NPL Preview: Nunawading City vs Western United

Coming off a strong showing in last week’s top of the table clash against Preston Lions, Western United will meet Nunawading City in NPL 3 this weekend looking to hold onto a top-three position.

The Match

Nunawading City vs Western United

Saturday, 22 May

Kick-off: 3:00pm

Mahoneys Reserve, Nunawading

Last time out

In the company of probably the largest crowd most of the players have ever played in front of, United came away with a point against table-topping Preston Lions in an entertaining 1-1 draw.

It was a point that coach Ante Moric would have taken pre-game, but given the events of the match there was an opportunity to claim all three.

Lions took the lead on 17 minutes but United responded quickly through top scorer Nicolas Milanovic, taking his tally for the season to six.

The game shifted on the hour mark when Preston lost their captain to a red card, and that prompted a busy final half hour for Moric’s side.

United would hit the woodwork on two separate occasions but failed to find the elusive winner in the match.

The Opponent

Nunawading City has had a rather up and down season so far, indicative of their sixth-placed position on the league table.

After four straight defeats, conceding four goals in three of those games, Nunawading has won three on the bounce, scoring 12 times in the process.

Their last outing was a thrilling come-from-behind win against Box Hill with goals in the 77th and 89th minutes securing a 3-2 win.

Player-Coach Fahid Ben Khalfallah will return for the game against United after serving a one-match ban in the last round.

Season stats

The draw with Preston ensures the two sides remain the only unbeaten teams in the league so far, but Melbourne City’s win in Geelong has seen United fall to third place on goal difference.

Milanovic is equal-third in the golden boot race, two goals behind Box Hill’s Stuart Edgar and one strike shy of Daniel Maclennan of Nunawading who has bagged four in his last three games.

On goal difference, Nunawading’s total of -1 is the lowest among the league’s top eight teams, with 16 goals scored and 17 conceded the seventh and sixth best totals in the league respectively.

Nunawading’s run of three consecutive wins places them at the top of the form table in that period, providing a stern test for United this weekend.