Box Hill United’s senior men ended up on the wrong side of a seven-goal thriller at the David Barro Stadium, suffering a 4-3 defeat against Melbourne City (youth).
Saturday evening’s NPL2 Round 22 fixture saw City score via Gianluca Iannuci (double), Raphael Borges Rodrigues and Emile Peios. While Box Hill replied through Jamie Mammino alongside Rowan McNamee’s brace.
Both sides tussled for supremacy from the offing, but Melbourne City managed to impose their supremacy with Iannuci’s opener from a penalty that Box Hill had conceded following a handball in the area on five minutes.
But Mammino hassled opposition goalkeeper Ahmad Taleb at the other end on eight minutes to force an error, and calmly netted unmarked to draw Box Hill level.
Box Hill custodian Christian Pavlidis then dived to his right to stave off Iannuci’s curling free-kick, while Mammino hit a roadblock in the form of Taleb, looking to extend his side’s advantage.
The hosts took the initiative though, as Borges Rodrigues ran behind the Box Hill backline and tucked home from inside the box on 26 minutes.
The visitors however, hauled themselves level on 42 minutes, as the enterprising McNamee flung himself forward inside the six-yard box to guide home Italian import Nino Lacagnina’s cross.
After the restart, Box Hill were under the cosh as City’s youngsters came out with all guns blazing.
Box Hill centre-back Dennis Nielsen had to be alert and boot the ball off the line after Pavlidis had parried a left-wing cross on 48 minutes. But the former Heidelberg United goalkeeper could not stop Iannuci from completing his double on 52 minutes, when the City forward drove home a low effort from distance.
Five minutes later, Peios snuck between two Box Hill defenders to receive a diagonal cross from the right, and calmly found the bottom-left corner from the edge of the penalty area.
Box Hill now began to turn the screw, with the Mammino-Taleb contest becoming more interesting. But the City shot-stopper twice thwarted the Box Hill marksman to preserve their advantage.
On 70 minutes, McNamee rounded off a fine move from Box Hill initiated by Danish import Nielsen down the middle. He had found Mammino on the right and the latter teed up McNamee for the third goal of the evening.
Box Hill now laid a siege in front of the opposition fortress, but the equaliser continued to elude them.
McNamee saw his 20-yard swerving free-kick deflected away from target by the City wall, while Javier Marangos’ corner created a mayhem in the opposition penalty area, but the hosts somehow survived by defending in numbers.
Close to the final whistle, Taleb parried menacing crosses from Lacagnina and McNamee, with several Box Hill attackers lurking in the back post, which ensured a slender win for City.
Box Hill United starting-XI: J Byrns (B Skliros, 61’), N Kokolakis ©, N Lacagnina, J Mammino, J Marangos, R McNamee, A Miltiadou, D Nielsen, C Pavlidis (GK), G Voliotis (T Aresti, 61’), T Podaridis (I Joseph, 67’)
Unused substitutes: B Caballero (GK), A Mohd. Sarip