It was a memorable after-the-siren win from the Northern Blues over Port Melbourne. (PHOTO CREDIT: Rose Zarucky)
THE Northern Blues stole victory from Port Melbourne, with a goal after the siren sealing a famous win at ADCON Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Northern dominated the contest in the first half, capitalising on efficient and clean ball movement to build a critical lead.
However, Port Melbourne fought hard in the second half of the game and hit the front for the first time in the dying seconds of the game. It was left to VFL-listed youngster Jean-Luc Velissaris with the nerves of steel, kicking a goal after the siren to hand Northern a four-point win.
It was a red hot start in the opening term from Northern, with efficiency a hallmark of its first quarter. Clean disposal going forward and elite tackling pressure saw the Blues kick four goals to Port Melbourne’s one. Sam Fisher led the way for Northern, collecting eight disposals in the opening term. It was a strong defensive effort by Northern, with Port Melbourne’s first and only goal for the term coming 21 minutes into the quarter. Kym Lebois was a livewire up forward, burning Port Melbourne’s defenders off the pack to get his first major for the day. Alex Fasolo also kicked a mercurial goal, winning the ball out of the contest and manoeuvring his way from Port’s defenders to snap the goal on the boundary.
Northern picked up where they left off in the second term, with two quick goals from Jarrod Garlett and Sam Fisher extending the lead to 35 points. The contest balanced from there, as Port Melbourne began winning more of the ball to even up possession. Despite improved ball movement going into the second term, inaccuracy in front of goal cost Port Melbourne in its efforts to cut Northern’s lead. Northern capped off the second term with great link-up play from half back, starting with Patrick Kerr and Fasolo to set up Garlett‘s second and maintain Northern’s comfortable lead of 27 points going into the half-time break.
— Northern Blues FC (@NBluesFC) July 14, 2019
Conditions worsened in the third term with heavy rain punctuating the beginning of the quarter. Despite the crucial lead Northern gathered early, the third quarter belonged to Port Melbourne. Hard running and fierce pressure around the ball to feed the runners gave Port the opportunity to get back into the game. Northern’s ability to withstand the pressure from Port was a positive, with Noah Wheeler kicking an important goal to steady the ship. Jesse Palmer kicked a goal on the three-quarter-time siren to give the Blues a 16-point lead going into the final term.
The game was on the line in the final quarter, with back-to-back goals from Port cutting down Northern’s lead to put them on the back foot early. Northern struggled to get the ball forward despite fighting hard to maintain possession, but Tom De Koning’s intercept marking was vital in stemming Port Melbourne’s relentless attack. The Borough kicked a goal to hit the front with a minute left and it seemed like Northern had all but handed it to the home team. However, a free kick in the dying seconds of the final term gave Jean-Luc Velissaris an opportunity to be the hero for Northern. The youngster didn’t disappoint, coming up clutch to kick the winning goal and secure a famous victory for Northern.
Moment of the game
Without doubt, the highlight of the game was the goal after the siren to get Northern back on the winner’s list in the most dramatic fashion. Jean-Luc Velissaris steadied to seal the famous victory for the Northern Blues, who overturned recent history to beat Port Melbourne for the first time in nine years.
NORTHERN BLUES 4.5 7.7 9.9 10.12 (72)
PORT MELBOURNE 1.0 3.4 7.5 10.8 (68)
GOALS: Garlett 2, Palmer 2, Fasolo, Fisher, Kerr, Lebois, Velissaris, Wheeler
BESTS: Anderson, De Koning, Fisher, Palmer, Fasolo, Deluca