By John Fotinos
Less than a full season ago, Heidelberg travelled to ABD Stadium struggling to find a decent foothold in the NPL. Languishing in 10th spot, just a point shy of the drop zone, the ‘Bergers faced bottom placed Hume in a pivotal clash. History would record a first half hat trick courtesy of Kaine Sheppard would be the catalyst of a 3-1 win, and the genesis of a midseason run by Heidelberg United of 11 unbeaten games in all competitions.
The situation the ‘Bergers face in the Round 2 clash at Hume is not nearly the precarious scenario of 2022, but the disappointing performance and home loss at the hands of Dandenong Thunder in last week’s season opener was not the start George Kataskis would have hoped for.
Heidelberg’s defensive structure was hampered by injuries and uncertainty, and despite a stronger second half showing, the team found itself as the only side not to register a goal in the opening round – a statistic they’ll be out to rectify, no doubt.
For its part, Hume City eked out a hard fought 1-1 draw against Altona Magic at Paisley Park last week, with both goals coming within a minute of each other late in the game.
Early season form can be a hazardous game of prediction, but it promises to be a keenly fought match, as neither club will want to be behind the proverbial eight ball after just a couple of rounds.
The action kicks off at 7:30pm at Hume City Stadium on Friday, February 24. The Under 21s match will be played at the same venue at 12:30pm on Saturday, February 25.