SEAFORD United recorded its second win of the season and its first under senior coach Matt Morris-Thomas when it defeated Noble Park United 3-2 at North Seaford Reserve on Saturday.
Harry McCartney reports that Seaford stunned the visitors in the 27th minute when defender Callum Richardson’s acrobatic overhead kick opened the scoring.
Three minutes into the second half Dylan Waugh broke past two defenders before slotting the ball past Noble Park United keeper Andrea Stoilovic to make it 2-0.
Seaford fans were in raptures in the 72nd minute after Cam Bryden’s clinical side-foot finish made it 3-0.
But a Mladen Djuric free kick in the 80th minute caught Seaford keeper Jimmy Zafiriov off guard and dipped just below the crossbar to make it 3-1 and give the visitors some hope.
Five minutes later Nemanja Salamandic made it 3-2 which made for a nervous finish but Seaford held on as it strives to get off the foot of the State 3 South-East ladder.
Langwarrin edged out visitor Ballarat City in a seven-goal thriller at Lawton Park on Saturday.
The 4-3 result was crucial to Langy’s NPL2 status as it sent Gus Macleod’s men 12 points clear of last-placed Nunawading City with the bottom team expected to be relegated to State League ranks.
Langy was active on the last day of the NPL transfer window last week clinching the signatures of striker Michael Kariuki and midfielder Brendan Richardson.
Kariuki was signed from South Springvale and was the equal top scorer in State 1 South-East while Richardson was signed from Bulleen and is a former Richmond player.
Teenage striker Sam Klepac was released but it’s believed that Langy is keen for him to return next season.
Ballarat took just two minutes to open the scoring when a slick interpassing move cut a swathe through the heart of the home side’s defence and a low strike from inside the area by Liam Harding gave Langy keeper Robbie Acs no chance.
Shaun Romein’s handball inside the area in the 12th minute was converted from the penalty spot by Liam Baxter who sent Ballarat keeper Aaron Romein the wrong way.
A world-class goal from Michael Trigger in the 18th minute made it 2-1 as the Ballarat ace struck the ball from just inside his attacking half after spotting Acs off his line.
Macleod wanted more from Mehdi Sarwari who had been isolated in a wide left role so he took over from Baxter in a central role with the Scot switching to the left.
In the 30th minute, Baxter floated a free kick to the back post where Langy defender Andy Mclean charged in and headed home to make it 2-2.
Kariuki’s simple and effective pass sent John Kuol clear two minutes from the break and he had no problem slotting the ball past the advancing Ballarat keeper to put Langy ahead.
There were a couple more twists and turns in this see-sawing contest as Trigger beat the offside trap in the 60th minute and although Luke Burgess did well to get back and tackle the ball looped over Acs’ head and into goal to make it 3-3.
The technical area of both sides were busy now but the most effective change was made by Macleod when he brought on teenager Max Boulton whose drive and energy were clearly evident.
As was his touch in the 74th minute when Kariuki sent him clear on the left and Boulton’s square ball was tucked away first time by Kuol for what proved to be the winner in a gripping contest.
In NPLW news Southern United lost 4-0 away to Geelong Galaxy United on Saturday.
These sides last met two months ago and Galaxy won 11-0.
Southern’s under-12s continued their outstanding season by hammering Galaxy 7-1 with goals from Emilia Ingles (3), Taylen Wulf (2), Lauren Rhia and an own goal while the under-14s came back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Southern’s goals coming from Holly Wakker and Alex Jones.
Southern’s under-16s lost 4-0 while the under-19s lost 2-0.
Mornington continued to zero in on second spot in State 1 South-East when it won 2-1 away to Malvern City last weekend.
A Keegan Ziada header in the 14th minute put Mornington ahead but Daniel Bowman equalised for the home side in the 30th minute.
Mornington had signed 23-year-old Colombian striker Omar Guardiola from New Zealand club Southern United last month and he replaced Ziada in the 68th minute.
Guardiola left an indelible impression on spectators and Malvern City keeper Jamie Greygoose with a spectacular bicycle kick in the 78th minute to give the visitors all three points.
