Given there's been more past than present or future on the blog in recent years, I thought I'd start a weekly match review to try and balance the ratio somewhat. Not sure how long it will last. If it's considered odd to start a review of the round on a Monday when there may still be games to be played, I declare that on Monday the weekend is over and it is time for a review, and that Monday night football is an abomination I have no time for.
NPL Two East
I was in attendance, with a couple of thousand people probably, at the season opener at George Andrews Reserve on Friday night as two title contenders were expected to slug it out. Instead of an epic classic, it turned out to be lopsided like Quade Cooper's fight against the fat bloke on the Mundine/Green undercard. Dandenong City looked alright early on, but once Dandenong Thunder stepped up a gear the visitors were unable to keep up with them. Brandon Barnes, who probably has scored more goals than he's spent days in this country, was once again the star of the show. Thunder's bright start will probably have the naysayers predicting another choke like last season, but they certainly looked the goods in this game. City will be hoping to get Ljubo Milicevic on the park as soon as possible, and for their newly assembled squad to start to gel.
Richmond would have been disappointed with their 2-2 draw at Melbourne City Youth if only for the fact that they squandered the lead twice. A late equaliser by the National Youth League Champions was the first of three draws in the division on the opening weekend. Good to see Andrew Viola back in white and skippering Alemannia.
Box Hill United had to start the season with a country road trip, and it resulted in a goalless affair at Murray United. The much publicised signing of Archie Thompson by Murray United did specify a short term stint rather than a long term commitment, and he did not take part in this game.
Springvale White Eagles also had to hit the road, coming back from their visit to the Goulburn Valley Suns with a 4-3 win. The White Eagles can score as readily as they concede, and after twice trailing, hit the front with a goal from Dejan Stoilovic in the 84th minute and held out for the win.
On Sunday it was a case of missed opportunities for the Eastern Lions as they blew a lead, and then a penalty to regain it, in their 1-1 draw with Nunawading City. City's idea that they now might have to win games to avoid relegation saw them splash out on some former A-League players in the off-season. It was indeed James Brown who earned them their point with his 51st minute equaliser.
NPL Two West
Moreland City and Werribee City commenced this division with a 1-1 draw, which may get a mention at South of the Border later in the week.
Sunshine (still, for now) George Cross staged a late fightback to come from two goals down to snatch a draw at Moreland Zebras. Adam Hodor was the Georgies hero with goals in the 81st and 86th minutes.
Championship favourites Northcote City strolled to a 5-0 win at Bendigo City. There were five different scorers for the rampant Northcote, while Bendigo racked up four yellow cards.
Brunswick City opened their campaign against another country team that has been rebranded/reformed in Ballarat (wait for it...) City. Sharp improvers last term, Brunswick are shaping to be contenders this season.
Whittlesea Ranges drew 0-0 with Melbourne Victory Youth. The number of corner flags remaining at Epping Stadium remains unknown.
Some of this information is gathered from Twitter, some from club websites, and a little bit from Soccer-Forum. In terms of the NPL website, it's time to audit the match information found on sportsg.com
To be considered COMPLETE, a match needs full details of goalscorers, cards and substitutions entered, as well as the squad list to indicate starting line-up and substitutes. To be considered ALMOST COMPLETE a match needs at least the scorers details and at least one team's line-up. I don't think I need to define RUBBISH.
After week one it's RUBBISH leading the way on 4, with COMPLETE and ALMOST COMPLETE on 3.