NPL Round 14 Review: Hume City annihilate Dandenong Thunder 3-0 at ABD Stadium

Hume City welcome an in-form Dandenong Thunder to ABD Stadium ahead of Round 14’s highly anticipated match. The home side will be looking to bounce back after Round 13’s draw at The Grange Reserve, seeing them share a point with Kingston City. Nick Hegarty’s side needed to dig deep after Danny Dixon and Harry Monaghan were confirmed as late outs. New signing Mark Ochieng slotted straight into right back and Matthew Lazarides earned a place in the starting 11.

Hume City couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game, after a freekick won by George Howard and taken early by James Brown allowed Mark Ochieng to fire a dangerous cross into the box. The cross was flicked on by Mitch Cooper to an alert Matthew Lazarides at the back post, which saw Lazarides claim his first goal of the season and the home side leading 1-0 at the 2nd minute. Hume City almost made it 2-0 at the 8th minute, after Mitch Cooper’s brilliant cross into the box saw George Howard volley the ball into Pierce Clark.

At the 13th minute, James Brown’s defence saw him win the ball at halfway and dribble through the entire Thunder side only for his cross to be cleared for a Hume corner. The resulting corner taken by Stevie Hewitt saw the home side double their lead at the 15th minute, after Thunder’s disastrous start saw them concede an own goal off the corner. At the 17th minute, Mark Ochieng’s cross to George Howard was inches away from Hume taking a 3-0 lead. At the 20th minute, the home side’s pressure saw Mark Ochieng’s header put Mitch Cooper through on goal, but Pierce Clark was able to deny Cooper’s effort with a brilliant reflex save. At the 24th minute, a Hume City counter attack lead by Matthew Lazarides saw the home side earn a freekick which was fired over the bar by James Brown.

At the 30th minute, some brilliant combination play between Mitch Cooper and James Brown put Cooper through on goal, but Pierce Clark came racing off his line to deny the home side making it 3-0. James Brown continued to look lively for the home side and at the 36th minute, Brown’s long ball to George Howard saw Howard cut in and fire a shot on target but fell into the arms of Pierce Clark.

Halftime couldn’t have come any sooner for the away side, as Hume City managed to dominate the opening half of the game with a brilliant offensive performance. Paul Wilson and Hayden Tennant also managed to keep Brandon Barnes at bay for the opening 45 minutes

The second half saw Thunder begin to create a few opportunities of their own. At the 59th minute, Brandon Barnes managed to get free and fire a shot from the left side, but it failed to test Michael Weier. However, at the 62nd minute it was none other than James Brown who managed to get his head on the end of Gidi Sweet’s cross and put the home side up 3-0. Brown now sits top of the NPL goalscoring table with 13 goals (no penalties) this season. At the 66th minute, Michael Weier was forced into a fingertip save off a long distance shot by Omar Ammache for Thunder. Brandon Barnes then followed up with a headed effort at the 68th minute, but the ball was directed into the path of Michael Weier. At the 72nd minute, Marko Delic’s flick to Matthew Lazarides saw Lazarides attempt to chip Pierce Clark, but the shot went over the bar. At the 80th minute, Mark Ochieng found Mitch Cooper’s forward run, but the resulting shot was cleared off the line by Thunder. At the 88th minute, Brandon Barnes’ freekick failed to test Michael Weier after being well off target. Thunder then saw a shot by Nicholas Modafferi at the 90+3rd minute blasted over the bar.

The referee blew the final whistle at 90+3 minutes, which came as a sigh of relief to the away side. Nick Hegarty’s side and their high tempo football proved too much to handle for Dandenong Thunder, allowing Hume City to set the tempo from the opening minutes of the game. Hume City now have their sights set on Wednesday the 29th of May, as they host Bentleigh Greens at ABD Stadium in Round 6 of the FFA Cup. Kickoff is at 7:30pm.

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