Goals galore in opening LVSL round

Back in the top flight: Brandon Pieing in action for Olympians, back in the senior division after a year off. Photographs Damen Francis





THE new season of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League opened with a bang, as 26 goals were scored in the opening round from four matches.

Reigning champions, Falcons 2000, made light work of the returning Tyers Lightning, Morwell Pegasus overcame a spirited Monash, whilst there were wins for both Fortuna and Newborough Yallourn United.

FALCONS, refreshed after a gruelling 2022 campaign that saw them lift the ultimate prize, made the short trip to Tyers to face the Lightning, in their return to the senior men’s competition after a seven-year hiatus.

There was a strong turnout from the locals, hoping that their side could upset the Birds.

However, it was not to be as Falcons made light work of their opposition, despite the fact they were missing five senior players due to short-term injuries.

It was a day out for striker Stefan Sbaglia who helped himself to six goals, and at 24 years of age, this may well be a sign of things to come over the coming years.

The home side put up a brave fight for the first twenty minutes but eventually the dam wall burst open, as Sbaglia scored all four goals in the first half to give his side a commanding lead at the break.

A newly formed front three of Sbaglia, Josh Patterson and new signing, Liam Johnson, worked intuitively with one another, with Patterson rewarded with a goal of his own in the second half.

Sbaglia scored two more himself and the task only got harder for the Lightning as the reigning league best and fairest winner, Nonda Lazaris, made his long-awaited return off the bench, to put the final nail in the coffin.

It was a debut to remember for Italian import Gabrielle Bochicchio, who was commanding in the middle of the park with captain Toby Capp leading the way with his aggressive nature.

Tyers 0 def by Falcons 8

FORTUNA hoped to start their campaign off on the right note, making the long trip down the Princes Highway to face a Sale side that are looking to upset their more fancied rivals in season 2023.

Unfortunately for Sale, they came up against a Fortuna side that were simply not in the mood to give their opponents any wriggle room, and they duly put them to the sword in a commanding victory.

It was a debut to remember for Fortuna product Dontae Marino, who came off the bench to assist one of the Orangemen’s goals in the second half.

Sale 1 def by Fortuna 5

MORWELL Pegasus travelled to Monash to take all three points, and unfortunately for the Flying Horsemen, every game is that little bit more important, given they were handed a three point deduction for this season due to an indiscretion towards the back end of last year.

It quickly became panic stations for the Morwell side as the Wolves jumped to a 2-0 lead but in typical Pegasus style, their high-risk style of football brought them level; they then soon took the lead.

Monash equalised but Pegasus were able to find the winner late in the game to extract themselves out of a contest that they ought to have won with more conviction.

Monash 3 def by Morwell Pegasus 4

IN the clubs 100th year, Newborough Yallourn United were expecting a resounding victory against a returning Traralgon Olympians outfit, who were back in the fold after a year away.

It soon became stark reality as to what they’re up against this year, as an experienced Combine never looked headed.

NYU took a 2-0 lead into half-time, before Olympians hastily responded after the break to make it 2-1.

NYU piled on two more goals late into the game to put the game to bed and take the three points.

Olympians 1 def by Newborough Yallourn United 4

IN Round 2, Falcons will welcome Monash on Saturday night at 6pm in their first home game of the season.

After a solid opening against their more fancied opponents last week, Monash will be full of confidence it can repeat the dose against their second Morwell opponent in as many weeks.

The Birds will welcome back some returning players as they gear up for another strong campaign.

Tyers will look to get their points tally started this weekend with a fixture that they will fancy their chances in, against Sale.

After both sides were on the receiving end of tough defeats, this fixture will provide both an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with the winners circle.

Churchill open their campaign after a Round 1 bye, against Pegasus.

It is unknown where Churchill are at this season with mixed pre-season results, but rest assured they will be working hard to account for a Pegasus side who struggled last week.

Olympians go from the frying pan to the fire this week as they face a Moe side who are primed for a massive season after having the bye in Round 1.

Moe are much-fancied amongst those in the know within the football fraternity, and they will be looking to make a statement against their Traralgon opponents.

Newborough Yallourn United and Fortuna both have the bye.

Chief: Dylan Dunstall controls the ball for Olympians in the opening round of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League.