Werribee City defeated Melbourne Victory 3-0 at Galvin Park Reserve on Sunday afternoon, cementing second spot in NPL 2 West at the close of the round, with wet and windy conditions hampering both sides throughout.
Victory started the stronger team, with multiple chances each to left winger Jack Palazzolo and striker Nuh Sehavdic in the early stages of the match. Palazzolo’s first opportunity came as he was given space to cut onto his preferred foot outside the box, curling the ball to the top right hand corner, with the shot narrowly going wide.
The winger was afforded an even better opportunity 15 minutes later, when poor marking from the Werribee defence allowed him space for a curling shot from close range, forcing Bee’s goalkeeper Nikola Kostadinoski to make a diving save down low to his right.
However, City had the young Victory team ruing their missed opportunities not long after. Link up play on the right from Lisandro Paz and Jake Butler gave full back Samuel McCall space on the right wing to run at goal, with his shot being forced to the back post, where an oncoming Liam Brian was waiting to tap the ball into goal, and take Werribee into the break with a 1-0 lead.
Things got better for Werribee before the hour mark, after a pirouette inside the box from Kiwi import Jake Butler created space off the ball for Bradley Murray to shoot from an angle. Murray would eventually scuff his shot, forcing the ball to the back post, and to an oncoming Lisandro Paz, who duly put the Bees 2-0 up with a goal bearing similarities to Werribee’s first.
Butler then capped off a man of the match display in the 75th minute with a goal of his own, after a cut back from Liam Brian afforded him enough time and space to curl a shot around the Victory keeper, eventually bouncing off the upright and into the back of the net. The goal from Butler, a former New Zealand international, was his 11th league goal this season.
After stuttering form in recent weeks, the win was an important one for Werribee, cementing a spot in 2nd place, whilst also keeping them in touching distance of Moreland Zebras in first, and the opportunity for automatic promotion to NPL 1.
The Zebras, who overcame Brunswick City 2-1 on Saturday, are sitting in first place on 40 points after consistent form over the past month, with Werribee only 3 points behind on 37 points. St Albans are also in the challenge for a top 2 finish, with a 3-0 victory over North Geelong Warriors on Sunday putting them on 36 points, with only 1 point between themselves and Werribee in second place.
Over in NPL 2 East, Eastern Lions made light work of Springvale White Eagles to move onto 40 points, whilst Bulleen Lions couldnt overcome 10 man Melbourne City in a 2-2 draw to move onto 37 points. The only other likely challenger for a top 2 finish, Northcote City, fell to Goulburn Valley Suns 4-1, after leading 1-0 at the break, to finish the round in third on 32 points.