A dull day at the office as Moreland City were held to a 0-0 draw at Campbell Reserve by a defensively disciplined Murray United.
The draw keeps them in second place after Dandenong City were defeated by Springvale and only closes the gap to one point when City could have gone top with a win.
The visitors, who were on the back of seven consecutive defeats were very rarely tested by a City attack which lacked a cutting edge throughout and were missing the services of both Christopher Cristaldo and Lisandro Paz especially out wide.
Surprisingly enough, City who were coming off an impressive and ruthless 6-0 win the week prior failed to fire a shot for much of the game and very rarely tested goal-keeper, Abdulkerim Koc.
Murray were also missing the returning Archie Thompson but decided to play a much more defensive approach from the onset which frustrated the likes of Apai Ukuno and Stelios Konstantinidis who couldn’t get into the game.
City were on the attack early when Jordan Lampard burst through the lines after a lovely one-two with Jesse Makarounas but couldn’t divert his shot into the back of the net.
Moments later, Makarounas was able to burst in behind this time from a Lampard through ball but was saved brilliantly by Koc who pushed it wide for a corner.
As the game progressed, tempers began to flare with Koc being booked for a back-pass which led to a scuffle between the aforementioned and Ukuno but the indirect free-kick was defended well by the visitors and kept the game level heading into half-time.
However, the second half was a different story when the visitors tested goal-keeper, Kieran McDowell with two fantastic saves as they shocked the home side and probably should have taken a shock lead.
The biggest talking point came moments later when Jesse Makarounas went down clutching his knee and was forced off with what didn’t look great for the former Victory midfielder and puts doubt into whether he will be fit to play Brunswick City next week.
Adrian Mathers turned to Ratip Cileli and the returning Conor Rafferty in search of a winner with neither being able to break down a disciplined Murray defence which didn’t allow for any chances other than a few goal-line scrambles.
United were able to soak up the time and see out the point which keeps them just above the drop-zone while City miss a chance to go top of NPL2 East heading into an important fixture next week.
Moreland will host Brunswick next week as they look to continue their undefeated run at home while Murray host the top side in NPL2 West, Altona Magic next Saturday.
Brown’s Corner Hotel Man of the Match – Brian Summerskill
A real classy performance from the Englishman who kept things ticking over in the midfield and his classy balls were key in setting up chances out wide for the City wingers and marauding full-backs especially with Lampard getting up the pitch. A big plus on a down day for the boys.