NPL and Calder United Preview: Victorian football returns

NPL squad team huddle

With three weeks between the last round of NPL fixtures in Victoria, Western United’s NPL sides as well the Calder United women will return to the pitch this weekend.

Western United will face Springvale White Eagles looking for a quick rediscovery of pre-lockdown momentum, while Calder United will face Bayside United.

The Matches

Western United vs Springvale White Eagles

Friday, 30 July

Kick-off: 8:30pm

Serbian Sports Centre, Keysborough

Bayside United vs Calder United

Saturday, 31 July

Kick-off: 3:15pm

Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, Cheltenham

Last time out

Western United left it late to beat Geelong in the last round of fixtures three weeks ago, with a stunning Rhys Bozinovski brace securing the win.

A brilliant solo effort drew United level midway through the second half before a long-range rocket stole all three points for Ante Moric’s men in injury time.

That win marked the first time the team has won consecutive games in NPL this season and maintains United’s position in third on the table, just four points off top spot.

Calder United also secured a second straight victory last time out, with a strong performance resulting in a comfortable 3-0 win.

Harriet Withers scored her sixth goal of the season in the win, a result that has Calder also in third place in NPLW.

The Opponents

Springvale White Eagles will come into the clash after some mixed pre-lockdown form saw them settle in 10th place on the table.

Springvale provided one of the shock results of the season by thumping table-topping Preston Lions 4-1 away from home at the end of June, but disappointing losses to Nunawading City and North Sunshine Eagles followed, conceding seven goals across the two games.

In NPLW, Bayside United are rooted to the bottom of the table, yet to pick up a point in 11 matches so far.

Bayside was scoreless in four games before lockdown, but did push top of the table FV Emerging to just a 2-0 result in the final game before the league’s shutdown.

Season stats

After finally clinching those first back-to-back wins, Western United is now closer to top spot than it has been since the third round of the season.

United has still only lost one game all season, and a run of three wins in five has the side challenging at the top once again.

Recently announced A-League scholarship signings Adisu Bayew and Ajak Deu have starred so far, while Manny Aguek remains the top scorer in NPL 3 with 11 goals in 13 games.

Calder United has NPLW’s best defence, and will be boosted by the commencement of a women’s development squad during June, led by current head coach Mark Torcaso.

Bayside United’s six goals scored in the season so far is a league-low, meaning Calder has a great opportunity to maintain its challenge at the top of the league.