Victory retains top spot on NPL 1 East ladder


Melbourne Victory has retained its spot at the tip of the PS4 NPL 1 East table with a hard fought 5-2 Victory over Nunawading City at a rain-soaked Mahoneys Reserve on Sunday afternoon.

With rain pelting down throughout the match leaving the pitch almost unplayable it was the home side who took a shock lead inside the first five minutes through Stefan Papageorgiou. 

The young midfielder picked up the ball on the edge of the area before unleashing an unstoppable effort into the top corner, making it 1-0. 

With the ball almost stopping every few meters, both sides struggled to play the fluid possession game we have come to expect. 

The visitors then went close through Joey Katebian and later through John Maclean, who were both thwarted by good saves from former Victory youth team keeper Keegan Coulter. 

It didn’t take long for Melbourne to level the scoring though as Katebian caught Coulter off his line with a long range lob from 35 yards out. 

Things seemed to be resuming normality when Victory took the lead just three minutes later as Katebian got on the end of a fantastic quick free-kick from the right to smash home a second, leaving Coulter with no chance. 

Victory striker Maclean then spurned two great chances to double his side’s advantage but to the former Kingston City man’s dismay he was unable to convert. 

Nunawading then made full advantage of Victory’s inability to put the game to bed, going up the other end to equalise in the 60th minute. 

A quick throw in from Anthony Giannopoulos released his side down the left with the ball eventually ending up at the feet of Daniel Patterson, who took a touch before coolly slotting the ball home past Andre Jannese to make it 2-2. 

Victory then put the game beyond doubt with two goals in two minutes through Katebian and Dion Paola who made the most of some lax defending from Nunawading to seal the result, leading 4-2 with 20 minutes to play. 

Katebian capitalised on a poor touch from Coulter, attacking the goalkeeper before slotting into an empty net to make it 5-2. 

Nunawading had one final chance on goal via a free-kick in stoppage time but the effort on goal was saved by Jannese, who tipped the ball over the crossbar. 

The result sees the Victory remain on top of the PS4 NPL1 East table with Nunawading still searching for its first points of the season.