Seven sides bite the dust in Australia Cup action

Dandenong City lost 1-0 to Preston Lions on Thursday night in the Australia Cup. Picture: SUPPLIED

By Marcus Uhe

A dismal weekend for South Eastern sides in the Australia Cup saw seven teams perish in the fourth round of knockout action, including National Premier League (NPL) Victoria side Dandenong City.

City’s campaign came to an end at the hands of Preston on Thursday night courtesy of a 10-minute lapse they would like to take back.

The Lions opened the scoring late in the first half and added a second immediately after the interval, with City unable to make up the ground in the remaining 40 minutes of play.

It was an upset loss for City, with the Lions in the State’s second division, the Victorian Premier League 1 (VPL), knocking out a highly-touted opponent.

Dandenong South conceded early against Bundoora United and failed to recover, suffering a 0-1 loss at George Andrews Reserve.

A dangerous pass across goal from Ali Ibraimi was picked-off by Bundoora forward Daniel Soumelidis, before Ross Phlorides produced a beautiful strike from outside the area that curled into the top-left corner of the net in the 15th minute.

The home side had a chance to equalise through Rohan Gani 10 minutes later but his shot attempt was quashed by a brilliant sliding challenge.

Dandenong South utilised crosses and balls from outside the area as a primary source for shooting opportunities but were unable to convert on a number of occasions.

The margin could have doubled through a headed attempt at point-blank range, but stopper Sermin Sadikovski made a brilliant save to push the attempt over the crossbar.

Ajdin Memeti almost produced a carbon copy of Phlorides’ first half goal with a curling ball from outside the area, but United goalkeeper Zac Cittadini managed to parry the ball to safety behind the touchline.

A shot from the resulting corner was again deflected by Cittadini, this time at close range from Kenan Akalan, pouncing on a lose ball.

Memeti then tried his luck once more from distance minutes later, as Cittadini was forced to save the day for his side once again in a manioc period of 10 minutes with the ball entrenched in Dandenong South’s attacking half.

The desperate search for an equaliser, however, went unanswered, consigning the State League 3 South East side to elimination.

It’s a second consecutive Cup elimination over a Dandenong club for United, which sent White Star Dandenong packing in round three.

Springvale White Eagles was thrashed 1-4 at the hands of St Kilda Celts FC at Keysborough’s Serbian Sports Centre.

After conceding the opener, Marko Stanisavljevic equalised in the first half before the White Eagles let in another two before the half time interval.

They conceded a fourth in the second-half to confirm the three-goal margin.

Doveton went down 1-3 at the hands of VPL1 side, Langwarrin, despite a first-half strike from Luca Slavica.

State League 1 outfit Casey Comets suffered a 0-2 loss to State League 2 side Uni Hill Eagles in a clash where both sides finished with 10 men in Mill Park.

The Comets conceded on either side of the half time interval, with Ali Nazari receiving a pair of yellow cards.

State League 4 side Endeavour United was thoroughly outmatched by NPL side Avondale FC, going down 1-11 in a lopsided affair.

Berwick City, meanwhile, fell 4-5 in a nine-goal thriller against Sunshine North.

The lead changed three times throughout the match, with scores tied 2-2 at the half.

The Eagles scored three consecutive goals to swing the game from trailing 2-3 to leading 5-3, before City pulled one back in the dying stages.

Dandenong Thunder’s next Cup fixture sees them head to Skye on Wednesday 10 April to battle Syke United.