By Alex Bagdasarian
Heidelberg United played host to Eastern Lions in Round 13 of the Men’s NPL season on Sunday afternoon, desperately hoping to break an apparent home hoodoo.
With a new wave of injuries to significant players following the midweek win over Ballarat City in the Round 6 Australia Cup tie, George Katsakis brought Ivan Franjic and Dominic Falla back into the starting line up along with skipper Reuben Way, returning after a lengthy injury layoff, with Brendan White back as goalkeeper.
An early goal gave the ‘Bergers the lead, Chudiar Tharjiath pressure on the last defender forcing the sloppy error, allowing Tarjiath to capitalise on the mistake.
Home games for the Warriors this season have been of real concern, almost in direct contrast with their impressive away form and wins. The sole home win for the Warriors this season was the 2-0 victory against Oakleigh in an emotional day for the club, farewelling two club legends that had passed away.
The away side managed to get back into the match, in swinging free kick finding Konstantinos Stratomitros to header the ball to equalise the game.
All of a sudden the match had turned on its head for the Warriors, with Eastern Lions awarded a penalty just before the main break, Ioannis Georgopoulos scored the spot kick goal to give the away side the lead.
Heidelberg started the restart strongly, with Kaine Sheppard once again on the scoring sheet, doing brilliantly to hold off the opposing player behind him to finish with a flourish from close range to level the game.
The ‘Bergers had opportunities through Reuben Way and Tharjiath to finish the game off but were unable to find the back of the net – much to the chagrin of the faithful supporters, who saw another home match slip by without a win.
A frustrated George Katsakis caught up with HUFC TV post-match, and was disappointed in the defending and the decision making from his team.
“For a team that is looking forward to possibly making a finals run, we need to be winning games like that,” he said.
“No excuses, l feel that even though we started the game very strong and got the goal up, some poor defending and some poor decision making didn’t allow us to get maximum points.”
Heidelberg United will have one of its toughest tests of the season next Sunday (May 22) at 3pm against South Melbourne in the traditional Greek Derby at Olympic Village.
Heidelberg United 2 (C. Tharjiath 11,’ K. Sheppard 46,’) – Eastern Lions 2 (K. Stratomitros 22,’ I. Georgopoulos 45+2,’)
GK – 1 – Brendan White
5 – Ajdin Fetahagic
6 – Joseph Franjic
7 – Reuben Way
8 – Dom Falla
10 – Ivan Franjic
12 – Deion Nikolaidis (22 – Kazuki Okada 46’)
14 – Kaine Sheppard
18 – Anthony Theodoropoulos (17 – Josh Pin 46’)
21 – Eoin Ashton
23 – Chudiar Tharjiath (20 – Luka Ninkovic 61’)
Subs not used:
GK – 63 Nick Eres
24 – Hussain Al Sharifi
38 – Mathew Tsalikidis