By Matthew Conversano
Northcote has sealed back-to-back wins, after grinding out a 2-1 result against Port Melbourne in a hard fought contest at John Cain Memorial Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
After going behind early from a strike by Port Melbourne’s Andrew Milicevic, Northcote showed true resilience by scoring two goals in the space of two minutes, ultimately proving pivotal.
Northcote was put on the back foot early after brilliant piece of interplay between Port Melbourne’s Ryan Opperman and Andrew Milicevic, which saw the latter played in on goal.
Milicevic made no mistake, slotting the ball past the imposing figure of Northcote custodian Chris Theodoridis to put the Sharks ahead after just 10 minutes
The Sharks were on the attack again shortly after, with Erhon Yalaz rounding Northcote keeper Chris Theodoridis, but his effort at the unguarded goal was denied by some fantastic last ditch defending on the goal line.
The early scares did nothing to stop Northcote, which launched wave after wave of attacks over the next ten minutes.
And they were deservedly rewarded an equaliser. A goalmouth scramble saw the ball spill out to Northcote forward Nicholas Kokolakis who slammed the ball home.
Northcote was relentless after its first goal, and found its second only a minute and a half later with an early goal of the year contender from Jonathan Bounas.
Bounas controlled with the ball with his chest and in one motion, volleyed it from 25 yards with textbook technique, leaving Stjepan Gal rooted to his spot.
After being subbed on for Conor Reddan who was forced off due to injury, Port Melbourne’s Nicholas Krousoratis wasted no time in making an impact. His 31st minute strike was goal-bound if not for a courageous block from Jordan Wilkes.
The second half was a much more dull affair in comparison to the first.
At 54 minutes, Evan Kounavelis’ bid for an equaliser was foiled by a point-blank save from Gal.
The remainder of the match saw a very stubborn Northcote defence shut down almost everything that came their way.
The only spark from the Port Melbourne attack was through Kamal Ibrahim who looked dangerous at times with his pace and dribbling ability.
Northcote saw out the match 2-1 to earn a win in its first home game of the season, and its second win on the trot.
The next round sees Northcote attempt to make it three in a row against Avondale FC at home, while Port Melbourne will try and get back on the winners’ list with a home tie against Oakleigh Cannons.
Northcote City 2 (Kokolakis 17′, Bounas 19′) defeated Port Melbourne 1 (Milicevic 10′) at John Cain Memorial Reserve, Thornbury.
Northcote City: 22. Chris Theodoridis, 20. Nicholas Kokolakis, 11. Evan Kounavelis (9. William Webb 76’), 10. Marino Gasparis (6. Aaron Ward 71’), 5. Gregory Lombardo, 23. Jonathan Bounas, 3. Mitchell Bissinger (2. Hayden Bissinger 83’), 17. Nicholas Bavcar, 7. Jason Hayne, 12. Jordan Wilkes, 8. James Kalafatidis
Unused Subs: 1. Mason Interlandi, 4. Jacob Eliopoulos
Port Melbourne: 25. Gal Stjepan, 19. Shaun Kelly, 23. Conor Reddan (11. Nicholas Krousoratis 27’), 16. Alan Kearney, 5. Nick Tzoulis, 14. Kamal Ibrahim. 22. Ryan Opperman, 8. Brent Fisher (9. Trent Rixon 51’), 6. Chris Grossman, 10. Andrew Milicevic (15. Trent Manicas 86’), 17. Erhon Yalaz.
Unused Subs: 1. Michael Stark, 21. Rayane Fivihi