Tense finish to NPL 2 season awaits for a number of teams battling relegation

A win on Saturday and a loss for Eastern Lions will see Murray United safe from relegation in NPL 2.

The Border outfit has had a breakout year, posting eight wins and six draws to sit in fourth spot on 30 points with five rounds to play.

Eastern Lions are bottom of the NPL 2 east ladder on 21 points, however, due to the dominance of Dandenong City and Dandenong Thunder at the top, anyone from fourth through to 10th could still be relegated.

Murray plays three of its last five games at home, starting with Richmond this Saturday and competition leaders Dandenong City the following week.

Away fixtures against NPL 2 west promotion hopefuls Moreland Zebras and league rivals Springvale follow, before finishing at home against Nunawading City.

Eastern Lions face Dandenong Thunder (home), Richmond (home), Bendigo City (home), Dandenong City (away) and Springvale (home).

Richmond, who sit one point above the Lions, clash with Murray (away), Eastern Lions (away), Moreland City (home), Goulburn Valley Suns (home) and Dandenong Thunder (away).

Next is Nunawading City, three points clear of Richmond, who face a tricky draw with Springvale (away), Melbourne City (home), Northcote City (away), Box Hill United (home) and Murray United (away).

Box Hill United is also on 25 points and have some crucial matches down the stretch, with Dandenong City (away), Springvale (home), Ballarat City (home), Nunawading (away) and Melbourne City (home) awaiting.

Catch-up matches postponed due the FFA Cup have also been announced, with the match-up between the Dandenong sides on August 6 to likely determine the NPL 2 east champions, while Nunawading meet Moreland Zebras the same day.

Dandenong City currently holds a one-point lead at the top from the Thunder.

The top of both the NPL 2 east and west leagues will automatically be promoted to the NPL, with second in both conferences to playoff for the remaining spot.

The winner of that playoff will then meet the third last team in the NPL to earn the right to play in the top competition next season.

The bottom two from this year’s NPL are relegated to the respective NPL 2 competitions, while the winners of the State League 1 north west and south east move up to take the place of the bottom team in both NPL 2 leagues.