CHURCHILL United consolidated top spot in a high-scoring 4-3 victory over fourth placed Monash on Sunday.
In a repeat scoreline of their last encounter, the Rams were continually challenged by the determined Wolves.
Churchill took an early lead through Kwaku Dade before the attacking weapon succumbed to a troublesome hamstring injury.
Monash equalised soon after when Coen Slaughter slipped through the Churchill defence and unleashed a powerful strike.
The premiers soon regained the ascendancy 2-1 when striker Paul Riess ended his goal drought with an authoritative header.
In the shadows of half-time Monash again drew level when new recruit Ty Christie danced past the Churchill defence to make it 2-2.
The second half saw the Rams get on top and they found successive goals from Matthew Maselli and Taylor Jackson to skip to a 4-2 lead.
Monash would not lie down and Slaughter netted a second screamer to ensure a grandstand finish with the score at 4-3.
The Wolves almost scored a fourth when Slaughter’s long range effort was tipped over the bar by Churchill keeper Jason Sands with a spectacular diving save.
Moe United v Tyers
IN the first reverse fixture of the season Moe hosted Tyers at Olympic Park.
The goals came thick and fast for Moe as Matt Shearing netted two in the first five minutes.
The pain continued for Tyers as Moe scored another nine times throughout the day.
Shearing slotted six, Sam Lietzau claimed a hat trick and Jason Koppen bagged a brace.
The big half-time deficit allowed key Moe players a rest and youth players got some game time for the Devils, who ran out 11-0 winners.
NYU v Falcons 2000
NEWBOROUGH-YALLOURN United earnt its first win of the season with a spirited 2-1 victory against Falcons at Burrage Reserve.
In an open game that featured plenty of chances the home side hit the scoreboard first through Combine captain Jayden Mathison from 15 yards, who latched on to a cross from the right flank into a congested penalty area.
Falcons got back on level terms with 10 minutes remaining in the first half after a shot from Mauro De Luca was only partially cleared, leaving Daniel Edey free to lace home the rebound. Falcons were a whisker away from taking the lead near half-time when the dangerous De Luca slipped away from his marker, but his header crashed into the cross bar.
The second half was more of the same with NYU winning the possession battle while Falcons looked dangerous on the break.
Jesse Kennedy in particular forced several good saves from NYU keeper Damian Gilbert.
Gilbert’s good work was backed up at the other end as a another NYU cross found its way to Mathison who slammed home into the far corner to take a 2-1 lead.
Falcons threw all their numbers forward in an intense 10 minute attempt to find an equaliser, but were almost caught out on the counter as Justin Mathison went inches wide with his effort from 20 yards. NYU hung on to win an entertaining end-to-end battle.
Olympians v Sale United
THE game between Traralgon Olympians and Sale United was an intense affair with both sides attacking at every opportunity.
Olympians welcomed back past player James Down who controlled the defence and helped transition to attack with his smart positioning and clever ball movement.
Both sides lost key players within 10 minutes of each other, causing a stalemate, and the game finished in a nil all draw.
Traralgon City v Fortuna 60
AFTER a heartbreaking loss to Churchill in the dying minutes of the previous round, Fortuna had to dig deep against a fast improving City outfit. Fortuna coach Davey O’Dowd had headaches before the kick-off having to replace three players due to injury and suspension.
O’Dowd enlisted 15 year-old Liam McCluskey into the defensive unit and he performed admirably. The game was an end-to-end battle, with both keepers kept on their toes.
Half an hour in Shaun Picket whipped in a great ball to the advancing Jamie Pistrin to head home Fortuna’s first.
The second half was similar to the first with several raids at both ends.
Picket again broke away on the left wing and calmly scored from a tight angle.
Shortly after captain Josh Tanti found the net to make it three and, with City down to 10 men, Fortuna went for broke.
With 10 minutes left youngster Michael Brusseze scored Fortuna’s fourth to seal the win and keep his side in touch with the top four.