Following Box Hill United senior men’s unfortunate 4-3 loss against Melbourne City (youth) on Saturday, skipper Nicholas Kokolakis felt defensive lapses cost the side despite a valiant attacking display.
At the David Barro Stadium, Melbourne City got on the scoresheet with goals from Gianluca Iannuci (double), Raphael Borges Rodrigues and Emile Peios. While Box Hill replied through Jamie Mammino alongside Rowan McNamee’s twin strikes.
But for all their urgency and determined intent, Box Hill could not prevent a sixth straight league defeat, prior to which they had enjoyed a three-game unbeaten streak.
Speaking post-game, Kokolakis said, “Our performance was really good. Especially with the ball, we worked ever so hard, trying to win the ball back as soon as we could. We created a few opportunities from that. But unfortunately, as a team, we let ourselves down defensively at different stages.
“We don’t feel like we’re a team losing games. For the majority of the time, we are actually putting in good performances, but it seems to be that in both our defensive and forward boxes, we are not just clinical enough and strong enough to hold out, and put our chances away as well.
“We are process-driven and performance-driven. We hope from that, we can go into a system that can potentially win us games.”
Box Hill had bagged the bragging rights in the reverse fixture in Round 5, prevailing over City 2-1 at home.
Pointing out the difference between the two occasions, the crowd-favourite at Wembley Park added, “Every time you play Melbourne City, you know that they want to play with the ball, especially from their own goal area.
“It’s just a matter of pressing them as high as you can, win the ball back as soon as possible higher up the pitch. Because once they get out through transition, they are quite difficult to stop.
"So, that’s what we employed both times, we won once. Unfortunately [this time], it could have gone either way.”
During the mid-season transfer window, Box Hill had acquired the services of defenders Thomas Podaridis and George Voliotis, and frontman Jacob Byrns. The trio have since announced themselves with positive outings in the starting-XI week-in, week-out.
Expressing his pride for the side’s latest acquisitions, Kokokalis said, “It was important that we got some new boys in. They are good characters, they really bring a lot in the changing room behind the scenes, which is really just as important on the field.
“So, they have all contributed in different ways and I am really proud of them, because it’s difficult coming into a new environment halfway through the year and they have fitted in seamlessly.”
Box Hill next welcome Langwarrin SC at Wembley Park in Round 23 on Saturday (27 July, 3.15PM kick-off).
Photo credit: Passion Creations