By Jullian Sardana (@JullianSardana)
South Melbourne FC (2) vs Moreland City FC (1):
The 2023 NPL Victoria Men season kicked off on Thursday night at Lakeside Stadium where league leaders from last season South Melbourne hosted newly promoted Moreland City.
It was not until the final minute of the first half where the first goal of the season was scored by Moreland City’s James Hooper scoring a powerful free kick just outside the box.
Although going a goal down, it didn’t seem to bother South Melbourne at all as five minutes into the second half Alun Webb blitzes pass the Moreland City defence slotting it pass goalkeeper Alex Kondoleon to level the scores.
Midway through the second half, South Melbourne were able to complete the comeback through a Pat Langlois header securing their first win of the NPL Vic season.
Bentleigh Greens SC (1) vs North Geelong Warriors FC (3):
North Geelong made the long trip to Bentleigh and came back with a win with goals from debutant Marvin Brauweiler and Aden Gardner.
However, the first goal scored in this fixture was an own goal by Alex Baker who was unfortunately in the way of Maceo Jones’ clearance and ricochets off his leg into their own net.
Right before the half time break, North Geelong doubled their lead with German signing Marvin Brauweiler scoring from a set piece off the left wing on his NPL Vic debut.
Although being two goals down, Bentleigh were able to cut the lead to a single goal after a long range strike by Bentleigh’s captain Mario Barcia in the 66th minute.
Four minutes after, North Geelong replied through an Aden Gardner goal where Bentleigh’s goalkeeper wasn’t able to get a grasp of the ball after a Caleb Mikulic cross which fell into the path of Gardner to secure North Geelong’s third goal of the game.
Heidelberg United FC (0) vs Dandenong Thunder FC (1):
Dandenong Thunder come out victorous against Heidelberg United away from home after a Leo Mazis strike saw the bottom right corner of the Heidelberg goal in the 13th minute of the game.
Oakleigh Cannons FC (3) vs Green Gully SC (1):
Oakleigh hosted Green Gully at Jack Edwards Reserve on Friday night where Connor Hampson opened the scoring for the Cannons in the 30th minute of the game.
Oakleigh continue to increase their lead with a second goal by Alex Salmon in the 53rd minute, however two minuutes later their two-goal lead was cut back to one after a goal from Green Gully Captain Luc Jeggo.
In the 80th minute, Oakleigh were able to regain their two goal advantage with a goal from substitute Daniel Clark.
Port Melbourne Sharks SC (2) vs Avondale FC (2):
It was the hosts who got off to an early lead five minutes into the game where a Port Melbourne corner to led to a Blake Carpenter own goal. However, Port Melbourne’s fast start looked to turn into a challenging evening for them as Ross Archibald was seen red and the Sharks were down to ten men.
With an extra player at their disposal, Avondale utilised this to their advantage scoring right before half-time through Kalilou Kamara and in the 72nd minute through Manyluak Aguek.
However another set peice by Port Melbourne’s George Mells led to a debut goal for Jalil Regague only six minutes after Avondale scored their second, leading to both teams sharing the points at the end of the game.
Altona Magic SC (1) vs Hume City FC (1):
This fixture did not see any goals until the last ten minutes of the game, prior to that, John Stojcevski was given a second yellow card in the 75th minute leaving Altona with ten men. Although, Altona kept fighting and broke the deadlock four minutes later with a late free kick on the edge of the box which was taken by Jonas Markovski.
However, Hume City instantly replied from kick off with a goal from Yagoub Mustafa meaning points were shared at full time.
St Albans Saints SC (1) vs Melbourne Knights FC (1):
The last fixture of the round saw St Albans host the Melbourne Knights at Churchill Reserve where a George Ott goal in the 33rd minute gave the Saints the lead.
As the game was coming close to an end, it looked like St Albans would take all three points, but this wasn’t the case as former Socceroo Ivan Franjic scored a late equaliser for the Knights in the 86th minute of the game.