IN a curious and intriguing set of circumstances, and with a third of the season being played, we have an old fashioned logjam at top of the table with five sides on 13 points after six rounds.

Fortuna, Moe, Falcons, Monash and Olympians find themselves at the pinnacle of the league, and it is making for an interesting season.


Olympians 2 def Moe United 1

TRARALGON Olympians once again provided the shock of the season when they accounted for the previously undefeated Moe United in Round 6 of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League.

Taking to Harold Preston Reserve on Sunday, Olympians proved they could be a serious challenger for the 2024 league title.

Their 2-1 win over the Red Devils backed up their 1-nil victory over reigning league champion Fortuna the week before.

As a result of these victories, Olympians have opened up the title race with an amazing league ladder of Fortuna, Monash, Falcons, Moe United and Olympians themselves all sitting equal first on 13 points.

Such a sight disputes the initial thought around the Valley that the league title would be a battle between only Fortuna, Falcons and Moe United.

The 2-1 score at Harold Preston Reserve was kept to that reasonable scoreline due to the brilliant displays of goalkeeping by Moe United veteran Peter Albanese and Traralgon Olympians youngster, Jarrod Goodwin.

There was a vast difference in the two line ups, with Traralgon Olympians fielding a young, inexperienced side, while Moe United fielded a bigger and more physical team.

While the game produced plenty of goalmouth action and scoring opportunities, the standard of the match was scrappy to say the least.

The ever-dangerous striker, Connor O’Hanlon produced the first chance after receiving a pass from Moe teammate Oscar Sceney, as he raced clear of the Olympians defence and while his shot on the run beat Goodwin, it cannoned into the crossbar to safety.

Olympians went from defence to attack and a long throughball was misread by the Moe United defence, which then saw Ralph Omutlall seize on the loose ball and despite a valiant effort by Albanese, the shot was deflected and found its way into goal to give Olympians a 1-nil lead.

The goal and restart stirred Moe United into action, and quickly resulted into a scoring chance, but O’Hanlon’s shot this time went narrowly over the crossbar.

After 15 minutes play, United was again back on level terms after a run and cross from the left by Riley Winkleman found its way out to the box to Noah Kane, who’s first time strike was parried down by Goodwin and the deflection swooped onto by Winkleman to level the scores.

Moe United produced a sustained run of attacks, and again Winkleman was the creator with a well timed throughball, only to see Goodwin again pull off a great reflex save.

United continued its attack, only to again be thwarted by a fingertip save by Goodwin after a brilliant hit shot by Sceney from the resultant corner kick. A Connor Dastey cross was later met by Sceney, again who’s shot was somehow deflected wide of goals.

Moe’s next attack came from a brilliant solo run by Bayden Heusmann from his own half, and after beating two Olympians defenders, his shot was again saved by the crossbar.

Before the break, a through ball by Tanner Pyle sent O’Hanlon in space in the box, but his attempt was rushed clear by the defiant Olympians defence.

The second half saw Olympians came out with supreme intensity and an early Moe United defensive mix up saw Ralph Omutlall seize the chance to race clear, but the evergreen Albanese produced a great one-on-one save.

Olympians were catching the Moe United defence on quick counterattacks, and it was Sammy Jacob who had the next chance, but Albanese again came to the rescue, when he thwarted Jacob with his save from his feet.

The decisive stamp on the game came at the 70-minute mark when Olympians were awarded a direct free kick from 20 metres out and central defender Alradl Ali stepped up to hit a brilliantly placed free kick which gave Albanese no chance whatsoever.

Within minutes, Jacob again found space, and with only Albanese to face one-on-one, the veteran keeper’s experience again won out with a great save.

United was desperate to save face by grabbing a late equaliser, and an O’Hanlon cross found Winkleman unmarked, but his shot was again saved by Goodwin.

With only seconds remaining, Pyle fought his way past three Olympians defenders, and with his shot beating a defiant Goodwin, the ball went inches wide of the upright.

The final whistle was blown in an entertaining match making it a superb fortnight for the Traralgon Olympians Soccer Club.

Best for the winners was Ali, Andre Antonopoulos, Goodwin and Jacob. Best for Moe United was Sceney, Joe Stewart, Albanese and O’Hanlon.


