Fortuna has blown the league title race wide open with a gutsy 2-1 victory over Churchill United to bring the Rams back to a two-point buffer at the top of the table.
In a scrappy match, an undermanned Fortuna was too good for Churchill taking its opportunities to score clinically and defending to a man to deny the Rams.
The opening was cagey until five minutes before the break when Fortuna opened the scoring after Joel Baldwin put a great ball on goal for Joel Pirotta to coolly finish.
A minute before the break it was 2-0 when Fortuna turned defence into attack for Baldwin to release Hayden Tanti who weaved past two Churchill defenders to score past the advancing goalkeeper Jason Sands.
The second half saw Churchill pick up the pace, but was unable to ignite its fluent attacking play that had characterised its season to date.
Fortuna soaked up the pressure and when Tanti succumbed to a hamstring injury former Australian Football League player Troy Makepeace made his senior Gippsland Soccer League debut as his substitute.
Churchill introduced Taylor Jackson who made an immediate impact forcing a great save from Fortuna goalkeeper Dean Hamilton, with his thirty yard attempt just tipped around the post.
Sensing a comeback, returning Rams striker Kwaku Dade increased the pressure and with a minute of regular time left Churchill reduced the deficit when coach Luke Cheney pounced on a loose ball to make it 2-1.
Time ran out for Churchill as Fortuna regained control of its season’s destiny.
Falcons v Sale United
Falcons halted Sale’s meteoric rise with a 2-1 home win on Saturday night.
Both sides had their chances and near the end of the first half, Falcons broke the stalemate when Sam Amaira converted a penalty to lead 1-0 at the break.
It did not take long for Sale to get the equalizer through Piefke to go 1-1.
Both sides pushed for the win but it was Falcons who prevailed when Amaira finished a D’Allesandro cross with a great back post header 2-1 with eight minutes to spare in the match.
Tyers v Monash
Tyers produced a fifteen minute blitz to come from two goals down to upset Monash 4-3.
Against the run of play Monash was awarded a penalty fifteen minutes in after Daryn Cummings was barged over in the box, Ash Birrell stepping up to give Monash the lead 1-0.
Remarkably the visitors doubled the lead early in the second half, with Cummings powering home a Birrell corner 2-0.
This seemed to spur the home side on, and it was awarded a penalty after Shayne Pavich was brought down, leading scorer Jake Budija powering home the resultant spot kick to go 2-1.
Almost from the kick off Monash turned the ball over and Shayne Pavich skipped past three opponents before cutting the ball back to Budija to smash home the equalizer.
The home side continually found openings and eventually grabbed the lead with Josh Membrey beating the offside trap to slot home and lead 3-2.
Then Tyers extended its lead after Monash gave away a free kick in a dangerous position, Shayne Pavich floated it in and Budija climbed highest to seal his hat-trick and take his season tally to nine.
Monash grabbed a consolation with the last kick of the game with substitute Sostak tapping in after Cummings had chipped the keeper for a final score 4-3 to the Lightning.
Moe United v Traralgon Olympians
Moe broke through for its second win of the season with a 3-1 triumph over Traralgon Olympians.
The match was switched from Traralgon to Moe due to flood damage to Harold Preston.
Moe opened its account early in the first half through a brilliant Lee Dastey free kick from thirty yards which beat Olympians goalkeeper Ben Johnstone.
The Olympians came up with the goods when Daniels clinically finished from outside the box to go 1-1.
Moe gained the ascendency in the last fifteen minutes but did not look like scoring until Matt Shearing scored a cracking goal.
Only minutes later Moe added another goal through Shearing again who beat a couple of men on the top of the box and placed the ball past Johnstone to claim a brace and to hand the Red Devils a 3-1 victory.
NYU v Traralgon City
Traralgon City came back from a one-goal deficit to defeat Newborough-Yallourn United 2-1.
The early part of the match was dominated by NYU with crisp passing and heavy pressure on the speedy City, before a well earned goal to the Combine midway through the half when Shawn Lawrence ghosted in at the back post to finish off a solid build up down the right flank.
After half time Adam Batt drew his side level 1-1.
City claimed the win 2-1 when Dustin Moos finished off a quick counter attack.
Round 10 preview
After defeating Churchill last round Fortuna will be on its toes on Saturday night when they play bogey side Olympians away.
In recent years the Olympians have upset the high flying Fortuna and with a capable line up Anthony Collin’s team will aim to repeat the dose.
Also on Saturday night Falcons host Churchill that will be determined to get back in the winners circle.
On Sunday Monash will welcome back injured trio Wally Noppert, Coen Slaughter and Matt Stansbury when it makes the trek to Sale.
Moe will be hoping to build on it recent form when it hosts NYU in a derby and Traralgon City will be weary of the very capable Tyers, especially at home.