North Geelong Warriors came away with three important points on Saturday afternoon with a convincing 2-0 win over Melbourne City Youth in Round 20 of the NPL Victoria 2 season.
Two brilliant goals from North Geelong wide man Nicholas Jurčić sealed the victory on a heavy surface at Elcho Park, reversing a trend of tough recent results from the Warriors.
The encounter’s opening goal came after just four minutes when Jurčić was released down North’s right hand side, the nippy winger cutting in behind the City back four and hitting a well-placed shot to James Delainov’s right and into the back of the net.
Delainov and North Geelong shot-stopper Daniel Žilić were kept on their toes throughout the first half, with both ‘keepers winning out against attackers in vital moments.
Disaster almost struck for the Warriors just before the half time break, when a mistake from Matthew Townley sent a City Youth attacker through one-on-one with Žilić, but Žilić smothered the chance well.
After the interval, Eze made a darting run from a wide position, evading two City defenders in the process and laid the ball back into a dangerous area, but both Michael Anderson and Matthew Thorne were unable to convert what was a glorious opportunity for North to double its lead.
Thorne would then have another chance to add to his six league goals this season when Jurčić found him with a cut-back, but Yaren Sozer, who replaced Delainov at half-time, made a fine stop from close range.
City were reduced to 10 men on 60 minutes, when their left back received two bookings within a minute; the first for cynically stopping a counter attack and the second for descent.
Joe Palatsides’ side were perhaps lucky not to be reduced to nine on 76 minutes, when captain Jordan Hall seemed to bring down Jurčić who was through on goal, but the referee chose not to intervene.
Just minutes later, Jurčić again broke free on the right hand side, this time sending a scorching strike into the roof of Sozer’s net and the Warriors faithful into raptures, securing the points for North Geelong.
The victory sees North Geelong move to equal third with Melbourne City and the race for promotion back on track.
North’s attention now turns to Sunshine George Cross at Chaplin Reserve next Saturday, with kick-off set for 3.00pm
The U20s clash was called off due to pitch conditions.
Images courtesy of Live Pixel.