By Roanna Sanelli
Photo: Dion Fountas
The St Albans Saints have overcome the Whittlesea Ranges two nil at Epping Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
A sunny day was the perfect backdrop for matchday one of the NPL2 season as both squads sought to start their year with a bang.
Dinamo were keen to put their disappointing stint in the top flight behind them and rekindle their winning form from two seasons prior.
Early and evident nerves somewhat stunted the Saints’ intensity, but it was the centre back pairing of John Lazaridis and Anthony Katiforis whom instilled stability.
Indeed, it was the visitors who were nearly gifted the lead, yet the own goal was ruled offside.
The poor group communication and coordination allowed the hosts to continually gain midfield possession and dictate play utilising their speed on the flanks.
Whittlesea’s pace exploited the visitor defence on several occasions, but it was the concentration of goalkeeper Robert Santilli which kept scores deadlocked.
The hosts continued play in a compact manner which prevented Dinamo from finishing as well as creating scoring opportunities.
While the visitors were slow on the retreat, it took a Joseph Monek near goal to strengthen the confidence of the side.
Following his entrance, it was new signing Juso Julardzija, whom put the Saints in the lead and became their first scorer of the season after slotting home a Monek ball.
The goal propelled the visitors forward with an eventual penalty being given to Dinamo after a hefty challenge on striker Rodrigo Covarrubias.
His shot on goal was initially saved by opposition keeper Nikola Kostadinovski yet the rebounded ball was tapped into the back of the net to secure the Saints’ first win of the season.
Dinamo will next square off against Ballarat City on Sunday.