NPL Preview: City v Whittlesea Ranges


Melbourne City FC will look to build on its 3-3 draw with Western United in Round 6 when the team face Whittlesea Ranges FC in Sunday evening NPL3 action.

Last time out, City fought hard for the point away from home against United in a game packed with bizarre moments and incredible goals.

The young outfit were bolstered by the returns of Alec Mills, Kerrin Stokes, Matthew Sutton and Raphael Borges Rodrigues, the latter of whom replaced the recently-returned Anthony Lesiotis at half-time.

Things started poorly for the visiting City side, with Western United finding the back of the net within just 26 seconds of kick-off, working the ball into the box and isolating Nicolas Milanovic to finish past Matt Sutton.

The game’s next goal was perhaps even more remarkable than United’s lightning fast start, with United keeper Charlie Emery fumbling a dangerous cross from Moonib Adus straight into the path of Max Caputo, the ball ricocheting off the City striker’s leg and looping into the back of the net.

A truly bizarre moment allowed City to net its second goal in the 31st when a mix-up between goalkeeper and defender led to a comical handball and penalty which was converted clinically by Max Caputo.

The goals kept coming though, with Western equalising following a turnover directly from a City throw-in that Rhys Bozinovski capitalised on to finish past Sutton to make the scores 2-2 as the teams headed in for half-time.

After coming on at half-time in place of Lesiotis,  Borges Rodrigues nearly made an instant impact in the 53rd when he forced a brilliant reflex save from Emery following Caputo’s cutback from the byline.

The deadlock was broken in the 79th minute by Western United, Milanovic netting an incredibly volley from well outside the area to put his team ahead.

However, a defiant City wouldn’t be denied a point from the encounter despite the home side’s desperate defending, and the team were able to secure a last-gasp equaliser when they worked the short corner to cross in for Jordan Bos, who was able to tap the ball in from close range.

Having secured the tough point on the road, the City boys will welcome being back at Casey Fields when they host ninth-placed Whittlesea Ranges FC in Round 7 this Sunday.

Sunday’s opposition will likely still be reeling from the result of their Round 6 clash, suffering a 2-0 defeat at home to bottom-of-the-table Ballarat City, who secured their first win of the season.

Whittlesea have scored just six times this campaign, with the bulk of their goals shared between Thomas Cahill and Dimitri Kosmas with two each.