King Kenny delivers for City

Kenny Athiu bagged a brace for Dandenong City in its win over St Albans on Sunday. 390441 Picture: DANDENONG CITY

By Marcus Uhe

A brace to prized recruit Kenny Athiu helped Dandenong City claim the three points in a Croatian derby against St Albans on Sunday afternoon in the National Premier League (NPL).

Athui scored in the 16th and 80th minute in the contest as City prevailed 3-1, rocketing the newly promoted side to fourth on the table after three weeks of competition.

He opened the scoring with his head, towering over a Saints opponent to find the cross of Brady Quinn, scoring at the near post.

Quinn was pressed hard against the left touchline before manoeuvring past an opponent and whipping a cross with his right foot, perfectly onto the head of a rising Athiu.

City took a 1-0 lead into the break and before long doubled their advantage courtesy of Valli Cesnik.

A long throw into the area from James Alexander was left unattended, bouncing perfectly at volley height for the midfielder, who slammed the ball into the back of the net from close distance.

Cesnik then turned provider for Athiu’s second in the 80th minute, a delightful dink over the final line of defence landing perfectly on the former Melbourne Victory striker’s right foot, who steadied with a first touch and slid the ball past the outstretched goalkeeper’s right arm.

St Albans pegged back a consolation goal just minutes after Athiu’s third, the striker dispossessed close to his goal and the defence unable to stop Carter Ramsay, but the result was never in doubt for Nick Tolios’ men, proving themselves to be an early season surprise packet.

The same can’t be said for Dandenong Thunder, now winless after its first three contests as it adjusts to life under new manager Adam Piddick.

The Thunder dropped crucial points at home for the second time this season, in a 2-0 loss to Heidelberg United on Saturday night.

A 1-0 lead to United at the half time break was doubled in the dying stages of the contest through Eoin Ashton, who was only substituted on in the 87th minute of the contest.

Thunder was unable to penetrate the steely United defence, which had only conceded one goal in the opening two weeks.

It leaves the Thunder in the dreaded drop zone, yet to claim a point and already four goals behind on goal difference.

A monster clash against Oakleigh Cannons awaits City at home on Friday night, while Thunder head to Altona on Saturday evening to face the Magic.