Oakleigh showed their title spirit is still alive and strong after roaring to a fantastic win against Port Melbourne, pouncing on “Hellas'” draw to come within two points of first.
The Cannons produced a huge performance in the headline game of the Victorian NPL’s 19th round, managing a 1-3 away win on Saturday night against third-placed “Nea Ellas” to once again draw close to the league leaders.
A first-half brace from Oakleigh forward Daniel Clark (2′, 21′) set the mood for the game before teammate Joe Guest took the game completely out of reach (56′), with Fletcher McFarlane giving the hosts a late consolation (90+1′).
A solitary goal from Adrian Zahra () helped Heidelberg to a 0-1 away win over Altona Magic, which has now extended their unbeaten streak to ten matches.
South Melbourne was held to a 0-0 draw against Green Gully at home on Friday evening, with “Hellas” dropping vital points in their mission for a premiership.
Bentleigh followed in kind, recording their own goalless stalemate against Hume City at home in a disappointing result for the Greens.
NPL Victoria Ladder
1-South Melbourne: 44
2-Oakleigh Cannons: 42
3-Port Melbourne Sharks: 37
4-Avondale FC: 34
5-Green Gully: 33
6-Heidelberg United: 32
7-Bentleigh Greens: 29
8-Dandenong Thunder: 25
9-Melbourne Knights: 23
10-Altona Magic: 23
11-St Albans: 22
12-Hume City: 13
13-Dandenong City: 13
14-Eastern Lions: 6
Sydney Olympic dominated Sutherland Sharks 4-1 at home on Sunday afternoon in the 17th round, lifting the club to second on 31 points, one point adrift of top spot in what is proving to be a thrilling and incredibly competitive battle for the title.
The Blues bagged three first-half goals through Ben Van Meurs (24′), Brendan Cholakian (28′) and Roy O’Donovan (39′) before James Andrew offered some resistance for the visitors (53′). A final goal from Adam Parkhouse (66′) sealed an important victory for the Hellenic Sydney side.
In Northern NSW, Newcastle Olympic (6th) recorded a remarkable comeback from 2-0 down to defeat Lake Macquarie 2-3 away in the 16th round to move to 15 points, one away from fifth.
Two goals at the death led Adelaide Olympic to an amazing 2-2 away 16th round draw against Sturt Lions on Saturday afternoon, with the result lifting them out of the relegation zone (on goal difference) to 11th with 13 points.
The Lions took a two-nil lead via Zack Gomez (38′) and Gonzalo Rodriguez (53′) when the travellers manufactured a pair of injury-time goals through Christos Pounendis (90+1′) and Dylan D’Agostino (90+3′) to somehow steal a point.
Olympic FC escaped with a point in a 1-1 away tie against Brisbane City in the 15th round on Saturday evening, leaving them in second on 27 points and six away from the top of the ladder.
Yuta Hirayama put the hosts ahead (31′) but Costa Psaros’ late strike (87′) ensured they did not leave the game empty-handed.
Floreat Athena decimated Perth Glory U21 in a 4-0 home thrashing to move into first place with 29 points.
The home team found the back of the net twice on either side of the break through Jesse Fuller (33′), Robert Petkov (40′), Chris Saldaris (85′) and finally Nicholas Ambrogio (90+4′).
Canberra Olympic managed to secure a comeback 2-2 away draw against Belconnen United in their 11th round fixture to remain in fifth on 12 points.
The opposition went ahead thanks to Max Green (22′, 45′) but a penalty from Alen James (79′) and an effort from Adrian Macor (90+1′) helped the visitors end the match on level terms.
Olympia Warriors (7th) emerged victorious in their round 11 bottom-of-the-table clash with Riverside Olympic, defeating them 4-0 at home for just their second win of the season and doubling their league tally to six.