PENINSULA Strikers gave themselves a lifeline by winning Saturday’s State 2 South-East derby 2-0 against Frankston Pines at Monterey Reserve.
It was only the club’s second win in a season of turmoil but it gives Strikers hope that they can climb off the foot of the league ladder.
Referee James Milloy took centre stage before the match with opinions varied as to whether or not he should allow the contest to take place given the drenching the pitch had taken with little respite in sight.
And eight minutes into the contest the home team was wishing that Milloy hadn’t given the fixture the thumbs up.
Big Alex van Heerwarden smashed the ball onto the crossbar after Pines had failed to clear a low curled free-kick from Nathan Smith and John Prescott hammered the rebound past Pines keeper Jarrod Nardino to open the scoring.
Pines striker Mitch Lander broke down the left in the 16th minute then cut inside but he sent his low shot wide of the far post and a minute later it was 2-0.
Brandon Jansz, Danny Black and Sam Luxford had all joined Strikers recently from Mornington and although Jansz’s through ball intended for Prescott was blocked it eventually fell to the English striker and his clinical low finish from 10 metres gave Strikers some breathing space.
CJ Hodgson had Pines’ best chances of the second half but he volleyed wide in the 86th minute and 18-year-old Strikers’ keeper Dylan Mery got down well three minutes later to save Hodgson’s strike from inside the area.
While Strikers’ gaffer Jamie Skelly was delighted with the win he knows the enormity of the task facing his men if they are to save their State 2 status.
“We have to play five teams in the relegation mix and realistically we’d want to win all five games but we are capable of that,” Skelly said.
Strikers continue to target new signings and take on title chasing Knox City this weekend.
Don’t be surprised if another one and possibly two newcomers feature against Knox.
In NPL2 news Langwarrin lost 3-2 away to championship-chasing Dandenong City last Friday night.
Despite the gulf in class (and wages’ bill) and the home side dominating possession Langy proved to be a stubborn opponent and it took a contender for goal of the season from David Stirton to settle the issue.
Dandenong’s hallmark interpassing game was on show throughout the first half but the sides were locked at 1-1 at the break.
Shaun Filipovic’s 8th minute header put City ahead but it paid for its profligacy in front of goal when Mehdi Sarwari’s close-range strike in the 33rd minute gave Langy the equaliser.
But three minutes into the second stanza the Langy defence paid the price of failing to attack a curling cross from Shayan Alinejad on the right and the ball bounced inside the six-yard box before sneaking inside the far post to make it 2-1.
When Brendan Richardson decided to take on two opponents in the 68th minute rather than pass he was stripped of the ball.
Stirton spotted Langy keeper Robbie Acs off his line so he launched a remarkable strike from a few steps inside the attacking half sending the ball sailing over Acs’ head and into goal to the delight of the home fans and the City bench.
But for Langy there’s no surrender and when John Kuol headed home in the 81st minute following a cross from substitute Liam Baxter it ensured an interesting finish to a contest that City should have put to bed earlier.
In NPLW news Southern United’s under-12s drew 2-2 at home to Bayside United on Sunday with Emilia Ingles scoring for Southern.
The under-14, under-16, under-19 and senior games were cancelled due to the pitch condition.
In State 1 South-East news Mornington paid the price for poor finishing and was eventually overrun by Richmond 4-1 at Kevin Bartlett Reserve on Saturday.
A near post header from Mehdi Martin in the 17th minute put the home side in front and three minutes into the second half Vangelis Skraparas’ deflected shot from just outside the area made it 2-0.
Arnold Suew broke down the left in the 59th minute and his cutback set up Juan Gallego for a tap-in and the same combination cut a swathe through the Mornington defence in the 80th minute with Gallego cleverly lobbing the ball over the head of advancing Mornington keeper Liam Little to make it 4-0.
A superb long-range strike from Curtis Hutson in the 91st minute was the visitors’ sole reply.
