AS they say in football, expect the unexpected.

There was no better example of that than in Round 5 of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League at the weekend.

Fortuna, who were on top of the ladder, succumbed to a rebuilding Olympians side on Saturday night in one of the biggest upsets in recent memory.

Not to be outdone, Monash shocked Falcons 2000 in a thrilling draw, while East Gippsland caused another upset, beating Newborough/Yallourn.


Traralgon Olympians 1 def Fortuna 0

THE Latrobe Valley Soccer League Facebook page pre-match write-up contained the following line in its preview of the opening game for Round 5: “In what is sure to be a physical and entertaining game, it appears on paper that the visitors (Fortuna) will be too strong for Olympians – but never underestimate the underdog on home turf…”

Playing under their new lights for the first time at senior level, Olympians faced the big ask up against the reigning league champions in Fortuna ’60.

With the game kicking off in front a good crowd from both clubs, it looked like early on the game would go to script, with the visitors having the majority of possession and play.

Fortuna controlled the game and looked to play their attacking brand of football, the ball movement out of their defence and midfield was crisp, but they could not capitalise once they where in their final third.

Olympians stood strong in their defence, marshalled by returning club legend, Alradi Ali and capably supported by keeper Jared Goodwin who was proving difficult to put a ball past.

The visiting crowd was getting nervous as the first half was coming to its conclusion, as they could sense their team had squandered multiple opportunities in front of goal.

On the other hand, the home crowd could sense that something big was on the cards.

After some bruising and physical football, the halftime whistle would blow, with both teams locked at nil-all.

The home team left the field for the changerooms full of enthusiasm and belief, Fortuna meanwhile were left to walk off with a sense they may have left the door open for the home team to get back into the game.

With the second half kicking off, there was a sense of urgency by the visitors to close the game out, and they threw everything they had at the Olympians defence. But again, it would be keeper Goodwin that stood firm and did not let a ball pass.

Fortuna’s strike pairing of Hayden Tanti and Jake Budija were clearly becoming frustrated, the latter being substituted for Damon Scott who was returning from injury.

With 25 minutes to go, Olympians seized an opportunity from a turnover, and they made Fortuna pay.

Jordan Martin from the Blues put it past Fortuna’s keeper to give the home team a 1-nil lead.

The next 20-odd minutes would be electrifying, with Fortuna basically throwing everything bar the kitchen sink at Goodwin, but the young keeper was up for the task and repelled everything coming his way.

The home ground crowd grew in voice and was willing their team to hold onto the lead.

Fortuna attacked with about three minutes to go – but again it was that man Goodwin who would ensure the visitors would not equalise.

With the final whistle blowing, the stands erupted on the home side celebrating what would be one of two boilovers of the round. Fortuna players were left sitting in the middle of the pitch contemplating the importance of converting chances.


Moe United 2 def Churchill United 0

MOE United took full advantage of results in Round 5 of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League.

Fortuna’s shock 1-nil loss to Traralgon Olympians, as well as Monash and Falcons drawing 2-all meant Moe United went three points clear on top of the ladder after beating Churchill on Sunday.

The Red Devils had to fight hard for their 2-nil victory over the Rams, who put in a stubborn defensive effort at Olympic Park, which made a mockery of most soccer pundits.

Churchill’s intent from the kick-off was to produce a fully defensive formation, which made life very difficult for Moe United to penetrate through a virtual wall of defence made even more difficult by the impressive keeping of Pacey Unmack in goals for the Rams.

The Red Devils were creating plenty of chances, with the first coming after only three minutes when Connor O’Hanlon made a strong solo run through the middle, only to have his shot saved by Unmack.

Minutes later, Tanner Pyle skipped past a couple of Churchill defenders, only for his shot to see Umack parry the ball down, then see the ball roll towards goal, but Umack again swooped as it got to the goal line.

At the 30-minute mark, Moe United finally got the vital breakthrough they were looking for when an inch perfect throughball by O’Hanlon sent his namesake, Connor Dastey clear of the Churchill defensive wall, and he cooly slotted the ball into the net past the advancing Unmack.

Moe United continued to search for more goals, and Oscar Sceney then sent Riley Winkelman clear but again Unmack came to the rescue for Churchill.

Just before the break, a Churchill half clearance fell to Sceney, whose first time half volley again saw Unmack do the job in goal.

