NPL Round 17 Review: Hume suffer first home defeat of the season after NPL return

The easing of COVID-19 restrictions throughout Victoria saw NPL resume at Round 17. Hume City welcomed an impressive Melbourne Knights side to ABD Stadium ahead of a highly anticipated match.

The opening minutes of the game saw Knights take an early lead courtesy to an unmarked Gian Albano at the back-post.

Despite going down early on, Hume began to get into gear and a series of opportunities were created. However, the chances were not converted.

At the 16th minute, Jordan Maricic’s long-ball forward found an onside Matthew Lazarides who was clipped inside Knights’ box, but the referee waved play on which eventuated in Hume only earning a corner.

As Hume were in search of an equalizer, Knights took full advantage of their chances and were two goals to the good, after left-back Oliver Zafiridis bombed forward and calmly slotted home his side’s second of the night.

The end-to-end action continued as it looked like there were more goals to come from this game. Trevor Ssemakula continued to act as a pest for Knights and they were unlucky not to have a third, thanks to Mark Ochieng’s goal-denying slide tackle denying the pacey winger.

Hume were unlucky not to bring the deficit to one goal when Matthew Lazarides’ onside run was found by Jordan Maricic yet again, but Lazarides’ ball into the Knights box took a deflection for a corner.

Not the ideal return to NPL for Hume City as they trailed at the break by two goals to nil.

However, the home side came out firing in the second half and the pendulum of momentum began to swing their way when Josh Bingham brought the scoreline to 2-1, after getting his head on the end of Danny Dixon’s ball into the Knights box.

Moments later, it was Danny Dixon who leveled to the scores to 2-2 after Josh Bingham returned the favor by cutting the ball across the face of goal to find Dixon, who slotted past a helpless Thomas Manos.

Dixon continued to wreak havoc on Knights’ defence, and Hume were unlucky not to take the lead after failing to get a body behind his ball into the box.

As Hume looked to be running the show after leveling the score, John McGuigan received his marching orders at the 81st minute after receiving a second yellow card.

Despite being a man down, Hume looked in pole position to steal the win, but it was the Knights who capitalized on the additional man advantage. Alun Webb’s ball into the box took a wicked deflection off Patrick Langlois before going into the back of Hume’s net.

A cruel way to decide such a thrilling match between to great sides. However, it was the Knights who took all 3 points when the referee signaled the full-time whistle.

Hume City’s U21s suffered a 1-0 loss to Melbourne Knights’ U21s side, while the Hume City vs Melbourne Knights’ U19s game was called off due to a washout. 

Hume City now have their sights set on Friday the 25th of June, as they travel to Kingston Heath Reserve to face Bentleigh Greens SC. Seniors will be kicking off at 8:30pm after the U21s game at 6:15pm. The Hume City U19s game will be held on Sunday the 27th of June at the same venue, with kick-off going ahead at 1:00pm.

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