By Nick Creely
Dandenong Thunder returned to the field with a bang, clinching a 2-1 victory over Eastern Lions on Saturday night at George Andrews Reserve.
While the crowd may have been absent for the return of NPL football, the Thunder scored its fourth win of the season, set up from a dominant 2-0 first half.
It didn’t take long for the Thunder to get on the board, with Tomas Maricic finding the back of the net in the 16th minute, before Jamal Ali capped off an excellent half with a goal right on the stroke of half-time.
While the home side were unable to hit the scoreboard in the second half, with the Lions managing a late goal through Denis Daluri in the dying seconds, it was a strong win that sets up a huge Friday night clash against Port Melbourne Sharks at SS Anderson Oval.
Dandenong City is still anchored to the bottom of the NPL table, with a tough 0-3 loss to Avondale FC at Avenger Park on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors struggled to find any ascendancy, with the home side scoring a goal in the first half before two late majors in the second half.
City will look to swifty bounce back when it hosts Heidelberg United under lights on Friday, but the fifth placed visitors will provide a stern challenge.
In NPL3, Doveton SC scored a dominant 4-1 victory against Whittlesea Ranges at home.
The win propels the Doves to fourth spot on the table with six wins now for the season.
The Doves always had the upper hand, with Sam Catherine heading home the opener in the seventh minute, before Catherine made it an even sweeter first half with another goal under 20 minutes later.
The home side found another goal before half-time with Damien Miskulin, before scoring a further goal through Michael Freeman to cap off a dominant match from the Doves.
Fresh off the dominant win, the Doves travel to take on Geelong SC this weekend in what looms as an absolute blockbuster.
Springvale White Eagles, meanwhile, drew 2-2 against Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon.
Victory were leading 2-0 at half-time and on track for a big win, but the visitors fought back with a Brady Quinn goal, before Andrija Kecojevic scored an equaliser in additional time to help his side split the points.