Can’t separate Fortuna and Moe

FORTUNA ’60 returned to their home Crinigan Road South Reserve for the first time in more than 12 months on Sunday, for Round 3 of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League.

The Lions had been off their pitch for an extended period, following council works.

Befitting a return to their home ground, Fortuna were up against arch rival Moe United, in what was the 2023 League Champions versus the 2023 Battle of Britain Cup winners.

The game kicked-off under dry but overcast conditions, and would soon develop into a game for the ages, with the large crowd getting value for their entry fee for the full 90 minutes.

The Lions came out firing on all cylinders and were keen to assert their ascendency early in the game by playing same fast and direct football. In contrast, the Red Devils appeared to be slower out of the blocks and struggled to keep up with a hard pressing Fortuna outfit.

Fortuna hit the scoreboard first through Jake Budija, who would capitalise on a Moe defensive error to put the Lions 1-nil up early in the first half.

The returning Hayden Tanti inserted himself into the match midway through the first half, and extend the lead for the home team to 2-nil after a ball rebounded into his path and ended up in the back of the net.

Budija would strike again with 15 minutes left in the first half by chipping the evergreen Devil’s goal custodian Peter Albanese.

The first half finished with the Orangeman going into the changerooms full of confidence 3-nil up, however, but that would be short-lived upon the commencement of the second half.

Moe United was badly in need of a change in tactics after a first-half domination by the home side.

Moe coach Lee Dastey made the necessary moves, and with it came a dramatic turnaround for the Red Devils.

Suddenly, Fortuna was on the defensive, as United found openings and took full advantage.

The Red Devils were rewarded for their persistence when the Fortuna defence failed to properly clear a corner kick, which founds its way out to Oscar Sceney, who gave Fortuna keeper Clayton Monacella no chance from 20 metres out.

At the other end of the pitch, United’s defence stood firm against the dangerous DJ Matar Budeja.

Moe pushed hard for another break through the ever-dangerous Connor O’Hanlon, who made an attacking run up the left wing and sent a low, hard cross into the goalmouth, which then saw a diving Riley Winkelman head home the cross to make the score 3-2.

With confidence at an all-time high, Moe United surged forward again, and were successful in levelling the scores when a cross by Tanner Pyle saw Monacella parry the ball away, but the alertness of Lachie McKenzie seized on the loose ball to slam home the equaliser.

In a dramatic finish to a high-quality and entertaining match, there was some further chances for either side to win, however a 3-all result proved to be a fitting result as points were split.

Shelley, McKenzie and Connor Dastey were best for Moe.

Senior Women

WITH both teams in the rebuild stage this season, spectators saw an entertaining match of senior women’s football.

The first half was a game of cat and mouse by both teams – neither able to gain an ascendency or advantage.

Fortuna ’60 would have the run of play for periods of the first half, hitting pretty much every part of the goals bar the back of the net.

After an entertaining 45 minutes the score was locked at nil-all as teams went into the sheds.

The second half saw the Lioness’s come out and seize the game, with Emily Brabazon scoring three goals for the home team in a blistering display of team and individual football.

One of Moe United’s young guns, Summer Cooper pegged one back for the visitor’s, again showing what a talent she and her sister Miley will be in future years.

IN other results, Fortuna won the Reserves 3-1.

Goal scorers for the winners were Riduan Sobari (2) and Nick Matsoukas (1). Senior regular Luke Bathgate scored Moe’s goal.

In Second Division, Moe won 3-nil. Jimmy Hawaii, Gedd Heusmann and Darlin Nahum got on the scoresheet.

Defence: Fortuna’s Joel Palermo comes into slide tackle Moe’s Brendan Ruddell. Photographs supplied

Contest: Jake Budija gets the ball in front of Lachie MacKenzie, who was named in the best for Moe.


Churchill rams it home

CHURCHILL recorded their second successive victory of season 2024, after defeating Tyers 3-nil in Round 3 of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League.

The match was a rousing battle between two sides who struggled for much of last year, and are hoping to take steps in the right direction this year.

Tyers had only beaten Churchill twice in their 43 past matches, and this trend continued as the Rams took the points with an attacking brand of football.

The pressure was on from the start, with Churchill coach, Jayden Unmack taking a leading role as Churchill continually pressed forward.

Their first goal came at the 12-minute mark, which was well set up by Unmack with a polished pass to Blake Whykes, who cooly slotted it past Sasha Danilovic to open their account.

