NPL Round 1 Review: Hewitt double seals victory for Hume City opener against Altona Magic

Hume City welcomed Altona Magic to ABD Stadium to kick off Round 1 of the 2020 NPL campaign. The home side were looking to build on their impressive 2019 season while Magic were looking to cause an upset in front of the red and white army.

James Brown kicked off proceedings for the home side after managing to find enough space to fire a shot from outside the box at Shane Vitakangas. Vitakangas was called into action again at the 13th minute, after Stevie Hewitt’s pass found an onside Mitch Cooper who fired into the Magic shot stopper. Vitakangas was called into action moments later after a Hume interception at halfway put Josh Bingham through on goal, only for the Magic shot stopper to thwart the goal bound effort. At the 17th minute, Danny Dixon’s run was picked out by Hewitt which saw the right-back’s dangerous ball into the box deflected for a corner. Hewitt continued to be a pest for the home side and at the 19th minute, his perfect cross found an onrushing Josh Bingham who headed wide by a matter of inches. Michael Weier’s goal-line save at the 24th minute allowed Hume to start a counterattack which saw Mitch Cooper fouled on the edge of Magic’s box. Up stepped Stevie Hewitt at the 26th minute who caught everyone off guard when deciding to shoot for goal, which saw ABD Stadium erupt when the ball found the back of the net. Hewitt nearly doubled Hume’s lead at the 36th minute after a Matthew Lazarides inspired counterattack saw Danny Dixon’s cross find Hewitt lurking at the back post, only for the midfielder to fire wide. At the 38th minute Magic were reduced to 10 men, after Maarten Hemmen received his second yellow card of the night for simulation.

Despite leading 1-0 at the halftime break, the scoreline didn’t reflect the dominant opening 45 minutes by the home side. Nick Hegarty definitely knew the job was far from over and needed his side to continue the momentum in the second half.

The home side began the second half with Josh Bingham nearly doubling their lead off a corner at the 54th minute. Hume continued to create numerous chances as the second half progressed, with Mitch Cooper’s teasing cross into the box finding Stevie Hewitt only for the Englishman to fire his header into Shane Vitakangas. At the 75th minute, Magic were dealt another blow and were reduced to 9 men after Nicolas Sette received consecutive yellow cards for descent towards the referee. Hume took full advantage of the additional 2 men and Matthew Lazarides’ ball into the box at the 83rd minute found Josh Bingham, whose left-footed effort was fired wide by a fraction. At the 83rd minute, Danny Dixon was sent off after receiving his second yellow of the night. At the 87th minute Hume hammered the final nail in the coffin after substitute Andy Brennan’s ball found none other than Stevie Hewitt, who fired in his side’s second goal of the night to double their lead (2-0). As the game entered added time, substitute Umut Bozdugan picked out Josh Bingham’s run but the forward’s shot took a deflection for a corner.

The referee blew the final whistle which ABD Stadium erupt with cheers for the home side’s opening victory of the 2020 NPL campaign. Despite the 2-0 scoreline, Hume could’ve easily put the game to bed in the opening minutes of the game, but a clean sheet accompanied by a “man of the match” performance by Stevie Hewitt sealed the 3 points for the team. Hume now have their sights set on Friday the 21st of February, which will see them travel to Green Gully Reserve for an 8pm game against Green Gully SC.

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