Kingston City, Northcote City, and Port Melbourne Sharks are each within one win of qualifying for the national round of 32 of the FFA Cup for the first time, following mid-week wins in their Rd 6 FFA Cup qualifying matches.
Bentleigh Greens are also still in the running for the Round of 32 for the fourth time in the five seasons of the competition.
Last Tuesday, Kingston City probably had the toughest Rd 6 qualifying match, taking on NPL neighbour Oakleigh Cannons at Jack Edwards Reserve. But they scored a confidence-boosting 2-1 win to eliminate the Cannons and progress to the quarterfinals. Young Kingston striker Damian Iaconis stunned the home team with an excellent 25-metre free kick in the first half before the Cannons’ long range specialist Dean Piemonte equalised with a left foot strike of his own from outside the box.
The deciding goal fell to Kingston when it picked off an errant Oakleigh pass out of defence. The Cannons defence was caught flat-footed by the subsequent Kingston raid down the left flank which produced a cross into the box which found Keanu Moore, ahead of an onrushing Oakleigh keeper John Honos. Morre’s tap-in past Honos knocked the Cannons out of the cup.
At Port Melbourne’s JL Murphy Reserve, the Sharks triumphed 2-0 over State League club Whittlesea United, but not before a few scares. The Sharks had to wait till first half injury time to find the net and only then through a Sam Smith penalty. Shark fans then had to wait anxiously until the 86th-minute when James Papadimitriou volleyed home a cross to seal the result and ensure passage to the quarterfinals.
At John Cain Memorial Reserve, Northcote City emerged 1-0 winners from a tight tussle with visiting NPL 2 club Murray United thanks to Lucas Derrick’s 55th-minute winner. Derrick scored after a 40-metre pass over the top from the Northcote half put him in space behind the Murray back four, with just the keeper to beat. Tempers frayed towards the end as Northcote defender Paul Swithenbank and Murray forward Zac Walker both received red cards.
Bentleigh Greens had already qualified for the Rd 7 quarterfinals with a 3-1 win away to Goulburn Valley Suns the previous week.
Kingston, Northcote, Port, and the Greens will find out who they meet in the quarterfinals when the Rd 7 draw takes place on Monday.