NPL Round 18 Review: Resilient second half performance by Hume City fails to see them salvage any points against Bentleigh Greens

Round 18 saw Hume City welcome second placed Bentleigh Greens to ABD Stadium. The home side look to carry their momentum from an impressive 2-1 comeback against reigning NPL champions Heidelberg United FC. The only notable change for the home side was captain Harry Monaghan returning from injury.

It was the home side who created the first chance of the game at the 3rd minute, after Ryan Scott parried Ben Bowler’s shot into the path of Marko Delic who volleyed wide. At the 10th minute it was Bentleigh who drew first blood after James Xydias’ low cross found a sliding Matthew Thurtell who put the away side up 1-0. At the 17th minute, Bentleigh nearly doubled their lead after a throw in lead to George Lambadaridis firing a shot over the bar. At the 21st minute, Bentleigh’s interception at halfway saw an onside Matthew Thurtell blast his shot over the fence. The home side nearly found themselves on level pegging at the 24th minute, after Stevie Hewitt’s ball over the top saw Marko Delic’s flick shot ricochet off Ryan Scott’s face. The 32nd minute saw Bentleigh double their lead (2-0), after Futa Nakamura was through on goal and his cut back saw George Lambadaridis slot the ball in for the away side. The home side continued to fight back despite being down 2-0 and at the 40th minute, an interception by Matthew Lazarides at halfway saw a shot from Marko Delic take a deflection and then cleared by Bentleigh.

The halftime break saw Bentleigh leading 2-0. However, Nick Hegarty’s side have proved that they can claw their way back into any game this season, and a big second half performance was needed if they were to salvage anything from the match.

The 56th minute saw Futa Nakamura fire a cross into the box, but an alert Mark Ochieng cleared the danger for a corner. The resulting corner saw the home side start a counterattack which saw Danny Dixon fire a goal bound shot at Ryan Scott. The home side continued to build momentum and at the 60th minute, Ben Bowler wasn’t afraid to fire from distance, but the shot went over the bar. At the 69th minute, Stevie Hewitt’s corner found substitute George Howard who fired a dangerous header over the bar. At the 72nd minute a dangerous cross into the box by Jacob Alexander was met by Matthew Thurtell, but the header was off target. The 77th minute saw Mark Ochieng’s ball find George Howard who fired a great shot at Ryan Scott from a difficult angle. At the 87th minute some great build up play by Hume City saw Marko Delic turn and fire from distance, but the shot was off target. As the game entered added time at the 90+2nd minute the home side continued to show heart and desire which saw Danny Dixon fire a brilliant cross into the box, but Hume City failed to get a body behind the ball.

The referee signaled full time at 90+5 minutes and it was Bentleigh Greens who left ABD Stadium with all 3 points. Hume City now look to move on from this loss and now have their sights set on Friday the 28th of June, as they travel to Frank Holohan Soccer Complex to face a new look Dandenong City. Kick off will commence at 8:30pm.

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