Thunder get off to a rocky start in the NPL opener

Dandenong Thunder''s Alon Blumgart looks for an option. 190253 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Nick Creely

Despite the excitement and anticipation of the start of the season, Dandenong Thunder were handed a stern lesson in the opening round of the NPL on Saturday night.

In the eventual 0-4 loss at George Andrews, Hume City played with too much intensity for the home side to deal with.

It took a rapid start by City to set the tone for the match, with Mitch Cooper capitalizing on a corner in the 10th minute to give the visitors the opening goal of the night.

Moments later, Cooper made a mess of the Thunder’s defence to slip through unattended and slam another into the back of the net, and with very little possession or control, the home side were losing any grip on the contest.

City’s high pressure game resulted in them controlling the tempo, but the Thunder were trying to create chances, but couldn’t quite find an opening.

James Brown made it three goals in the space of 15 minutes, making the most of a Gidi Sweet cross to seal the deal, and while they couldn’t find another by half-time, the Thunder defence didn’t get a second of rest, and fought tooth and nail to keep the score at 0-3.

Some near misses early in the second half spelt immediate danger signs for the Thunder, before Brown once again made the most of his chances to kick his second in the 51st minute, sealing the match with plenty of time left to play.

That intensity that brought about the early onslaught never wavered until the final whistle blew, with City getting off to the brightest start possible to the season.

Needing a quick response, the Thunder take on Kingston City FC on Monday 25 February at the Grange Reserve.

Dandenong City, meanwhile, also fell in their first game of the NPL season, going down 1-4 to Avondale FC at Frank Holohan on Friday night. They play South Melbourne FC at Lakeside Stadium on Friday as they look to bounce back.

In NPL2 East, Springvale White Eagles drew 2-2 after a late Eagles equalizer to get off to a solid start to their season.

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