Top four almost set in stone

Sale United and Traralgon City have firmed to make up the remaining spots in the Gippsland Soccer League’s top four finals series after solid wins at the weekend.

Sale defeated Tyers 3-1 and City trounced neighbours Traralgon Olympians 5-1.

Despite Moe United going down to Churchill 4-0, the Red Devils is still a shot of making it with just one round to play.

Traralgon Olympians vs Traralgon City

Traralgon City was electric in the first half of its match with the Olympians and took an extraordinary 5-0 lead to the break with goals from John Koul, Adam Batt and a hat-trick from striker Mark Fairbrother.

A half-time baking from coach Anthony Collins got the Olympians back on track to win the second half after Clayton Bell got on the board, but the damage was done with the Roosters crowing to take the Traralgon derby 5-1.

Tyers Lightning v Sale United 

An injury cloud hanging over Sale midfield dynamo Tommy Nguyen did not stop him on Sunday as he scored a double in his side’s 3-1 win over Tyers.

Nguyen was joined on the scorer’s sheet by Callum Clancy for the Swans while prolific goal scorer Jake Budija registered Tyers’ goal.

Churchill United v Moe United

Churchill made short work of Moe as the league champions ran out 4-0 victors at Hazelwood South Reserve on Sunday.

The match was just 36 seconds old when Churchill took the lead when attacking winger Taylor Jackson took his season tally to 13 goals.

Mid way through the first half Churchill made it 2-0 when striker Jesse Kennedy found room to pick his spot.

In the second half Churchill skipped to a 4-0 lead when Luke Cheney staked his claim for the golden boot with a brace to take his season tally to 22 goals; six clear of second-placed Josh Tanti of Fortuna.

Moe will be without the services of Nick Dastey next week against Olympians after he received his marching orders late in the match for his second bookable offence.

Falcons 2000 v Fortuna 60

In the Crinigan Road derby Falcons could not break a league hoodoo stretching back more than  10 years when it lost to Fortuna 4-2; the loss also ended the Birds’ finals hopes.

Falcons have only one win and a draw since 2000 to show from its 26 encounters with its biggest rival and neighbour.

In a cagey start Fortuna took the early lead through a looping Hayden Tanti-header and as the Lions continued to press they found a second within minutes through Jason Collins. 

Falcons showed resilience to lift a gear and found a goal with a wonderful finish from winger Jerry Daniels and the Birds looked a good chance at half time trailling 2-1.

In the second half Falcons continued to press but spurned several guilt-edged chances. 

They were made to pay as Fortuna counter attacked and broke the spirits of the Birds to make it 3-1 through late season transfer Dragan Milesevic. 

Falcons continued to push but then conceded a fourth as Collins claimed a double, but the Birds eventually earned themselves a consolation goal through Mauro Deluca to go down 4-2.

Newborough-Yallourn United v Monash

Monash had a comprehensive 4-1 win over cross town rival Newborough-Yallourn at Burrage Reserve on Sunday.

NYU controlled possession for the first 20 minutes but lacked composure in the final third of the park to score.

Monash made the Combine pay at the other end when Ash Birrell’s 40-yard cross from the touchline sailed over NYU goalkeeper Damian Gilbert to lead 1-0.

The visitor’s lead was doubled minutes later when a Matt Amaira volley from outside the penalty area cannoned into the crossbar with the rebound falling at the feet of Eric Sostak who tucked the ball into the bottom corner.

Monash added a third goal through Daryn Cummings in the second half to seeming put the game beyond doubt, however a Heydan Cook strike for NYU gave the home side a glimmer of hope 3-1.

Then on the counter attack Monash youngster Ethan Lawrence’s first senior goal wrapped up the 4-1 win for the Wolves.

Round 18

In a rare 3pm Saturday kick off, Fortuna will be keen to spoil Churchill’s party with the Rams to be officially crowned champions at the end of the match.

Last time Fortuna staged one of the greatest wins in the club’s history when decimated by injury and suspension it managed to defeat Churchill at Hazelwood South Reserve 2-1.

That was the Rams’ only blemish on an otherwise perfect season to date and they will be desperate to win the rematch to heighten celebrations.

Despite the result having no bearing on the season outcome expect a fierce encounter as the GSL’s greatest modern day rivalry goes on show.

Sale United v Falcons 2000

Moe United will hope Falcons can do it a favour by upsetting Sale on the road this Sunday.

Last time Falcons were too good winning 2-1 and with the Battle of Britain Cup final next weekend against Churchill, they need to build some consistency in the lead up.

The assignment is simple for Sale: if they win they are assured of third place; lose and they could miss finals all together.

Traralgon Olympians v Moe United

With the aim of sneaking into the finals Moe will come out all guns blazing when it travels to Olympians on Sunday.

Having accounted for the Blues 3-1 back in round nine, the Red Devils will fancy its chances of another win despite missing Nick Dastey through suspension.

Traralgon City v Newborough-Yallourn United

Traralgon City is in the same position as Sale needing a win to assure a finals berth, and after only scraping in 2-1 against NYU last time they will need to be on the ball. City is hitting its straps at the right time of the season with impressive showings in recent weeks, including handing out lessons to both Fortuna and Olympians and should be too good for the Combine. 

Monash v Tyers

Last time Monash and Tyers met they played an epic clash with the Lightning prevailing 4-3 at home.

The Lightning have more to play for as they aim to avoid the wooden spoon and the tight confines of the Wolves’ home pitch will suit their counter attacking play.

This will be a battle between the fast forwards with Jake Budija for Tyers and Eric Sostak for Monash the target men.