Mornington goalkeeping coach Peter Blasby has resigned.
In State 3 South-East news Skye United won 4-0 at home to South Yarra in the race for second spot in the league.
Referee Stefano Di Giovanni decided to play on a water-logged pitch and when Jack Gallagher was brought down inside the box in the 7th minute Caleb Nicholes converted from the spot.
In the 43rd minute a Daniel Walsh volley following Jason Nowakowksi’s corner gave the home side a two-goal cushion at the break.
Another pitch inspection took place before the second half started with South Yarra adamant that the match should be called off.
The referee disagreed and two minutes into the second half South Yarra’s Thomas Meredith told Di Giovanni what he thought of the decision to continue and was promptly red carded.
Daniel Attard sent Nicholes through in the 56th minute and he gave Skye an unassailable lead with substitute Mitch Blake rounding off the scoreline in the 91st minute by heading home a Walsh cross.
Harry McCartney reports that Seaford United’s push to avoid relegation continued on Saturday when Matt Morris-Thomas’ men defeated Bayside Argonauts 3-2 at Shipston Reserve to record their third straight win.
Bayside struck first after a botched clearance from Li Nam Wang in the 29th minute.
Anton Magee struck a 25-metre belter into the top left corner giving Seaford keeper Jimmy Zafiriou no chance.
But Seaford hit back five minutes later when Bayside keeper Elliott Johnston parried a Dylan Waugh shot and Callum Richardson’s second spectacular overhead kick in three weeks squared the ledger.
Bayside was the stronger side in the first 20 minutes of the second half having a goal chalked off for offside, hitting the crossbar twice and having a header cleared off the line.
Against the run of play the visitors took the lead in the 70th minute after the tireless chasing of Matty Schwellinger was rewarded when he won possession and his cross was met by Seaford captain Daniel Mota who side-footed home.
In injury time Waugh turned on a bouncing ball and from long range struck it first time over a flat-footed Johnston to make it 3-1 but shortly after a through ball that should have been cut out by Zafiriou was won by Sam Jones who made it 3-2 making for a nervous few minutes for the visitors.
In State 4 South news Baxter’s scheduled home clash with Dandenong Warriors was washed out.
Meanwhile Somerville Eagles moved into second spot in State 5 South one point behind Lyndale United after Saturday’s 4-1 home win over Casey Panthers.
Somerville player-coach Dave Greening opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a scorching low drive but within a minute Casey had levelled thanks to a Marcus Roberts’ free-kick that home team keeper Brad Klarenbeek would want to forget.
A handball early in the second half allowed Greening to restore the Eagles’ lead from the penalty spot and within five minutes it was 4-1.
A superb Damian Finnegan pass was controlled by Greening with a great first touch before he smashed his drive inside the near post then Joel Wade did well down the right before cutting the ball back to Greening who slammed in his fourth goal of another productive day for the league’s top scorer.
“To be honest that could and should of been more,” Greening said.
“But at this stage of the season it’s all about getting the three points, and we did that so that’s pleasing.
“It was also good to ‘blood’ some of the in-form reserves late in the game to give them some senior game time to help their development.”
Next weekend’s games:
SATURDAY 3pm: Langwarrin v Springvale White Eagles (Lawton Park), Mornington v St Kilda (Dallas Brooks Park), Peninsula Strikers v Knox City (Centenary Park), Old Scotch v Frankston Pines (H.A. Smith Reserve), Seaford Utd v Whitehorse Utd (North Seaford Reserve), Dingley Stars v Skye Utd (Chadwick Reserve), Noble Park v Baxter (Norman Luth Reserve), Aspendale v Pakenham Utd (Jack Grut Reserve), Somerville Eagles bye.
SUNDAY 3.15pm: Southern Utd v Calder Utd (Monterey Reserve, U12s 9am, U14s 10.15am, U16s 11.40am, U19s 1.15pm).