Text Courtesy of FFV
By Tomasz Ng (@tomaszng07)
Ballarat has won its second-straight NPL match after a 3-1 win over Northcote City at John Cain Memorial Reserve on Saturday.
Dom Swinton gave the visitors a lead on the half hour, and Pat Karras made it 2-0 soon after with a fine goal of his own.
Wade Dekker did bring Northcote back into the contest with his goal in the second half, but Shaun Romein’s penalty quashed any hopes of a comeback as the Red Devils maintained their winning start to the season.
Desperate to get its first win of the season, Northcote attacked with gusto for the first half hour, but Dekker missed his side’s best chance of all when he failed to poke in Evan Kounavelis’ cross.
Instead Ballarat hit the hosts on the counter, and Swinton was found free on the right by a through ball from Simon Murphy.
The winger did the rest, slotting the ball past Chris Theodoridis to record his third goal in two games.
It got even better from the Red Devils five minutes later as Karras finished off a wonderful Nelson Salvatore through ball, which split the Northcote defence apart.
With Northcote stung by the double strike before the halftime, it had a nervy moment straight out of the blocks when Swinton charged down Benjudah Fitzpatrick and ran in on goal.
But the winger wasn’t to score this time around, poking a finish straight at Theodoridis.
That blip appeared to spark Northcote back into action, and the home side finally pulled one back when Dekker kept composed to slot a finish past Aaron Romein, after being played in behind by Liam Wooding.
Northcote followed that up with a flurry of chances, but Trent Rixon in particular was finding the going tough and missed a couple of good chances.
Northcote was made to pay with 15 minutes to go, when the referee adjudged Adrian Chiappetta to have brought down Murphy in the area.
Shaun Romein stepped up to take the penalty and sent Theodoridis the wrong way to restore Ballarat’s two-goal lead.
The home side was stung into more action by the setback, and even after having coach Goran Lozanovski sent to the stands, launched wave after wave of attack.
But once again, Rixon was having one of those days on his return to John Cain Memorial Reserve, and Northcote fell to a third straight loss.
Lozanovski was disappointed with the result, but found a few positives in the way his Northcote City charges played.
“It was disgusting, the result today,” Lozanovski said.
“In saying that I thought we played OK and had a lot of possession and created a lot of half chances and probably had enough chances to win a couple of games.
“We need to defend better as a team – we’ll keep working on that and we’ll make sure we correct that and try and get our first points hopefully next week against Pascoe Vale.”
Meanwhile, having won his second game in a row, Ballarat coach James Robinson kept his feet firmly on the ground.
“Pleased with the three points yes. Overall pleased with the performance? Not really,” Robinson said.
“It’s always nice to have the points on the board but it’s about the performance, the processes as well.
“Did we get out of jail? I think we did but we battled it out, we grinded it out, we took our chances and we came away with the three points.”
Northcote now travels to face Pascoe Vale while Ballarat travels once again, this time to face Heidelberg United in Round 4.
Northcote City 1 (Dekker 57’) defeated by Ballarat Red Devils 3 (Swinton 31′, Karras 36′, S.Romein 76′) at Jon Cain Memorial Reserve (HT: 0-2)
Northcote City: 22. Chris THEODORIDIS, 21. Ersin KAYA, 5. Phil PETRESKI, 6. Benjudah FITZPATRICK, 2. Adrian CHIAPPETTA, 23. Jonathan BOUNAS, 10. Marino GASPARIS (14. Michael CATALANO 78’), 11. Liam WOODING, 9. Trent RIXON, 15. Wade DEKKER, 20. Evan KOUNAVELIS (8. James KALIFATIDIS 70’)
Subs: 1. Luke GAVALAS, 12. Steve SIFINOS, 16. Greg LOMBARDO
Yellow Cards: Chiappetta 66’
Ballarat Red Devils: 1. Aaron ROMEIN, 16. Charlie KING, 25. Steve THOMSON, 18. Daniel O’DONNELL, 3. Daniel TINKER, 6. Liam HARDING (13. Michael TRIGGER 72’), 17. Shaun ROMEIN (20. Bolish SALVATORE 85’), 15. Dom SWINTON, 11. Nelson SALVATORE, 22. Pat KARRAS, 31. Simon MURPHY (29. Harley BOSHER 90+2’)
Subs: 40. Jordan FRANKEN, 2. Tristan ROMEIN
Yellow Cards: Nil