Heidelberg finds itself once again behind in the race for the top six after suffering a huge loss at the hands of Port Melbourne, with the regular season slowly approaching a dramatic and tense conclusion.
The Sharks smashed “Megas” in the Victorian NPL’s 21st round to both hand their opponents their first defeat in twelve matches and make them drop back into seventh.
Port Melbourne beat “Alexandros” 4-0 at home on Saturday evening to bag their fourth win in their last five outings.
Chris Duggan put the home side ahead with a hat-trick (25′ pen, 37′, 83′) before teammate Lathan Dunn bagged the final goal (89′).
South Melbourne hung on to a crucial 2-1 victory against Dandenong Thunder in a fiery contest to protect top spot.
Thunder struck first via Cameron McGilp (39′) before “Hellas” managed to overturn the deficit, thanks to Harrison Sawyer (45+5′ pen.) and Patrick Langlois (68′).
South Melbourne coach Estaban Quintas was pleased to see his side secure the victory, especially given the aggression and desperation shown from both sides which led to 13 yellow cards being handed out, including a second yellow red to “Hellas'” Lirim Elmazi (85′).
“Given the need for both teams to get the win, there were somewhat risky actions. We had to be more organised in the last ten minutes since we played with one less player due to Lirim’s expulsion. We had to defend the three points which we did,” Mr Quintas told Neos Kosmos.
Oakleigh scored a great 1-4 away victory over Avondale on Saturday afternoon for their fourth straight win as they continue to challenge the league leaders for the title.
Oakleigh conceded first from Yusuf Ahmed (40′) before proceeding to score four times through Tyson Holmes (45′), Oskar Dillion (52′), Aryn Williams (71′) and Joseph Knowles (89′).
Bentleigh beat Eastern Lions 3-0 at home to climb back into the top six. Ajak Riak gave the Greens an early lead (4′) before Chris Droustas (76′ pen.) and Jack Painter-Andrews (84′) guaranteed the points.
NPL Victoria Ladder
1-South Melbourne: 50
2-Oakleigh Cannons: 48
3-Port Melbourne Sharks: 43
4-Bentleigh Greens: 35
5-Avondale FC: 34
6-Green Gully: 33
7-Heidelberg United: 33
8-Dandenong Thunder: 28
9-Melbourne Knights: 23
10-Altona Magic: 23
11-St Albans: 23
12-Hume City: 16
13-Dandenong City: 13
14-Eastern Lions: 6
Sydney Olympic fell 0-3 to Sydney FC U21 at home on Saturday afternoon in the 19th round to fall into seventh on 31 points, though they do have a game in hand.
The Sky Blues youth claimed the victory, thanks to a brace from Jaiden Kucharski (45′, 70′ pen.) and an effort from Ben Gibson (89′).
In Northern NSW, Newcastle Olympic’s round 18 match with Lambton Jaffas was postponed.
Adelaide Olympic lost 0-2 at home against Adelaide Comets on Saturday evening in the 18th round, leaving themselves in tenth with 17 points.
The Comets bagged the win through Thomas Briscoe (45+3′) and Allan Welsh (59′).
Olympic FC recorded a stunning 1-4 away success over Logan Lightning in their 17th round clash on Sunday evening to move back into second on 30 points.
A brilliant first half saw the visitors go into the break four goals to nil via Shannon Brady’s hat-trick (7′, 23′, 42′) and Zachary Kierpal (15′, with Jacob Fulluck scoring a consolation penalty for the hosts (52′).
Floreat Athena settled for a point in a 3-3 home draw against Cockburn City in the 16th round on Saturday evening to remain in top spot on 33 points, ahead only on goal difference.
The game switched momentum multiple times, with Cockburn getting the final say. Goals to Athena’s Nicholas Ambrogio (17′), Sean McManus (46′) and Robert Petkov (55′) were matched by the visitors’ Justin Tang (22′) and Jesse Lazzaro (26′, 76′ pen.).
Olympia Warriors suffered a narrow 2-1 away loss to Glenorchy Knights in their 13th round meeting on Saturday afternoon to remain in seventh on six points.
The Warriors took a short-lived lead through Simon Vivarelli (11′) before the Knights composed themselves and went ahead via Austin Yost (13′) and Nicholas Naden (45+1′).