When Heidelberg found out that it would be facing a fellow NPL side early in Victorian qualifying for the FFA Cup, it was always going to present a tougher challenge.
Fresh off a sixth win in a row from all competitions, expectations were high for the men in yellow and black, especially at Olympic Village to a Hume City side that was beaten previously this season by the ‘Bergers.
All signs were pointing to another win on the trot, but a 5-4 goal fest has ended the ‘Bergers hopes of advancing to the last 32 of the FFA Cup.
It couldn’t have been a better start for the ‘Bergers, going 2-0 up after just 15 minutes with Harry Noon and Tom Cahill combining and seemed as if it would be a comfortable win to extend the undefeated streak.
But this was a dogged Hume outfit who made a habit of coming from behind. All it took was a mishit back pass and quick counter attack to get them back level, evening things up for the second half.
After the ‘Bergers took the lead again through Cahill’s brace, it was cancelled out again by Hume who simply wouldn’t go away.
Having lost skipper Luke Byles to injury for the second half in an already depleted backline, it was going to be a testing additional 30 minutes.
The ‘Bergers got themselves into a winning position once more from Lucas Derrick’s first goal for the club, but costly errors eventually took their toll with Hume grabbing two decisive goals in extra time to get them through to the next round.
An uncharacteristic night for the ‘Bergers was exacerbated with Chris Theodoridis and Josh Wilkins out of the side from the outset and stalwarts Luke Byles and Les Doumbalis substituted because of injury, forcing a makeshift defensive setup.
The ‘Bergers will now have NPL Victoria as their sole focus as a top-of-the-table clash is next up with Avondale on Saturday evening.
“It is very disappointing to be knocked out of the FFA Cup as we had high expectations on going far in the competition,” George Katsakis said.
“We have to pick ourselves up quickly for our match with Avondale and put this result behind us.”
Heidelberg United FC 4 (Noon 9’, Cahill 15’ 48’, Derrick 93’) – Hume City 5 (Delic 16’, Hewitt 26’ 84’, Sweet 94’, Markelis 109’)