After a tricky start to the season, Heidelberg United secured their first win of the NPL men’s season in a Round 4 clash against the Oakleigh Cannons.
With pressure mounting from a tough loss away in the week prior against the Bentleigh Greens, the Bergers’ rose to the occasion delivering an emphatic 2-0 win.
Speaking post-match, head coach George Katsakis shared his thoughts on the game and the emotional lead up into the round.
“I think there were some early signs there last week when we went into that second half,” he said.
“We changed our style of play which was really important, developed a new formation and a new method of trying to get ourselves into protecting goal and then moving forward.
“This week we carried on from that and of course it was rewarding.”
The return of captain Reuben Way, who had missed the first three rounds of the season due to injury, was cited as an impactful addition to the team,
“It makes a huge difference as a lot of experience comes back into our team,” Katsakis said.
“The boys showed that old Heidelberg character and that’s really important.”
The week was a difficult one for the Heidelberg United community, with two past Club Presidents, John Dimtsis and Arthur Nicolaidis sadly passing away. The club paid tribute to the two gentleman, holding a minutes silence prior to kick-off to honour the lasting contributions they made to both Heidelberg United and football more broadly,
“It’s been a difficult week for the whole club and particularly for some of us who have grown up with those two gentleman,” Katsakis said.
“They were a big part of my life and were involved in my day-to-day discussions here at the club.
“I’ve been brought up at the club and I have long memories of both John and Arthur. It was super important that we stood up today and really battled – it gave us another incentive to win and ensure today was memorable for the whole club.”
Alongside an impressive low-driven goal from Kaine Sheppard, the Bergers’ sealed the win with a late goal from substitute Chudiar Tharjiath with the last kick of the game. Katsakis commended the cohesive team outfit which saw Heidelberg resolutely earn their first three points of the season,
“This is about a squad of 20 players, it’s not about the 11 starting players,” he said.
“If everyone’s contribution week in, week out is second to none, you’re bound to get more positive results, and again today that was a showing of every player contributing toward a positive result”
The Bergers’ will work to continue their winning ways as they look towards their Round 5 clash in an away game against the Melbourne Knights this Friday night.