After a resounding loss to Heidelberg United just four days prior, Port Melbourne entered Friday night’s game with a point to prove. So many teams can have a loss and that trend of losing starts to creep in and become a habit.
It’s also never easy coming up against a team that had their coached depart on the weekend prior either. Northcote City had a point to prove as they sat bottom of the NPL table.
With such an important 90 minutes coming up for both teams, this game had the script written for a thriller.
Port Melbourne welcomed back Lambros Honos after he served his suspension. He started off brilliantly in the centre of midfield, and early on tested Northcote City shot stopper Phillip Petrovski, though he did well to hold onto the ball. Jamie De Abreau was beginning to become a menace for Northcote’s defense down the right hand side, cutting into the centre of midfield.
Petrovski was kept busy inside the first 20 minutes as the Sharks mounted the pressure having had four shots on target from six attempts. Then on 26 minutes Honos from the outside of the box moved the ball onto his left foot. The shot moved to the goalkeepers left hand side, hit the inside of the post, hitting the back of the net. Goal. Sharks take the lead and the ascendancy.
From their on the Sharks dominated in the middle of the park with Alan Kearney and Honos linking up well with Zahra, De Abreau and Stirton as the Sharks moved forward applying more pressure. Northcote’s midfield was being broken down inside half way on the occasion they would make a counter attacking surge.
With Petrovksi being kept busy, a second wasn’t too far away, Stirton followed suit in Honos left foot shot bonanza as he controlled the ball in the area, turned his defender and shot into the bottom right hand corner of goal. That goal was Port Melbourne’s 11th for the half, and seventh on target. 2-0 into the break.
The second half was completely brilliant. A youthful Northcote City came out firing. Stjepan Gal was forced into back to back saves inside the first minute of the half. Anthony Rizk was proving to become a menace for the Sharks and Gal as he mounted a number of shots on the Sharks goal, with Gal keeping them at bay.
Northcote City were finding more space out wide on the flanks, and forcing the Sharks into errors, though to no avail. Then on 84 minutes, Stirton was brought down in the penalty area after having controlled the ball and trying to go around Petrovksi into an open net, the shot stopper dragged down the Sharks talisman. Penalty.
Stirton stepped up and neatly to give the Sharks a 3-0 lead and all three valuable points. The Sharks face Avondale Football Club this Friday night at JL Murphy Reserve.
Image: Rob Cruse Photography