FAVOURITISM was the formula in Round 10 of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League, as four of the favoured teams won their matches, while Olympians and Sale United drew.


Churchill United 1 def by Falcons 6

ON a perfect autumn afternoon, Falcons 2000 made the short trip to Hazelwood South Reserve to take on a rejuvenated Churchill United in Round 10 of the Latrobe Valley Soccer League last Sunday.

The Rams came into the contest unbeaten in their last three matches, but went on to lose 6-1.

The Rams however looked lively from the opening whistle and shocked their more fancied opponents, as a deep free kick on the edge of the box found Corey O’Shea at the back post who converted to give his side a second minute lead.

The home side were playing much better than their position on the league ladder would suggest, and in part it was due to a lacklustre Falcons side who had yet to awake from their slumber.

As the first half progressed, the Birds decided to lift their intensity, which had been virtually non-existent. They were soon rewarded with an equaliser in the 23rd minute. Wing back Kevin Carcellar drove into the box and his cross was somehow deflected goalward, and try as he might, Churchill goalkeeper Pacey Unmack could not stop it from crossing the line.

With parity restored, it gave the impetus required for Falcons to take the lead as great play from Kuku Mahmoud fashioned the simplest of chances for veteran Nick D’Alessandro to slam home from close range.

It would soon be three goals in four minutes as Mahmoud opened his account with a tidy finish from inside the box in the 27th minute.

Mahmoud was creating havoc in the forward half, with the home side unable to control his marauding runs inside the penalty box, and his efforts would be rewarded with a second goal, and his team’s fourth, as he hit a rasping shot from just inside the box to close out the scoring for the first half to give his side a 4-1 halftime lead.

The second half started much the same as the first ended, with Falcons being relentless in their attack.

Churchill looked out of legs, and it was starting to take a toll with execution in their passing somewhat lacking.

After last week’s abject performance in front of goals, Falcons were in no mood to repeat that effort, as Mahmoud completed his hat-trick with a tap in from close range after some wonderful build up play between Moni Eliaser and Josh Patterson left the home side’s defence in all sorts.

Two minutes later, Patterson, who has been a shining light this season at right back, scored his first goal for the season as Eliaser set him up to finish at the near post.

The last half an hour saw Falcons ring the changes, and one of those was the return of former club captain Andrew Carbone, who has had his season curtailed by a niggling hamstring injury. His involvement will only create further headaches for coach Adrian Salvatore at the selection table as he looks to continue his side’s rich vein of form.

This Saturday sees Falcons host Tyers Lightning in a game the Birds will be expected to take all three points before the King’s Birthday long weekend.


Moe United 7 def East Gippsland 2

MOE United were far from impressive in the first half against East Gippsland at home on Sunday.

The Red Devil’s ended up winning the Round 10 fixture 7-2, but had to overcome a 1-all deadlock at halftime against an improving East Gippsland side.

Moe United led the way early, and took the lead after only five minutes when youngster Bayden Heusmann latched onto a loose ball and after a sustained run, cut inside the East Gippy fullback, then let loose with a 20 metre curling shot which beat the keeper on the left near post.

Moe was on the early offensive, with chances going to Connor O’Hanlon, Oscar Shelly and Connor Dastey without success.

To East Gippy’s credit, their first half was without doubt their best soccer performance of the season, and they were finally rewarded for their persistence when they produced a string of passes from deep in defence, which saw Oscar Bury latch onto a pass, then cooly find the net.

A stern lecture from Moe United coach Lee Dastey about the lack of creativity and intensity, along with a frank description of the poor soccer they were delivering, was heard at the main break.

Straight from the resumption of play, Moe played a higher press, which forced East Gippy to take more risks out of their backline.

This would soon produce the opening Moe United were after, and after a strong forward run by Heusmann, his shot at goal was deflected by a defender, which was intercepted by Connor Dastey, whose low cross was met by O’Hanlon to give Moe United a 2-1 lead.

The East Gippsland side was producing some stubborn defending to keep United at bay.

