FALCONS headed to Sale fighting to keep its finals hopes alive by upsetting the fancied home side in round 14 of Gippsland soccer.
Buoyed by two wins on the run, the visitors were uietly confident of taking something away from the fortress that thwarted the likes of Churchill and Fortuna this season.
In a 90-minute arm-wrestle both sides had chances to take the lead in the first half but neither could convert.
Sale found it difficult to penetrate a resolute Falcons defence in the second half; the closest it came was a header in the dying minutes which sailed over the crossbar.
Falcons too had a chance to snatch it at the death but Owen Newbury’s header found the keeper from close range.
Final score 0-0.
Moe United v Fortuna 60
MOE faced up against Fortuna with top four aspirations on the line.
In front of a large Centurion’s Day crowd the result did not go the way of the Devils as Fortuna snuck home 2-1.
Missing key goal scorer Matt Shearing and coach Lee Dastey was always going to make the fixture tough for Moe.
Fortuna outplayed the Devils in the first half, who were fortunate to reach the break only 1-0 down, after enjoying little posession in the first 45 minutes.
The second half began promisingly for Moe as a brilliant link up between Jason Koppen and Sam Lietzau saw the latter find the back of the net and the pressure was back on Fortuna.
Several opportunities went begging in the dying minutes for Moe, and it was made to pay when a late Fortuna free kick hit the mark.
Monash v Traralgon Olympians
BOTH teams went in missing several key players but nothing would slow the rampaging Monash, which opened the scoring midway through the first half.
Ty Christy headed down to Coen Slaughter, who beat his defender and finished past the advancing keeper to make it 1-0.
Slaughter was at it again when he danced through the defence before slotting home to double the lead on 25 minutes.
Ash Birrell added to his tally minutes later, finishing from close range as Monash controlled the game.
Olympians pulled a goal back before the break when Ivan Vekic netted from 12 yards to go to the half at 1-3.
Monash restored the three-goal buffer through Christy, who headed home an inch perfect Wal Noppert cross in the opening minute of the second half.
Birrell grabbed his second and Monash’s fifth after receiving a pass from Slaughter which he curled into the top corner from the edge of the area.
Christy was brought down in the box but Olympians enjoyed some respite when Birrell’s spot kick was denied.
Christy put the icing on the cake in the 89th minute when his venomous 20-yard effort proved too powerful to seal a 6-1 win to the Wolves.
NYU v Traralgon City
TRARALGON City travelled to Burrage Reserve to tackle Newborough Yallourn United where both teams were playing for pride.
City got an early break through Johnny Kuol, who followed up with another 15 minutes later.
NYU muscled its way back into the game but without any luck on the scoreboard by the half-time break.
Mark Fairbrother stretched City’s lead to three, but NYU fought bravely to peg one back in a final score of 3-1.
Tyers Lightning v Churchill United
Churchill United is firmly in the box seat to claim back-to-back minor premierships after a workmanlike 3-0 win over bottom-placed Tyers.
Missing key personnel through suspension, injury and absence the Rams called on its squad depth to grind out the result.
Top marksman Paul Riess hit the Tyers woodwork twice in the opening half before young gun Ben Skinner gave Churchill the breakthrough with a classy goal to lead 1-0 going into the break.
Tyers pushed the young Churchill outfit before Taylor Jackson provided some breathing space to make it 2-0.
Promoted midfielder Chris Calabrese then put the game beyond doubt, securing a 3-0 win for the Rams.
Falcons v Olympians
IN a Saturday twilight fixture, Falcons host an Olympians outfit sure to be breathing fire after its 6-1 hammering to Monash at home.
Falcons are near full strength, but will be disheartened by the loss of leading front man Nick D’Alessandro to a suspected knee injury.
Olympians will find the recently impenetrable Falcons defence hard to break down.
Tyers v Traralgon City
TYERS will travel to Traralgon City which, fresh off a win, will be looking for another three points.
With John Koul and Mark Fairbrother finding some form and the injection of youth into the team things are on the improve at City.
Churchill v Sale
WITH Moe slipping up to Fortuna, Churchill is now eight points clear on top of the ladder and need just two wins from the remaining four matches to claim the title.
With Sale this week, the only team to have beaten the Rams in 2013, followed by Olympians, Moe and Fortuna in the run home, this will be a tough assignment.
Churchill will be buoyed by the return of Tim Dawson, Mitch Jackson, Jamie Robson, Marcus Hunter and Jason Sands who all missed the win over Tyers.
Churchill will start favourite in a season defining match for both clubs, with Sale desperate to stay on Fortuna’s heels for a top four finish.
Fortuna v NYU
FORTUNA is back in the top four and will be out to consolidate when it takes on NYU this weekend at home.
The Lions managed a 7-1 victory last time the teams met and, with extra incentive for Fortuna, the boys in orange should account for the Combine once again.
Monash v Moe United
SECOND takes on third when the Wolves and Red Devils clash this Sunday.
Last time around Monash came away with a 3-2 win but both teams have fought hard all season will not give up ground easily.
More than local bragging rights are at stake with the winner to move into outright second spot on the ladder.