Horsemen hold on against surging Red Devils

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WAYNE Rooney once said, “You just want to keep playing consistently now and keep working hard, and I’m sure the goals will come”.

Funnily enough, Rooney was right, at least in Sale United Football Club’s case, with the Wellington Shire side defeating Churchill United 9-0 in Latrobe Valley Soccer League women’s.

The weather was textbook perfect for football on Saturday afternoon, almost no wind, clouded sky and light misty rain only beginning as the Latrobe Valley football side descended on Sale’s Godfrey Baldwin Reserve for the opening games of Round 4.

With Churchill having not fielded a women’s side last season, Sale was unsure what to expect from their Latrobe Valley opponents, who lost 6-1 to Traralgon City in Round 1, 2-0 to returning side Morwell Pegasus in Round 2 and 3-0 to Falcons 2000 in Round 3.

The Swanettes entered the Round 4 match against the Rams determined to keep another clean sheet and claim a third consecutive win after defeating Tyers Lightning and Monash in their first two season games, scoring 18 goals and conceding zero, putting them second on the ladder.

Sale monopolised the game from the beginning, but although the home team dominated possession, the Swanettes struggled to find the back of the net early doors.

It was winger Hollie Ryan who scored first, putting Sale ahead 1-0 10 minutes in.

Playing coach Madeline Breakspear scored the Swanettes’ second goal in the 15th minute, with SUFC senior men’s coach Anouk Meereboer adding a third goal to Sale’s total a minute later.

Sale led Churchill 7-0 at the end of the half, with Ryan earning herself a hat-trick, Meereboer scoring a second goal, and Swanettes striker Dani Wilson also finding the back of the net before the break.

Swanettes captain Zoe Askew scored Sale United’s eighth goal just past the hour mark with a toe-knuckle hybrid strike through the keeper’s legs.

Meereboer scored her third goal, earning herself a hat-trick in the game’s closing minutes, cementing Sale United a 9-0 win.

On Sunday, 2022 league champions Falcons met Newborough Yallourn United, who are also fielding a women’s side this season after not doing so last.

Falcons entered Round 4 top of the ladder, with Newborough/Yallourn sitting third.

As predicted, it was a fiercely contested match between the top-of-the-ladder teams, with the Combine first to score, finding the back of the net in the opening minute.

Falcons scored an equaliser in the 18th minute but could not stop Newborough from taking back the lead, the home side scoring their second goal in the 20th minute.

Newborough’s lead was short-lived; the 2022 champions scored another equaliser in the 21st minute with a third goal before the break, putting Falcons ahead 3-2.

Tensions were hot; the home team received two yellow cards before the break and a third shortly after returning to the field for the second half.

Falcons found the back of the net in the 51st minute, extending their lead to 4-2.

Newborough quickly retaliated, scoring their third goal moments later and an equaliser at the hour mark.

Neither side could top the other, with both sides scoring in the final 15 minutes, Falcons and Newborough drawing 5-5 at the end of 90 minutes.

Fortuna, finishing second in the league last season, hosted Monash, with the home team securing a relatively easy three points with a 6-0 win.

Morwell Pegasus hit the road, travelling to Olympic Park to take on returning side Moe United.

After a neck-and-neck battle, the home side retired victorious, Moe defeating Pegasus 1-0.

On the other side of Gippsland, Tyers Lightning met East Gippsland United Football Club at West Bairnsdale Oval.

Tyers was first to score, finding the back of the net in the fifth minute, but their lead was short-lived, with the home side scoring an equaliser in the 11th.

The Latrobe Valley side scored two more goals before the 30-minute mark, with EGUFC keeping themselves in the game with a second goal before the break.

A third and final goal for EGUFC wasn’t enough to top their opponents, with Tyers Lightning finding the back of the net three more times before the match’s end to secure a 5-3 win.

THIS Saturday, Falcons host Moe United.

On Sunday, it is a top-of-the-ladder match, with Sale United meeting Newbourough/Yallourn at Burrage Reserve.

Churchill United host Fortuna on ANZAC Day, while East Gippsland head west to take on Traralgon City, and Monash meet Tyers Lightning at home.

Morwell Pegasus has the bye.


ROUND 4 of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League saw two massive games played out, with Morwell Pegasus prevailing over Moe United, and Falcons 2000 snatching all three points against Newborough/Yallourn.

In the other two fixtures, Fortuna were comfortable winners against Monash while Sale easily accounted for Churchill.

Moe United vs Morwell Pegasus

MATCH of the round saw two league title aspirants in Moe United and Morwell Pegasus face off in a fixture that neither side could afford to lose, even this early on in the season.

In somewhat bizarre circumstances, Moe had only played one fixture to date due to having two byes in the opening three rounds which, one would argue, is a detriment to any side looking to garner momentum early in a campaign. Throw in the Easter weekend off and it’s been a long time between games.

Pegasus on the other hand have started like a house on fire, the highlight being a resounding victory over Newborough/Yallourn before the Easter break.

And for the reasons above, it was no surprise that the Flying Horsemen jumped out of the gates to take an early two goal lead.

Moe were shell-shocked and it could easily have been three of four to nil, but the Red Devils held strong.

The home side had a chance to halve the deficit, but a Connor O’Hanlon penalty was expertly saved by the Pegasus goalkeeper to maintain their two-goal buffer at the break. Moe ended up clawing a goal back to ensure a grandstand finish, but an equaliser could not be found.