The pressure Moe was applying finally broke through the East Gippsland resistance from a quick, long throw in by Connor Dastey, which found O’Hanlon in space along the goal line.

His low drive across goal was met and hammered home by Heusmann to put Moe up 3-1.

By now, United were in all-out attack mode, and were soon 4-1 up when O’Hanlon produced the goal of the day when he hit an outside of his foot 30 metre drive strike which gave the East Gippy keeper no chance.

A long Brendan Ruddell ball sent O’Hanlon clear again, and he made it 5-1.

The assault continued to worsen for East Gippy, when a Connor Dastey corner saw Nick Fogarty out jump the opposition defence to head one home and put his side up 6-1.

The next stage of play saw a disastrous own goal by the away team keeper, when he attempted to block a cross on the left from Heusmann, only to deflect the ball into his own net.

With only minutes remaining, East Gippy were awarded a free kick from just outside the box. From there, Daniel Street stepped up and hit a well-placed curling shot which got past the wall and inside the near post past a despairing dive from Moe United veteran keeper Peter Albanese.

Best for the Red Devils was O’Hanlon, Ruddell, Fogarty and Heusmann.


Fortuna 6 def Monash 2

FORTUNA reaffirmed their status as one of the teams to beat this season, as they welcomed Monash to Crinigan Road Reserve.

Monash did well to score but did not stand a chance against the firepower of Fortuna, who toppled them 6-2.

Fortuna controlled the match in the first half, scoring three goals of their own. The game was technically won from there, as it was highly unlikely that the league leaders would concede three times to Monash at home in a half of football.

They would concede in the second half, and more than once, but it placed no danger on their chance at the three points.

Monash did score twice in the second half, but Fortuna matched their first half total, adding another three goals to secure the three points.

Jordan Campbell scored a hat-trick for Fortuna, while Jake Budija scored a brace and Daniel Cooper scored the other.

For Monash, Jay Hall and Noah Bennett found the back of the net.

Fortuna remain on top of the league, boasting a positive 52 goal difference, almost as much as Falcons or Moe United beneath them combined.

Monash remain fifth, unable to move any closer to Olympians in fourth, but Newborough/Yallourn did move closer to them.


Newborough/Yallourn United 2 def Tyers 1

THE Combine clinched a 2-1 win over Tyers at Burrage Reserve.

A tight first half saw both sides find the back of the net, but at home and coming up against the bottom side of the league, Newborough/Yallourn would’ve wanted more.

They found more, but only just. The home side managed to find a second, all while keeping their lowly visitors to the goal they scored in the first half.

Newborough/Yallourn claimed their fourth win from 10 games, holding Tyers to their 10th straight loss of the season.

Mark Fairbrother and Jonathon Cook scored the winning goals for the home team. Salah Ellaser scored Tyers’ fifth goal for the season.

As previously mentioned, Newborough/Yallourn move to within two points of Monash. Tyers remain dead last, two wins behind East Gippsland.


Traralgon Olympians 1 drew with Sale United 1

OLYMPIANS hosted Sale United, and the two couldn’t be separated after 90 minutes, with the affair ending in a 1-all draw.

After coming off the back of two strong wins, Olympians were favoured to take the cake in this one, considering that Sale United had only won two games all season. Going into the match, Olympians had exactly double the number of points compared to the Swans, so the odds were with the home side.

Nonetheless, both teams could only muster one score each.

The two entered the halftime break with the deadlock yet to be broken, but as the game continued into the second half, both sides were able to breach each other’s defences to have a crack at the three points.

Sale United did manage to escape with a point, even after going down to 10 men when Brodyn Taylor was sent off for a second yellow card.

James Penn netted for Sale United, while Alradi Ali scored for Olympians.

Olympians remain fourth, and are just three points away from Moe United, who have 18 more in the goal difference column. That being said, they are still only six points from the top sides.

Sale moved within three points of Churchill, as they hope to climb themselves out of the hole at the bottom of the ladder.