NPL Report: City 4-4 Werribee

An entertaining 90 minutes at Parade College saw Melbourne City take a share of the points in a 4-4 draw with Werribee City on Saturday afternoon.

The see-sawing affair saw both sides have their moments of dominance, City leading 2-0 at the break before an inspired half-time substitute saw Werribee take a 4-2 advantage. The twists didn’t end there though, with two goals in the dying stages securing a point for City.

Team News

Head Coach Crisdion Krstevski continued to remain with a relatively settled line-up, making two changes from last week’s 4-1 win over Manningham.

Starting XI: 1. James NIEUWENHUIZEN (GK), 45. Harry SHILLINGTON, 4. Josh DAMEVSKI, 5. Jordan DELLIDIS (C), 2. Dom FOLINO, 17. Sebastian ESPOSITO, 8. Emin DURAKOVIC, 16. Emile PEIOS, 33. Luqman HASSANI, 44. Tobenna OBANI, 23. Max CAPUTO.

Substitutes: 90. William SPARROW (GK), 6. Justin PAOLILLI, 24. Alec BECVINOVSKI, 30. Jospeh DE LOS SANTOS MYLES, 43. Marcus HUMBERT, 48. Medin MEMETI.

What happened?

It was a cagey beginning to the contest, but City was able to settle first.

The first sight at goal came in the ninth minute after some nice play in the build-up from Luqman Hassani to find Tobenna Obani, but the winger’s shot at goal didn’t have the power required to seriously trouble the goalkeeper.

That duo were again involved less than five minutes later when the opener would come. A great long ball from Josh Damevski in defence opened up the pitch, with Obani receiving on the left and playing a classy one-two with Dom Folino, before finding Hassani at the back-post for a simple tap-in.

City goalkeeper James Nieuwenhuizen was called into serious action for the first time of the day in the 18th minute, reacting quickly and making himself big to deny a good Werribee 1-v-1 chance.

A dynamic front third saw City creating plenty of chances and causing issues for the Werribee defence, and the pressure stepped up a notch on the half-hour mark.

Max Caputo went agonisingly close to doubling the advantage after Hassani beat his man on the right and found him unmarked in the box, but his header was well saved.

There was no save being made in the 44th minute though, with Obani this time involved and finding the striker for a simple cutback that was tapped home from close range.

A half-time substitute for Werribee would turn the game on its head in the second half, with Lewis Bamford causing plenty of issues for City.

It was a scrappy opening to the second half with the game mostly played between the penalty boxes, but Bamford was still on target twice – first finding the back of the net from close range and then from the penalty spot.

Caputo was inches away from his second of the afternoon moments later as City looked to re-take advantage. Emin Durakovic cut the Werribee defence apart with a perfect ball to play Caputo in behind, but his strike across goal from a tight angle hit the woodwork and stayed out.

Bamford scored twice in three minutes to give Werribee a 4-2 advantage with just fifteen minutes to play, putting City right on the back foot after not having done a whole heap wrong throughout the contest.

City’s third goal came in the knick of time in the 87th minute, breathing life into what had moments before looked to be an unlikely comeback. Emile Peios whipped a ball from the right-hand side into the box to Obani, who nodded down to Folino, the full-back taking a touch, turning and firing home to make it 3-4.

It took just two minutes for the equaliser to come, Folino once again playing a big part. He pulled off a nifty turn to beat his man and drove down the byline, putting a cross onto the head of substitute Marcus Humbert who guided it into the back of the neck to complete the comeback.

City pressed hard for a winner in the final moments and whipped a number of balls into the box, but Werribee defended valiantly and the points were shared.

What’s next?

City are back home again next Saturday, set to take on Langwarrin SC in a 3pm kick-off at Parade College.