Fortuna 8 def Churchill United 0

ANZAC Day soccer was found at the home of Fortuna, when they hosted Churchill in their annual meeting on Thursday.

Kicking off Round 6 with this fixture always pulls a crowd, which was there to provide some noise.

Playing for the Anzac Day Cup, the two sides had played on this occasion six times before – Fortuna holding five of those wins to the Rams’ one.

It would soon be six to Fortuna, who could not be stopped in a rampant second half performance, claiming the three points as 8-nil winners.

Fortuna were out to let some anger out following their shock loss to Traralgon Olympians the weekend before, while Churchill would’ve felt confident following their 2-0 loss to Moe.

Following The Ode and The Last Post, as the clock struck 5pm, the ball was kicked off and the match was underway.

Churchill were surprisingly in the match for a lot longer than some would’ve expected, despite going down in the first half.

A dominant half was still had, while Churchill displayed their defensive muscle, much like they did the week prior in Moe.

Fortuna found a way through still, to put the first on the board, holding that advantage into the halftime break.

With Churchill now needing to score to get a result out of this game, they had to try something in attack, which opened up their defence at times. Enough to let Fortuna through the gates whenever they pleased.

The second half was just a completely different story to the first, and disappointingly for Churchill, it got out of hand with haste.

Fortuna piled on the pressure, and with that the goals. The Lions slotted seven more in the second half to complete the Anzac Day rout, claiming the three points.

Jordan Campbell scored a hat-trick for Fortuna, while Hayden Tanti scored a brace. Singular goals fell the way of Jake Budija, Dj Matar and Alex Bowman.


Monash 7 def Newborough/Yallourn 1

MONASH made light work of their rivals on Sunday, with a seven goal to one demolition job at home.

The win heaped further pain on the undermanned Newborough/Yallourn outfit. Marcus Krznaric was again in top form with another hat-trick, bringing his season tally to 15 goals after only six games. He was ably assisted by Brayden Paulet, Jared Baldacchino, Caleb Semple and Gonza Ortellado who all got onto the scoresheet.

The loss sees the Combine drop down to seventh on the ladder, while the win for the Wolves sees them equal top ahead of a top-of-the-table clash against Moe United this Sunday.


East Gippsland 2 def Tyers 1

TYERS made the long trip to Bairnsdale with the expectation of breaking through for their first win of the season, but East Gippsland seem to play better at home and they battled hard against a determined Tyers team, coming from behind to record a resounding victory.

The Lightning struck first, with veteran Shayne Pavich putting one past the lunging Luciano Albornoz as Tyers went into the break leading 1-nil.

East Gippsland fought in the second half, with Josh West equalising midway through the term.

Tyers continued to press and put the Eagle’s keeper under pressure, but East Gippsland was equal to the task.

It was end-to-end until Oscar Bury put the finishing touch to a deft cross from Jaydon Steele to give the Eagles their second win for the season.


Falcons 3 def Sale United 0

AFTER getting their first win of the season, Sale was on the hunt for a second successive victory against a Falcons 2000 side smarting after a frustrating 2-all draw against Monash the week prior.

Unfortunately for the home side, it was all one way traffic from the get-go as the boys from Morwell heaped on the pressure from the first whistle.

Jordi Vacca had the perfect opportunity to put his side in front, but his shot was expertly saved by the Sale goalkeeper.

Vacca was then wasteful from the resultant corner as he was left unmarked, but his header went wide of the goal.

Eventually, Falcons got their just rewards as midfielder Moni Eliaser converted a loose ball inside the box to put his side in front.

Wonderful build up play between Kuku Mahmoud, Josh Patterson and Vacca brought about a guilt-edged chance for Jamie Pistrin to convert from close range, however he could not keep his shot down below the crossbar.

Almost immediately after halftime, the Birds’ lead was doubled as Mahmoud finished superbly from just inside the box to give his side some breathing space.

In a trend that is becoming quite worrisome for Falcons, they continued to waste chance after chance, however Eliaser put the result beyond doubt with 10 minutes to go as he finished within the 18 yard box.

A sterner challenge awaits the Morwell side this weekend; a blockbuster home game on Saturday night against the in-form Olympians.