Amazingly in this match, Churchill not once produced an attack inside Moe’s 18 yard box, giving Moe keeper Peter Albanese an easy day at the office.

Moe United was predominately holding the majority of possession, but as in the first half, were met by the stubborn Rams defence, giving Moe a frustrating time.

Minutes into the second half, a Bayden Heusmann run up the left found O’Hanlon, who cross was headed narrowly wide by Pyle.

Heusmann was again involved, and his run saw him cut inside the Churchill defence, only to have his shot parried down to Matt Shearing who blasted his shot high over the crossbar.

Fullback Chad Shelley then became involved in a right side attack and his cross was met by Pyle, who headed backwards to striker Riley Winkleman only to hit his shot just inches wide of the upright.

A cross field pass by Nick Fogarty to Shelley saw him find an unmarked Winkleman, only to hit his shot straight to the keeper.

Moe United finally sealed the important three points when great individual work by star midfielder Sceney saw his pinpoint cross find O’Hanlon, who blasted home his shot from 10 metres out.

Best for Moe was Pyle, Sceney, Heusmann and O’Hanlon.

Corey O’Shea, Pacey Umack, Mitch Axlin and Jayden Umack collected the votes for Churchill.


Falcons 2 drew with Monash 2

AFTER last weekends loss to arch rival Fortuna, it was expected Falcons were going to come out all guns blazing against a Monash side that was equal on points with its opponents.

However, Monash seemed to hit the ground running early in the contest, with Falcons taking a while to warm up. The Wolves soon took the lead with a defensive mix up from a corner allowing them to tap home for the lead.

Falcons looked off, and lacked the intensity and energy that their fans have to expect on a weekly basis.

Coach Adrian Salvatore must’ve been tearing his hair out as his side started to wrestle control from Monash, but couldn’t find an equaliser. His mood wouldn’t have improved as just before halftime, the Wolves doubled their lead through another calamitous error that led to an own goal.

Falcons made a number of positional changes at halftime and received an old-fashioned bake from the coaching staff, before coming out a totally different outfit in the second half on their home deck.

Within the first minute, Falcons dragged one back as midfielder Moni Eliaser drove through the box to finish.

As 2-nil is often a tricky score to defend, Falcons kept pressing, yet chance after chance went begging and Monash was holding on for dear life.

The equaliser eventually came as Jordan Kennedy followed up his initial effort by smashing the back of the net.

Falcons are known as a side that simply never give in, and ultimately that character trait was almost fully franked as Kennedy missed a glorious chance with a minute to go to grab all three points, while striker Kuku Mahmoud saw his shot at the death hit the side netting.

Both sides would’ve felt largely unhappy after the game, but for Falcons it was an escape of sorts considering the scoreline at halftime.


East Gippsland 4 def Newborough/Yallourn 3

THE golden boys of East Gippsland threw a giant spanner in the works against Newborough/Yallourn.

Wearing their yellow away strip, it seemed early doors that it was a curse for the boys from Bairnsdale as they found themselves behind to an Ash Birrell goal in the 16th minute.

It would soon be two as Mark Fairbrother doubled their lead as he rounded keeper Luciano Albornoz at Burrage Reserve.

The Combine scored their third through Fairbrother again to seemingly put the result beyond doubt.

However, one of the biggest comebacks in recent memory would soon play out as the Eagles got their first through dynamic forward, Jayden Steele who helped himself to a brace before halftime to leave the score 3-2.

It went from bad to worse for Newborough/Yallourn, as one of their players suffered the indignation of being sin binned in addition to another being red carded.

Down to nine men ultimately proved their downfall, as East Gippsland equalised through Oscar Bury in the 83rd minute.

The impossible was fast becoming a distinct possibility, as the away side scored what was ultimately the winner as Lachlan Dare pounced on a loose ball to slam home the winner to take all three points.


Sale United 3 def Tyers 0

SALE United travelled to Tyers looking for nothing less than three points.

Looking to get back on track in what can only be described as an underwhelming start to their season, the Swans were on the board after five minutes when Luke Wilson scored for the visitors.

Wilson soon made it two as he converted a decisive pass from Charlie Cockell to double the sides lead.

After the break, Tyers held their opponents at bay, in what was a commendable effort, but Sale ultimately got their third goal as Sean Dennelly drove the ball home from close range.