NPL Round 2 Review: 1 clean sheet, 2 goals & 3 points for Hume City as they triumph over Green Gully

Round 2 saw Hume City travel to Green Gully Reserve to face a side who also had an impressive 2019 campaign. Hume were looking to build on their 2-0 victory against Altona Magic in round 1, while Green Gully were looking to bounce back from their 4-2 defeat to a newly promoted St Albans.

The away side started off lively after Mitch Cooper found an onrushing Matthew Lazarides who dribbled into Gully’s box, but the shot was blocked by a defender. Hume continued to heap pressure on Gully’s defence and nearly took the lead at the 5th minute, after a series of corners eventually saw Paul Wilson’s thumping header to deflect off the woodwork. At the 17th minute Matthew Fletcher had enough time to dribble and deliver a dangerous ball into the box, but an alert Michael Weier prevented the danger. Hume finally broke the deadlock at the 32nd minute with Josh Bingham slotting in his first goal of the season, courtesy to Matthew Lazarides finding Stevie Hewitt’s dangerous run into the box and Hewitt picking out an unmarked Bingham. Moments later after kickoff Gully were awarded a dangerous freekick, which eventually saw Michael Weier rise above the pack to fist the ball away from danger and Jeremy Walker’s follow up attempt blasted over the bar.

Hume entered the halftime interval leading 1-0 and knew they had to put the game to bed early in the second half, to kill off any momentum Gully were looking to build after only being down by a goal.   

Mark Ochieng looked lively for his side in the opening minutes of the second half, after his interception saw him deliver a dangerous cross that was flicked on by Josh Bingham into the path of Jerrad Tyson. Gully were struggling to clear their lines after Hume’s high pressing game saw them begin to dominate the midfield. However, at the 58th minute Gully had their best chance of the game after an onside Matthew Fletcher drilled a low shot from outside the box into Michael Weier, but the Hume shot stopper thwarted the effort to safety. Nick Hegarty’s substitution of Andy Brennan immediately paid dividends, after Brennan won the ball and found an open Ben Bowler in the middle of the park. Bowler then played a forward pass to James Brown who turned and hammed home Hume’s second of the night at the 65th minute, while also claiming his first goal of the season. Hume were now after killing off any momentum Gully were looking to conjure. Hume weren’t resting on their laurels and Nick Hegarty wanted his side to open the goalscoring floodgates and they nearly did so, after starting a counterattack at the 71st minute which saw Stevie Hewitt almost triple his sides lead. Moments later it was Andy Brennan who nearly added to Hume’s lead at the 73rd minute, after blasting a shot over the bar courtesy to some brilliant combination play between Josh Bingham and James Brown. At the 85th minute Gully nearly crawled back into the game, after Matthew Fletcher’s shot from distance took a deflection and was bound for the top corner, but Michael Weier was brilliant yet again to prevent the danger. As the game entered its 7 minutes of added time, Andy Brennan’s footwork on the wing saw him dribble past his defender with ease and the resulting ball found Stevie Hewitt, whose shot forced Jerrad Tyson into a reflex save. James Brown’s follow up attempt saw Andy Brennan’s tap-in at the back post deflect off the post which left the crowd in awe.

The referee blew the final whistle at 90+6 minutes which saw Hume City claim their second victory and second clean sheet, to start their 2020 NPL campaign. Hume now have their sights set on Saturday the 29th of February, which will see them welcome Dandenong City to ABD Stadium for an 8pm kick off.

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