Warriors impress in emotional win

Chudiar Tharjiath

After a difficult week, Heidelberg United played host to Oakleigh Cannons at Olympic Park, on a day that was dedicated to John Dimtsis and Arthur Nicolaidis.

The two former club presidents sadly passed away in the week leading up to the Round 4 NPL Victoria clash – the pair were known for putting their heart and soul into Heidelberg United.

A minute silence prior to kick-off was completed for the two awe-inspiring and pioneering individuals who laid down the foundations of what Heidelberg represent today. A gratitude of debt will forever be honoured by everyone involved within the club, as shown by the lovely tribute featuring members of thet Warriors walking out with the current squad.

The return of captain Reuben Way was a significant boost for the ‘Bergers team spirit, after battling injury through the opening stages of the campaign.

The Warriors wasted no time in getting the ball rolling, as Kaine Sheppard managed to get the shot away across his body which went just over the bar, in the opening attempt of the game.

Heidelberg coming out all guns blazing early in the proceedings, including a chance with Sheppard showing his physicality to shake off a tackle to give it off to Sean Ellis with a clever ball to Reuben Way only to drag his shot wide.

The huffing and puffing from the Warriors eventuated with a chance that came from nothing, as Sheppard drove forward with a low-driven strike that gave Heidelberg a deserved lead.

Nick Eres had his first real test of the afternoon in the second half as he battered away a headed chance to keep Oakleigh at bay.

After some close calls trying to find the back of the net with goalmouth scrambles, Adrian Zahra slotted a through ball to break open Oakleigh’s defence, with Kazuki Okada feeding it off to Chudiar Tharjiath to score the second ‘Bergers goal with the last kick of the match, to secure the first three points of the season for Heidelberg.

On a day when the Warrior family was drawn together by sadness, it ended with elation and joy as the final scoreline of 2-0 was a fitting way to remember John Dimtsis and Arthur Nicolaidis.

Head coach George Katsakis gave his thoughts to HUFC TV on the win:

“We’ve changed our style of play which was really important, developed a new formation, a new method of trying to get ourselves of protecting the goal and moving forward, so it was rewarding,” he said.

“What’s really important is that today the boys showed the old Heidelberg character and that’s really the key.”

Goal scorer Kaine Sheppard spoke about how it has been getting to know his teammates on the pitch, in his return to the Warrior colours:

“Playing with the boys has been nice because of the new faces – I’ve only played with a couple but to get the win and a goal is nice as well.”

Heidelberg United will be buzzing with confidence and looking for another win when they travel to play Melbourne Knights on Friday at 7:30pm at Knights Stadium.

Match Details:


Heidelberg United 2 (K. Sheppard 40′, C. Tharjaith 90+5′) – Oakleigh Cannons 0

63 – Nicholas Eres (GK)

5 – Ajdin Fetahagic

6 – Joseph Franjic

7 – Reuben Way (C)

8 – Dominic Falla

9 – Adrian Zahra

10 – Ivan Franjic

12 – Deion Nikolaidis (21 – Eoin Ashton 61’)

14 – Kaine Sheppard (23 – Chudiar Tharjiath 80’)

15 – Brian Summerskill (20 – Luka Ninkovic 61’)

19 – Sean Ellis (22 – Kazuki Okada 71’)

Subs not used:

1 – Alex Golikidis (GK)

24 – Hussain Al Sharifi

U21’s Result:

Heidelberg United 0 – Oakleigh Cannons 4 (J. Christofilos 35′, W. Regan 67′, P. Kuznetsov 81′, B. Musawi 86′ P)