Box Hill United welcome NPL2 (VIC) champions Dandenong City to Wembley Park in the season’s final game, and head coach Brian Vanega has praised his wards for ‘heading in the right direction’.
Dandenong secured NPL promotion for the first time in their history, following a 3-1 victory over Melbourne City, which was their second success in two matches.
Vanega’s United are also on a two-game winning streak, which began with a season-defining 2-0 triumph over Murray United. A 2-1 victory followed against Moreland City, who have the division’s meanest defensive record.
The Moreland fixture at Clifton Park created further headlines after 17-year-old Vasili Tsoumpris’ stunning senior debut, who climbed off the bench midway through the second period to score a sumptuous opener off his first touch.
Box Hill currently sit eighth with 29 points after 27 rounds, while league-leaders Dandenong have put things beyond doubt with 60 points from 27 matches.
Vanega expects this Saturday’s fixture to be a similar challenge like Moreland and said: “They’ve (Dandenong City) got quality all over the park, you cannot pinpoint one area. They have players who have won championships at the next level.”
How can Box Hill match their opponents? “We have done that (challenged stronger teams) the last two weeks. It’s a lot about the mental toughness and ability, and a lot of work rate,” explained Vanega.
“The more experienced players are able to deliver a performance more consistently. So, they have a higher level of work rate. This group [of Box Hill players] is definitely heading in the right direction. I cannot commend them enough – we are doing very well.”