying stages of the first half, with Zappia denied a wonder goal by an equally wonderful save by Northcote custodian Chris Theodoridis, with the keeper tipping Zappia’s long-range effort over the crossbar.
The confidence Werribee gained from their first-half showing ended just four minutes into the second half when Dekker pounced to grab his second goal of the afternoon, after Dunn couldn’t properly deal with an earlier shot.
Werribee refused to give in after that goal and pushed Northcote all the way.
The hosts dominated the final 15 minutes of the game but lacked that extra bit of class to find a goal.
The closest Werribee came to finding an equaliser was in the 83rd minute when Batsis slammed his header from a corner onto the crossbar, and the ball fell on the wrong side of the line for the Bees.
With Werribee pushing hard in attack, Northcote took advantage in stoppage time as they rubber-stamped the three points thanks to Pitsokos’ goal.
Werribee coach Nino Ragusa was delighted after the game with the effort showed by his players in what has been a disappointed recent run of form.
“The performance was much, much better. A lot of things we’re working on, still critical moments that we can’t control,” Ragusa said.
“A big flaw in our game this year is dropping early goals in the half of either side.
“First five minutes which we’ve got over we’ve really worked hard on that. But second half, four minutes in we’re back to 2-1.
“Our general play was excellent in the first half, it’s something we’ve really tried to push forward this year, and we will continue to work hard on.
“We’ve got a massive game against Ballarat next week, every game is a six-pointer for us. We’ll go at it again, I can’t complain with the endeavour of the players.”
Northcote boss Goran Lozanovski was pleased to get out of Werribee with the three points.
“This was a six-pointer for us. As a coach we threw a few young boys in today, which was in desperation mode in a sense because of our injuries but the young boys stood up today,” Lozanovski said.
“The game could have went either way, they probably had the opportunities and we rode our luck. We rode our luck we held on.
“The substitutes were fantastic today, they all came on and did a job.”
Werribee City 1 (Batsis 22’) defeated by Northcote City 3 (Dekker 10’ 49’, Pitsokos 90+3’) at Galvin Park. [HT:1-1]
Werribee City: Tommy Dunn, Ryan Filipovic, Ersin Kaya, Robbie Naumoski (Dom Marafioti 60’), Milan Savic(C), Damir Marusic (Julien Cassona 80’), Devon Bonne, Bobby Vidanoski, Simon Zappia (Matt Cundari 55’), Simon Tolli, Evan Batsis.
Unused subs: Liam Brian, Roderick Yousef.
Yellow cards: None
Red Cards: None
Northcote City: Chris Theodoridis, Greg Lombardo, Philip Petreski, Jonathan Bounas(Anthony Rizik 63’), Liam Wooding (Marino Gasparis 84’), Aaron Ward, Kristian Konstantinidis, Michael Catalano (Gregorios Pitsokos 84’), Adrian Chiappetta, Wade Dekker, Jonathan Munoz.
Unused subs: Luke Gavalas, Nasr Said.
Yellow Cards: None
Red Cards: None
Werribee City v Northcote City
12th v 8th
3:00pm, Sunday July 20, 2014
Twitter: Live updates @nplvictoria, #WCvNC #NPLVIC
Bentleigh Greens 4-0 Werribee City
Northcote City 1-1 Pascoe Vale
Werribee City: WLLLL
Northcote City: LDWWD
Last time they met:
Northcote 4-1 Werribee City, Round 6 2014
Despite making a raft of mid-season signings, Werribee has continued to struggle, and the only have a win against Port Melbourne, as well as a point away to Heidelberg to show for in their last eight games.
In contrast, Northcote is unbeaten in four games, with a point against the resurgent Knights and a win against Bentleigh Greens really headlining its return to form.
Northcote coach Goran Lozanovski believes the next month is crucial to what his side will be playing for come the end of the season, and a win against Werribee would be a perfect tonic to tackle the likes of South Melbourne and Oakleigh in the coming weeks.
By Andrew Bishara (@_andrewbishara)
The points were shared as Northcote City and Pascoe Vale played out a tough 1-1 draw at John Cain Memorial Park on Sunday.
A fiery opening 15 minutes saw Wade Dekker give Northcote the lead, before Luca Santilli equalised for the visitors in a game that created very few clear-cut chances.
The game was only five minutes old when Pascoe Vale ‘keeper Stefaan Sardelic rose highest to catch a looped cross into the box, but collided with his fellow defender and dropped the ball.
It bounced right to Dekker, who slid in and rolled the ball into the net.
Paco immediately lifted its tempo with Tomislav Milardovic getting on the end of a clearance out from a corner, but his shot was skied.
Then, some swift passing between the visitors saw the ball come out to Matthew Lazarides who stuck a lovely shot, only to see it unluckily smash off the crossbar.
Pascoe Vale finally drew level when during a wild goalmouth scramble, Luca Santilli pounced on a loose ball to bang it into the net.
The visitors continued to pile on the pressure with Lazarides tackling the ball off City defender Greg Lombardo, but ‘keeper Chris Theodoridis saved his bending swirling shot.
Theodoridis was at it again minutes later when he denied a Jonathan Voulgaris strike, after the midfielder produced some nice one-touch football with Carl Recchia.
The first half then petered out as the game got bogged down in midfield, with both teams struggling to add to the scoreboard.
Four minutes into the second half, Sardelic’s late diving hands brought down Liam Wooding in the box, leaving the referee with no option but to award Northcote the penalty.
Sardelic made amends for his error however, by producing a stunning double save to deny Wooding’s initial shot and then his rebound, after the ball bounced back to the midfielder.