Arch rivals to lock horns again

Dandenong Thunder and Dandenong City will go toe-to-toe once again on Saturday night. Picture: DANDENONG CITY

By Marcus Uhe

A breakthrough win for Dandenong Thunder on Saturday night has added further fuel to the fire for the next installment of the Mememi Cup next weekend at George Andrews Reserve, when Adam Piddick’s side welcomes Dandenong City in another National Premier League (NPL) Victoria derby.

In arguably their most important win of the season, Thunder put three past bitter rivals Oakleigh Cannons in a clash played behind closed doors, to win 3-1.

Wade Dekker marked his return from international duties with the Sri Lankan national team with a header from close range in the 20th minute, Jay Romanovski slammed home a powerful volley from the edge of the area 10 minutes later, and Josh Karantz made an instant impact as a second half substitute by putting a third on the board.

City meanwhile, will be eager to respond after conceding five in a Croatian Derby against the Melbourne Knights on Saturday.

The Dandenong rivalry was reignited earlier this season with Thunder claiming an upset win over their cross-town enemies on the road, thanks to first-half goals to Dekker and Birkan Kirdar.

City pegged one back in the second half and pushed to the very end in a desperate attempt to level the scores, but fell short.

In doing so, it further strengthened Thunder’s grip on the tie, having not lost a cup fixture between the two since its inception back in 2016.

The ledger currently sits at seven Thunder wins and four draws.

City coach Nick Tolios wants his current side to end the hoodoo.

“To get another win under our belt away from home, in the Memeti Cup, will be massive,” he said.

“I think there’s got to be some level of getting up for that one, because we haven’t won.

“It will push them further away from us and our goal is to still get in the six.

“If that means beating Thunder away, that’s the main aim.

“That’s enough incentive to get the guys going, but the bonus is, you’re still pushing for the end goal, which is finals.”

Thunder meanwhile, will be just as eager, but with a different motive – to stave off potential relegation.

Thunder is seven points clear of 12th and cannot afford to drop any points if it wishes to maintain its buffer from the drop zone.

The contest kicks off at 7pm.