It was pressure from Churchill all the way as Tyers were on the back foot, however defender Steven Wood stood resolute for the Lightning.

Tyers had trouble getting forward, as Churchill controlled possession with captain Mitch Azlin, Corey O’Shea and Jayden Unmack getting plenty of the ball.

A couple of times Tyers went forward, forcing two corners, but wayward kicking and a solid defence by Churchill kept the Lightning from striking.

After 35 minutes, a free to Marc McHallam saw his shot deflect into the path of Whykes who banged in his second.

Churchill was now riding a wave of confidence, but despite their dominance, they could not land the killer blow.

Tyers ‘keeper Sasha Danilovic was called on to make many a good save, as his opposite number up the other end, Pacey Unmack was rarely tested.

Churchill went into halftime well pleased to be two-up.

After halftime, the Rams continued their pressure, but Tyers fought hard with some strong play.

Sav Mavrofridis, Ricky Moyle and Brodie Neave were all involved in good passages.

At 83 minutes, Churchill put the result beyond question when a Tim Lawless cross found Jayden Unmack who smacked it home for Churchill’s third.

MONASH recorded their biggest win over Sale since 2011.

The Wolves won 6-2, in what was only the third time ever that Monash had scored more than five goals against Sale in 97 games.

After two successive wins, the Wolves are starting to show their full potential.

Sale were underwhelming and are facing a difficult season ahead.

OLYMPIANS also hit the record books, with their biggest win over Newborough/Yallourn United since 2016.

Olympians were fired up for this match, especially after going down to Churchill a fortnight ago.

It was a strong showing by Olympians, who surprised everyone to lead 2-nil at halftime.

After the break, the game evened up with the Combine getting two back through Dylan and Mark Fairbrother, but more goals were to come as Olympians found success to send their loyal fans into raptures.

Giguei Malual completed his hat-trick and Majok Bier Deng and Ollie Saliba also scored for Olympians, in what some would call a surprise 5-2 win.

On the board: Traralgon Olympians secured their first win of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League season at the weekend. Majok Deng (pictured) scored in the sides 5-2 victory over Newborough/Yallourn. Photograph: Damen Francis

Falcons narrowly escape East Gippy scare 

FALCONS 2000 made the long trip up the Princes Highway to visit East Gippsland United on Sunday, looking to make it three wins from as many games to start their 2024 campaign.

In what was expected to be a one-sided affair in favour of the Morwell side, it was anything but as the league leaders laboured to a gritty 3-2 victory to send them outright top come the conclusion of Round 3.

Despite key players Kevin Carcellar, Kuku Mahmoud and Tommy D’Alia all absent from the field, Falcons took an early lead as Gabrielle Bocchichio converted from close range to give his side the ascendency.

Boot to ball: Josh Patterson in action for Falcons. Photographs supplied

The away team continued to dominate proceedings, but the Eagles were up for the challenge, with many a foray forward raising an eyebrow or two on the faces of the travelling supporters.

Despite the unexpected resistance, Falcons doubled their lead shortly before the break as new signing Levi Mahmoud converted from inside the box after some exceptional build up play from the midfield.

The halftime break seamed to invigorate the home side and they pounced on the lackadaisical nature of their opponents and soon enough, brought themselves back into the contest.

All of a sudden, the pressure started to get to Falcons, and with that, the Eagles had the bit between their teeth looking for what seemed an unthinkable result only moments beforehand.

Falcons eventually regained their composure and some quick thinking from striker Jamie Pistrin restored his sides two-goal advantage as he caught the opposing goalkeeper napping from 20 yards out.

Just as Falcons seemed to have sealed all three points, East Gippsland came again and were able to convert after a shot from outside the box was parried by goalkeeper, Mason Loprese straight into the path of one of the oncoming strikers.

The fairytale ending was not to be however, as Falcons closed out the game to ensure three points came back home in readiness for their derby game with Fortuna this Saturday night.
John Patterson, Will Medd, Pistrin and Harley Broadbent were among the best for Falcons, while the returning Jayden Steele was at his best for the Eagles.

In other results, the reserves game ended identical to the senior game with a 3-2 win to Falcons. The Birds women had a convincing 11-1 win away against Traralgon City.

On the road: Jamie Pistrin scored a critical goal for Falcons, who received a bit of a fright against East Gippsland in Latrobe Valley soccer.