Mornington senior coach Dale White has had to return to the UK for family reasons and is expected to miss two games.
Andy Mason was in charge last weekend and will continue in the role for Saturday’s important away clash with league leader Manningham United.
In State 2 South-East news Frankston Pines and Doncaster Rovers drew 1-1 at Monterey Reserve on Saturday.
Rovers struck first when James Kalifatidis converted from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute.
CJ Hodgson started and finished the move that led to the equaliser in the 59th minute when he drove towards goal on the right then released Iosa Saemo who squared the ball and Hodgson calmly slotted it home.
While Pines earned a point in the fight to avoid relegation State 2 neighbour Peninsula Strikers lost 4-1 at home to title candidate Mazenod last weekend and slumped to last spot on the ladder.
Adrian D’Ortenzio (18th, 72nd minutes), Lennon Whewell (3rd) and Jack Haggerty (77th) scored for Mazenod while captain Tommy Hawkins (10th) replied for Strikers.
Goalkeeper Chris England (ex-Dandenong Thunder), Wahid Hashimi (from Morwell Pegasus) and former Nunawading defender Basel Bargi made their debuts for Strikers.
They are among a host of new signings as club president Trevor Johnston is determined to keep the club in State 2.
“We will be super aggressive this week in signing some more players and there is big news to come,” said Johnston.
The Centenary Park outfit has also signed South Melbourne striker Naseem Rasekh, central defender David Selan (from Slovenian club NK Velesova), goalkeeper Dilan Mery (Kingston City) and central defender Mohammad Rasuli (Mirboo North).
Skye United’s promotion push in State 3 South-East stalled when it lost 2-1 to Brighton at Dendy Park on Saturday.
Alex Greatorex capitalised on a defensive error in the first half but Skye United responded 10 minutes later after a nice interpassing move between Billy Painting and Mohamad Elhassan ended with the latter picking out Cam Leopold whose volley made it 1-1.
A Brighton counter-attack in the second half gave the home side all three points when Digby Mooney found the back of the net.
In State 4 South the anticipated influx of new players at Baxter never materialised and senior coach Francis Beck sprang a huge surprise when he started up front in Saturday’s 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Springvale City.
Beck was the club’s previous first choice keeper and his last senior match was in 2017.
He was substituted in the 61st minute but by then the damage had been done with Springvale leading 3-1 and further goals to Armin Kerla and substitute Zurijet Karic completed the rout.
Sandringham’s 2-1 win over Noble Park pushed Baxter into 10th spot in the league and firmly embroiled the club in the relegation dogfight.
Somerville Eagles lost 3-1 at home last weekend and now lies fifth in State 5 South.
“We came up against a good team but shot ourselves in the foot with our poor start,” Somerville player-coach Dave Greening said.
“The second half today showed us when we play well we can compete but gifting teams a two-goal head start is a killer.”
Aspendale recorded its biggest win of the State 5 South season when it overran Bunyip District 6-1 at Jack Grut Reserve on Saturday.
The Stingrays put this contest to bed by half-time thanks to goals from Ryan Mravljak, Domenic Paul, Alex Taylor-Hirst and a season-first from Sam Timuska-Carr while Bunyip’s sole response came from Vincent Makota in the 26th minute.
Matt Corra made it 5-1 three minutes into the second half and Paul notched his brace in the 67th minute.
It was Taylor-Hirst’s final match before heading overseas for work reasons.
Next weekend’s games:
FRIDAY, 8pm: Rowville Eagles v Somerville Eagles (Park Ridge Reserve).
SATURDAY 3pm: Manningham Utd Blues v Mornington (Park Avenue Reserve), Frankston Pines v Heatherton Utd (Monterey Reserve), Peninsula Strikers v Brandon Park (Centenary Park), Skye Utd v Monbulk Rangers (Skye Recreation Reserve), Monash Uni v Baxter (Monash University Playing Fields), Casey Panthers v Aspendale (Prospect Hill Reserve).
SATURDAY 4.15pm: South Melbourne v Southern Utd (Lakeside Stadium).
SATURDAY 7pm: Goulburn Valley Suns v Langwarrin (John McEwen Reserve).