To literally add insult to injury, Moe were forced to make three changes as Lachlan McKenzie, Matt Shearing and Rylie Winkleman all came off injured, which may pose a problem this coming Saturday as they travel to the reigning league champions in Falcons 2000 in which is now a must-win game for the men from Moe.

Newborough/Yallourn vs Falcons 2000

IN the second of two blockbusters for the day, Falcons 2000 travelled to Newborough looking to continue their winning streak, while the home side were looking to reignite their season after losing to Pegasus the round before.

The Morwell side were uncharacteristically wasteful against Churchill a fortnight ago, and word has it that they were put through their paces since that performance to ensure they remain firmly affixed to the top of the table.

However, it certainly didn’t look like it had done them any good in the opening 20 minutes of this fixture, as the home side came out full of vigour.

The Combine’s relentless pressure eventually brought reward as Tristan Donohue was able to convert in the 17th minute through wonderful build up play from the midfield.

Leading striker Mark Fairbrother had the opportunity to double the lead from an acute angle, but his shot was misdirected and went wide.

It felt that Newborough/Yallourn would be left to rue that opportunity, especially against a Falcons side who never give up, and that it did, as the Morwell side flicked the switch from the 25th minute to dominate proceedings.

Captain Toby Capp hit the post with a long-range effort, then Josh Patterson was somewhat dubiously called offside as he tapped in from close range. But they would not be denied as lovely build up play from Nonda Lazaris set up Jamie Pistrin who equalised with a sublime finish from outside the penalty box.

The second half was nothing short of entertaining.

Falcons seemed to have the edge with their superior fitness levels, but simply could not convert as further guilt-edged chances to Stefan Sbaglia and Jim Mills were somehow not converted.

The home side had their fair share of play but couldn’t fashion a clear cut chance against a resolute Falcons defence.

The match seemed to be headed for a stalemate but in the 89th minute, Lazaris scored the winner as he took on two players inside the box and finished with aplomb.

The loss leaves Newborough/Yallourn languishing two games from the summit but there are plenty of games left to play for their season to be over just yet.

Monash v Fortuna

MONASH, winless to date, continue to be the hard luck story of the season.

After showing much promise against more fancied rivals in the opening two rounds and then surprisingly losing to Sale in Round 3, a home fixture against Fortuna was a perfect way to cause the upset of the round.

Unfortunately, it was not to be as the Orangemen made light work of their opponent to make it three wins from three games in season 2023.

Monash started strongly, with Leon Varrasso having two chances to open proceedings by experienced goalkeeper Con Mavrofridis able to thwart both attempts.

Fortuna soon took the lead as Jordan Campbell converted from close range to make it seven goals in two games.

Dj Matar and Liam Antonelli were instrumental early on, but the Wolves continued to push but couldn’t convert, the culprit this time being Jesse Davis.

Fortuna would make them pay in the second half as goals to Antonelli, Alex Bowman and Ollie Spiteri put the result beyond doubt.

The victory was somewhat soured with key defender Bowman given his marching orders for an awkward tackle.

Sale v Churchill

IN the only Saturday night fixture of the round, Sale made it three wins from four games against a Churchill side still looking for their first points of the campaign.

Sale simply dominated and the 5-0 victory was reflective of their dominance.

Churchill will need to get their act together as they come up against a rampant Fortuna 60 in the traditional ANZAC Day fixture next Tuesday.


Falcons v Moe (Saturday 6pm)

MATCH of the round sees us at Latrobe City Sports Stadium on Saturday night as league leaders Falcons 2000 host Moe United, in what shapes as an excellent contest if past results are anything to go by.

Falcons are four from four to date but have been far from their best, but as they say good sides find ways to win and that they have.

Moe on the other hand will be under pressure to not lose ground to their rivals after their loss to Pegasus last weekend.

Nothing less than a win will suffice for the Red Devils.

Morwell Pegasus v Traralgon Olympians (Sunday 3pm)

THIS will be Olympians’ moment of truth as they come up against the undefeated Pegasus.
Olympians have found that it has been hard to rebuild after a season off, but they still have a big chance against Pegasus.

The Horsemen are playing with confidence and they’ll make it difficult for Olympians to get a result.

Monash v Tyers Lightning (Sunday 3pm)

THIS will be a big day for either team as one team will break their run of outs. Neither side has won so far, so this is a real chance to show that the game can be won.

Form favours Monash who have pushed strong teams in the early rounds, while Tyers have lacked firepower up front to worry any of their opponents.

In fairness, Tyers are rebuilding after being out of first division for a number of years but have struggled to be competitive.

This is a chance for redemption and three points if they can think positive, even a draw would be a bonus for the Lightning.

Newborough/Yallourn v Sale (Sunday 3pm)

THIS will be an important match for Sale as the Swans have won three in succession, albeit against lesser opposition, but now face a much harder hurdle in Newborough/Yallourn.

The Combine pushed Falcons to the limit in their last match, conceding a goal right at the death, but were impressive in general play.

Sale will need to stand up and be counted, and a win over Newborough/Yallourn would show the Gippsland soccer community that Sale is an upcoming force.

Sale haven’t won this fixture since 2015, so there is history to be made by the Swans.

Churchill v Fortuna – (Tuesday 3pm, ANZAC Day)

THE annual ANZAC Day clash at Churchill looks like a one horse race at the moment, as form indicates that Fortuna will continue their run of wins.

A strong second half against Monash ensured a comprehensive victory.

ANZAC Day has been a special day for both clubs where there is a competitive spirit between the two sides, this being the fourth ANZAC Day meeting with special appearances by local RSL representatives who will conduct a moving ceremony.