Round 18 of the NPL Victoria occurred over the weekend, with fans back in attendance to welcome a stunning weekend of football.
Which sides fared well and which sides failed to capitalise on the return of fans?
Find out below!
Avondale FC 2-0 Melbourne Knights
Avondale go five points clear at the top ladder after their victory over the Melbourne Knights on Friday night.
After a scoreless first half, Avondale finally broke through in the 58th minute for the opener. Yitay Towns clever finish from the edge of the box opened his goal account for season 2021. They’d secure the game late into injury time, Joseph Katebian scored the sealer courtesy of Yusuf Ahmed’s through ball.
Port Melbourne Sharks 2-2 Dandenong Thunder
Port Melbourne Sharks would leave it late to share points with Dandenong Thunder on Friday night.
It was the away side off the mark first, Hamish Watson putting the Thunder ahead in the 54th minute before Valentin Cesnik would fire the equaliser from outside the box in the 66th minute. The Sharks would go behind again five minutes later. Jamal Ali brought down in the penalty box, and Nahuel Bonada converted from the spot.
Late into regular time, Ali would be fouled once again and a scuffle between the sides would break out. Sharks forward Christopher Duggan would be then red carded for fighting.
Despite being a man down, the home side would equalise six minutes into stoppage time. John Kuol cross found Jackson Courtney-Perkins to cap off an eventful game.
Oakleigh Cannons 3-1 Green Gully SC
Oakleigh Cannons climbed to second on the ladder after a convincing away victory over Green Gully.
Green Gully were on the backfoot early, defender Caio De Godoy was red carded early in the game before the Cannons would go 1-0 up in the 29th minute courtesy of an own goal.
Cannons striker Jordan Hall shot hit the bar and took a bizarre deflection off Green Gully’s Jordan Hall for the own goal. The Cannons swiftly doubled their advantaged in the 31st minute through Joe Knowles to put the side 2-0 ahead at the main break.
It would go from bad to worse in the second half, Gully captain Jeremy Walker would also receive a red card for his reckless challenge in the 57th minute. Reduced to nine men the home side received a lifeline when they were awarded a penalty, Alex Salmons converted at the hour mark to level the scores. Matthew Thurtell then put the game beyond doubt for the Cannons in the 71st minute.
Dandenong City 4-3 Heidelberg United
Dandenong City climbed off the bottom of the ladder with a surprise victory at home against the fourth placed Heidelberg United in a high scoring affair.
City jumped quick out of the blocks, the side grabbed a 2-0 lead inside the opening ten minutes. Cameron Teese scored the opener in the third minute before he set up and Brayden Mann in the sixth minute.
United would peg a goal back before the halftime break courtesy of a penalty. Dusan Bosnjak scored from the spot in the 41st minute. City would then be rewarded a penalty of their own minutes after, Nicholas Kalmar would score to give the side a 3-1.
City would then go three goals ahead when Jacob Kitto netted in the second half. Heidelberg would score two consolation goals in stoppage time through Luka Ninkovic and Joshua Wilkins, but it wouldn’t be enough as City held on for a crucial win.
Hume City 3-0 Bentleigh Greens
Hume City finish round 18 inside the top six after an impressive win on the road against the Bentleigh Greens.
Competition top scorer Joshua Bingham opened the scoring in the 38th minute. The game would break open in the second half as Hume hammed two goals in quick succession.
Daniel Dixon scored in the 60th minute with Bingham’s second goal of the game four minutes later capped off a lop-sided victory on the road.
Eastern Lions 2-1 St Albans Saints
Eastern Lions have secured an important victory over the St Albans Saints as they go five points clear of the relegation zone, as the Saints now linger at the bottom of the table.
After a scoreless opening half, Ziggy Razuki scored the opening goal of the game in the 49th minute.
The lead would only last five minutes as the Lions would give away a penalty. Joseph Monek scored for the Saints to equalise.
Hanging on during injury time, it would be heartbreak for Saints. Substitute Aaron Fabris headed home from corner late into stoppage time for the crucial victory. After winning two of their opening three games, the Saints have gone winless in their past 12 matches.
Altona Magic 2-1 South Melbourne
Altona Magic have finally recorded their first win of the season, stunning South Melbourne at Lakeside Stadium.
South Melbourne broke first, Daniel Clark with the opening goal in the 33rd minute. The lead wouldn’t last as Dimitri Hatzimouratis equalised in the 35th minute.
Level at halftime, the Magic would go ahead in the 51st minute.
After being brought down in the box, Jon McShane would be given a penalty and score to reverse the deficit.
The Magic would be reduced to 10 men in injury time with Stefan Ristic red-carded but would still hold on for a memorable win.
Image Supplied: Hume City/Bulent Yontem