Melbourne City will travel to Wembley Park to take on Box Hill United SC in the final round of the PS4 NPL2 Season on Saturday.
City enter the game still sitting in third position on the Eastern Conference table, with the point salvaged from their two-goal comeback against the Dandenong Thunder last week enabling their superior goal difference to keep them above the Goulburn Valley Suns – who drew level on points after a five goals to three victory over Richmond.
Going down two goals to nil early against the already confirmed Conference champion Thunder, goals by Stefan Colakovski and Josh Cavallo were enough to claw back a draw for City, cancelling out early goals by the Thunder’s Brandon Barnes and Alon Blumgart.
Coach Paddy Kisnorbo, acting as head coach with Joe Palatsides and Lachlan Armstrong leading a City youth contingent in the Suning Cup, said of City’s performance:
““The first ten minutes weren’t great – but the other 80 minutes were exceptional.”
“We created enough chances – chances that we could have could have capitalized on a bit more. But I really enjoyed the game and the way we played was great football.”
City will be looking to keep playing that exceptional brand of football they displayed in the final 80 minutes of the Thunder game against Box Hill United, who currently sit in seventh position on the Eastern Conference table.
A three goals to one victory over local rivals Nunawading in round 27 secured head coach Greg Kassidas’ sides safety from relegation and marked their fifth game in a row without defeat, having drawn the four matches prior to round 27.
The last meeting between City and Box Hill came in round 15, with the two sides playing out a two goals apiece draw at LaTrobe – Marko Delic and Colakovski getting on the scoresheet for City on that afternoon.
A win this time out against Box Hill would all but guarantee City third position on the Eastern Conference Table, with City’s goal difference of +14 far superior to the Goulburn Valley Suns’ – who sit in fourth position on equal points with City – goal difference of +2 and Murray United’s – who sit two points back in fifth position – goal difference of +5.
The Suns will host second placed Dandenong City – who defeated them four goals to one in their last meeting in Dandenong – in their round 28 game.
Whilst Dandenong City sit comfortably in second place – having locked up a top two position many weeks ago – they are struggling for form after losing their last four games.
Soft tissue injuries and wear and tear have begun to take their toll on Stuart Munro’s side as the season has worn on – and City will be hoping they regain some form of match sharpness before their promotion playoff against second placed Western Conference side the Moreland Zebras by defeating the Suns and simultaneously all but guaranteeing City third place.
Murray United, who ran out two goals to one victors over the Springvale White Eagles in round 27, will host Nunawading City in their final game of the season.
Murray United will be eager to stage a repeat of their efforts in their round 15 clash with Nunawading, which saw them run out five goals to one winners, and then must hope for both City and the Suns to suffer defeat so they can leapfrog them both into third position.
City and Box Hill will meet at Box Hill’s home ground of Wembley Park at this Saturday for a 3pm kick-off, with both sides U20 teams playing in a curtain raiser at 12:45pm.
NPL Victoria – Round 28
Melbourne City v Box Hill United
Saturday 26 August
Wembley Park, Box Hill
Seniors: 3.00pm Under 20’s: 12.45pm
Entry at gate prices