Top of the PS4 NPL2 Eastern Conference table after 11 rounds, Melbourne City will travel to Coburg on Saturday to take on Victoria’s oldest football club, Moreland City FC.
City come into the match on a two-game winning streak, having dispatched Nunawading City FC and Ballarat City FC in the previous two rounds to right the ship after a three game losing skid threatened to ruin City’s strong start to the season.
Goals to Denis Genreau and Marko Delic were enough for City against Ballarat in round 11, their 5th and 64th minute goals enough to secure a win over a physical Ballarat side that finished the game strongly.
The 2-0 result was also notable as City’s first clean sheet of the season, a testament to the form the centre back pairing of Ali Eyigun and Jordan Hall and goalkeeper James Delianov have been in over the two game winning streak.
Also notable was the performance of Josh Cavallo. Playing out of position in the number six role, the 17 year old earned praise from coach Lachlan Armstrong in the win, the coach labelling his play “terrific” and a “catalyst” for City’s attacking movement.
The win sees City as one of three teams atop the NPL2 Eastern Conference on 20 points. Their superior goal difference of +11 enough to see them listed above previous league leaders Dandenong City SC (+10) and the Dandenong Thunder (+9) on the table.
As part of the conference cross-over in round 12, Dandenong City will travel to face Bendigo City FC (10th in the Western Conference with 1 point), whilst the Thunder will host Whittlesea Ranges FC (4th in the Western Conference on 18pts.
Opponents Moreland City come into the clash with City sitting in second on the ultra-competitive Western Conference table, their one loss on the season coming in the difficult away trip to Albury-Wodonga in a loss to Murray United.
Previous weeks have seen the Coburg based side – the result of a merger between Moreland and Park Rangers in 1985 and a subsequent merger with Coburg in 1990 – only able to muster draws with Springvale White Eagles (1-1) and Whittlesea Ranges FC (2-2) in league play.
Any thoughts of a form slump however, were put paid to in mid-week when the side knocked NPL 1 side and 2015 quarter finalists Oakleigh Cannons out of the Westfield FFA Cup with a 4-2 win.
The Moreland City side, coached by Adrian Mathers, features the likes of former NPL golden boot winner Trent Rixon (who won the award in 2010 with Northcote City), South Sudanese International Apai Ukono and former Welsh Premier League player Corey Thomas amongst their ranks and may very well provide City with their biggest challenge so far this season.
The two sides will meet at Campbell Reserve in Coburg at 3pm, with the curtain raiser between the two sides U20 teams to kick off at 1pm.
NPL Victoria – Round 12
Moreland City FC vs Melbourne City
Saturday 29 April
Campbell Reserve, Coburg
Seniors: 3.00pm Under 20’s: 1.00pm
Entry at gate prices