Western United NPL Weekly Wrap – Battles at the top of the table

Western United Academy

Both Western United and Calder United had marquee fixtures this weekend in NPL Victoria action with the former taking on Preston Lions and the latter facing Bulleen Lions.

Western United NPL 3 Men’s Under 21’s

Preston Lions 0-2 Western United

Goal scorers: T.Alisandratos (3’), P.Lay (84’)

Western United’s Under 21’s side struck at the beginning and the end of the match to take a 2-0 victory on Friday night over Preston Lions.

Vaughan Coveny’s men were off to the perfect start when Thomas Alisandratos found the net just three minutes in for his fifth goal in three games and ninth for the season overall.

United eased to a 5-1 win in the previous meeting between the two sides this season, but Preston made it a much tougher evening for the Green and Black on this occasion.

The visitors had to wait until the 84th minute to find the second goal, with substitute Peter Lay’s 12th of the season all but confirming the three points.

Western United NPL 3 Men’s Senior’s

Preston Lions 2-1 Western United

Goal scorer: S.Ngor (p.83’)

Anthony Frost’s senior side knew only a win against Preston would keep it in the hunt for automatic promotion to NPL 2.

But Preston came into the contest as the form side in the competition and found an early breakthrough via Connor Bell before Nuh Sehavdic doubled the lead just after half-time.

United remained in the game though and got a goal back when Sabit Ngor converted from the penalty spot with seven minutes to play in normal time.

That prompted a late onslaught, and the Green and Black was unfortunate not to be awarded a second spot kick when Charbel Shamoon was brought down in the closing stages.

Ultimately it was Preston that took the points, and United’s attentions will turn to the final three matches of the season to secure a top four finish and a place in the promotion play-offs.

Calder United NPL Victoria Girls Under 19’s

Bulleen Lions 0-2 Calder United

Goal scorers: O.Cullen (70’ OG), S.Cappola (82’)

Still locked in a tight three-way battle for the Under 19’s Premiership, Josip Loncaric’s Calder United Under 19’s side faced a tricky away trip to Bulleen Lions.

The breakthrough didn’t come until the 70th minute when Olivia Cullen diverted a cross into her own net with her knee.

Bulleen pushed for an equaliser but Calder wrapped up the points with a fine breakaway move in the 82nd minute.

After being played in behind, Sienna Cappola reached the ball just ahead of the onrushing Bulleen goalkeeper and rolled it into an empty net, booking Calder’s return to the top of the league.

Calder United NPLW Victoria Senior’s

Bulleen Lions 0-3 Western United

Goal scorers: A.Sinclair (47’), M.Taranto (p.74’), A.Groba (79’)

Mark Torcaso sought a response from his team after defeat to FV Emerging last time out, and a response is what he got.

After a cagey opening, Calder settled into the ascendancy but just couldn’t find the finishing touch. The half-time team talk evidently changed that.

Barely a minute after the restart, Raquel Deralas received the ball in space on the right-wing and swung a perfect cross towards the back post, where Aleksandra Sinclair arrived to thump a header into the top corner.

Alyssa Dall’Oste was required to make two big saves to hold onto the lead before it was doubled moments later as Melissa Taranto fired a penalty into the top corner.

It was two in five minutes as substitute Ava Groba timed her run to perfection to get on the end of a ball from Stacey Papadopoulos before lifting a shot over the goalkeeper and into the net.

The win ensures the destiny of the Premiership remains with Calder United before a huge top of the table clash against Heidelberg United on Saturday.