Back again for another look at the weekend's NPL action.
The choke started early at Oakleigh this year, with the Cannons blowing a 2-0 lead inside the final ten minutes to share the points with Kingston City. The local derby finished in a flourish with a 91st minute goal and a 92nd minute red card for the Reds.
Friday night football began with North Geelong taking a point with a 1-1 draw when visiting Pascoe Vale at C.B.Smith Reserve. Paco took the lead through my favourite current NPL player, the brilliant Davey van 't Schip, but the Warriors drew level seven minutes later.
The Green Derby was an easy win for Bentleigh Greens, sealed with a 79th minute goal from substitute Andy Brennan. Will everyone need to extend bench sizes once again to accommodate the Green Gully staff?
Hume City and Melbourne Knights emulated Thursday's season opener as the Knights squandered a 2-0 lead at ABD Stadium by conceding an equaliser deep into stoppage time. Theo Markelis pulled a goal back for the hosts with eight minutes to go setting up the grandstand finish. One goalkeeper would be the hero, the other the villain. Knights custodian Fraser Chalmers was sent off for dissent, and from the delayed free-kick it was Hume's gloveman Michael Weier who headed home.
New signing Kaine Sheppard was the matchwinner for Avondale as they defeated St Albans 1-0 at Knights Stadium on Saturday in a match overshadowed by the drama in Westmeadows.
Another Saturday evening game saw Heidelberg United get up 1-0 over Port Melbourne at the Village. The game was settled by a first half own goal.
NPL Two East
Melbourne City Youth had a second consecutive 2-2 draw at home, with the same scoring sequence (0-1, 1-1, 1-2, 2-2) and all. Spooky. Murray United were their opponents, for whom Archie Thompson made his debut off the bench.
Dandenong City got their season back on track with a 5-0 thrashing of Richmond. Enes Sivic got on the scoresheet against one of his former clubs, as Ljubo Milicevic made a successful debut for City off the bench.
Conversely Dandenong Thunder crashed back down to Earth, falling to a 2-1 defeat at Springvale White Eagles. There may have been some shenanigans at this fixture, not sure if the term "Gypsy" was bandied about though.
Box Hill United and Eastern Lions played out a 0-0 draw at Wembley Park. For the second week in a row the failure to convert a penalty cost the Lions full points.
Nunawading City and Goulburn Valley Suns drew 1-1 at Mahoneys Reserve. The Suns had taken an early lead through Liam Baxter before he was sent off on the half hour mark. City were able to pull level through Mitch Cooper but were unable to claim the win against ten men. They were able to unveil their Shrine to Tiki Taka though:
NPL Two West
Northcote City's 1-0 win at Melbourne Victory Youth kept them as the early season pacesetters in NPL Two West. New skipper Josh Knight's 29th minute penalty was enough to get Hercules over the line.
Sunshine George Cross drew 0-0 with Moreland City at Chaplin Reserve. There may be a line or two more on this over at South of the Border later in the week.
Werribee City and Brunswick City also played out a draw, 1-1, at Galvin Park. The hosts lead before the visitors equalised.
Ballarat City racked up their first ever win with a 1-0 defeat of Whittlesea Ranges at Morshead Park. Pat Karras got the winner as Danny Gnjidic's boys made history.
Bendigo City may be creating unwanted history, beaten 0-7 by Moreland Zebras making it twelve conceded after just two games. Nejc Kolman hit four for the Zebras.
Results service audit shows improvement: 7 COMPLETE 8 ALMOST 1 RUBBISH
I'm still shaking my head at the Shrine of Tiki Taka. Is it a club, or an academy, or a cult?