NPL Finals Series Quarter Final
3pm Saturday 17th September
Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, Melbourne
Past NPL Finals Results:
Bentleigh Greens: (1st Appearance)
2013 – NPL VIC not started
2014 – DNQ
2015 – DNQ
Edgeworth Eagles: (2nd Appearance)
2013 – NPL NNSW not started
2014 – DNQ
2015 – Lost in Quarter Finals to Moreton Bay United 3-1
Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):
Edgeworth – Won Broadmeadow Magic 2-1 (NPL NNSW Grand Final), Lost Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1 (FFA Cup), Won Maitland Magpies 2-1 (NPL NNSW Semi-Final)
Bentleigh – Lost Oakleigh Cannons 3-1 (NPL VIC Semi-Final), Won Devonport Strikers 1-0 aet (FFA Cup), Won Port Melbourne Sharks 4-1 (NPL VIC)
Edgeworth travel to Melbourne to take on the Bentleigh Greens on Saturday with the aim to keep alive their incredible season. In 2016, they have achieved all their goals, in winning back to back minor and major premierships in the NPL Northern NSW, while also becoming the first side from Northern NSW to reach the round of 16 of the FFA Cup.
Their opponents the Bentleigh Greens have had an impressive season also, taking out the minor premiership in NPL Victoria to book their place in the NPL Finals Series. Their finals run in NPL Victoria was cut short a week before the Grand Final, when they went down 3-1 to the 4th placed Oakleigh Cannons. In the FFA Cup they have had fantastic success over the years, making the Semi-Finals in its debut year, only to go down 3-0 to Perth Glory, and while not qualifying for the Round of 32 last year, have returned to the Quarter Finals in 2016 and will meet the Melbourne Victory.
While Edgeworth have the experienced Daniel McBreen upfront as the only player with A-league experience, centre back Josh Evans is also very impressive at the back. Both McBreen and Evans will be key to the Eagles chances of making it through this tough match-up, with McBreen scoring two goals in Edgeworth’s Grand Final victory in the NPL NNSW, as well as grabbing their lone goal in their FFA Cup clash with the Wanderers. In the big matches this season McBreen and Evans have stood tall and expect the same this weekend.
In comparison to the Eagles, Bentleigh have three players who has played in the A-league in Josh Brindell-South, Luke Pilkington and Ross Archibald. All three have only played a handful of games, for their clubs Wellington Phoenix, Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City respectively but will be key men for the home side come Saturday. Veteran Englishman Jack Webster will also be key for the Greens, with his experience as a youth player Scunthorpe in the UK serving him well in the NPL. Having played over 150 matches for Bentleigh his performance could have a big influence on Saturday’s result.
This match will provide a good assessment of just how close the competitions in Northern NSW and Victoria are. Sides from the regions have met on two occasions in the FFA Cup, back in 2014 when fourth-tier side South Springvale beat South Cardiff on penalties after a 2-2 draw, and last year Heidelberg United beat Broadmeadow Magic 3-1 in Newcastle. No side from Victoria or NNSW have ever made it past the Quarter-Finals of the NPL Finals, that will no longer be the case after Saturday. This one shapes up as a tight encounter and it seems the experience Daniel McBreen and Jack Webster could hold the key.