Two of NPL Victoria’s biggest rivals – Heidelberg United and Bentleigh Greens went at it at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, with the 1-1 contest not disappointing.
A lot was at stake for both sides on a chilly and wintery night – the ‘Bergers, with skipper Reuben Way back after a month on the sidelines, looking to respond to their surprise FFA Cup exit against Nunawading City, whilst the Greens were searching for their first win at home this season at the fourth attempt.
With defences on top in the first half, including some heroic goal line clearances, neither side could open the deadlock despite an enthralling battle.
It was Brent McGrath who got the opener for Bentleigh on 52 minutes, capitalising on a low cross that found its way to him on the far post. Despite the setback, the ‘Bergers considered themselves well in the contest at that point.
When goal scorer McGrath was sent off for a second bookable offence, a window of opportunity opened up for Heidelberg to at least take something from the match.
The ‘Bergers began to pile on relentless pressure, with the closest of the chances coming from Sean Ellis, who was very unlucky to not score in the top corner.
The persistence was rewarded when a penalty was given for a handball in the box, prompting Dusan Bosnjak to clinically get the equaliser from the spot. Bosnjak becomes the seventh Warrior to score for the ‘Bergers this season, and his goal stretches the ‘Bergers undefeated run to six matches in the NPL in 2021.
The 1-1 stalemate is yet another indication of just how tight the rivalry remains between the ‘Bergers and Greens.
Bentleigh Greens 1 (McGrath 53’) – 1 Heidelberg United (Bosnjak 83’ (penalty))
Team Line Up:
1 – GK – Theodoridis
2 – Wikins
4 – Roberts
5 – Fetahagic
7 – Way
8 – Bosnjak
10 – Okada (Ninkovic 88’)
11 – Strickland (Ashton 80’)
18 – Theodoropoulos (Lino 68’)
19 – Ellis
22 – Falla
Subs Not Used:
30 – GK – Matosevic
6 – Hall
Under 21 result:
Bentleigh Greens 0 – 2 Heidelberg United (Dufton 1’, Girardi 68’) – giving the ‘Bergers their second win of the season.