Rams Roll to title as top four heats up
Churchill United has secured this year’s senior League Championship with a 1-0 win over Traralgon City on Sunday whilst the top four continues to be hotly contested.
In a match that was full of end to end attacking City striker Mark Fairbrother spurned a golden opportunity as his shot skidded across the goal face to skim the goal post after he broke the Rams defensive line mid way through the second half.
However, Churchill eventually prevailed when Taylor Jackson cut a swaive through the Roosters defence to score the winner in the 85th minute to secure the Rams fourth title from the last six seasons. Considering last years goal difference loss to Fortuna it has been a great period of domination from Churchill.
Moe United got themselves off the mat to salvage a 2-2 draw at home versus Fortuna to narrowly maintain third place on the ladder.
Fortuna lead 2-0 at half time with goals from Joel Pirotta and Josh Tanti but found themselves with their backs to wall when Owen Kelly received his marching orders for his second bookable offence.
Moe pushed for a goal but waited to three minutes to go before pulling one back 2-1 when Lee Dastey converted a penalty.
On the final play of the day Moe drew level 2-2 when Dastey finished from a corner.
Sale United squandered a golden chance to nail a finals berth when it had to settle for a 3-3 draw against cellar dwellers Newborough-Yallourn who have now got themselves off the bottom of the ladder with the valuable point.
In a tight match all day Sale started better and a great cross from Callum Clancy found Jon Piefke unmarked who headed onto the cross bar.
The dead lock was finally broken when Ray Allred raced clear to convert, but moments later two defensive errors led to NYU first drawing level and then taking the lead 2-1 at half time through Matthew Hasthorpe and Luke Buhagiar.
After the interval Newborough scored a third through Hasthorpe to lead 3-1 and they tried to preserve their lead.
A Ray Allred square ball found Jon Piefke who rounded the keeper to score Sale’s second 3-2.
With time ticking down the home side rallied to draw level 3-3 when Art Smith scored.
Traralgon Olympians maintain a faint hope of playing finals after a hard fought 2-1 win over Monash on Sunday.
Both sides were reduced to ten men when Matthew Stansbury for Monash and Terry Panayiotou for the Blues were both red carded.
Returning from long term injury Blues coach Anthony Collins scored along with goal scoring machine Clayton Bell, whilst Darryn Cummings scored for the Wolves.
In the twilight fixture on Saturday night at Latrobe City Sports Stadium, Falcons took all three points against Tyers Lightning in a workmanlike performance 3-1.
After their entertaining 4-4 draw early in the season, the Birds were looking for revenge but could not find the opener.
Against the run of play a speculative shot from outside the area gave Tyers an unexpected lead.
This shook the home side into action and duly equalised with a spectacular overhead kick goal by striker Jerry Daniels for a 1-1 score line at the break.
The second half saw much of the same in terms of possession and Falcons took the lead with young Kevin Carcellar evading two defenders and the goalkeeper to slot coolly for his debut senior goal to lead 2-1.
Carcellar then turned provider with a well placed cross for inform striker Sam Amaira to unleash a stinging volley on his first touch which left the Tyers ‘keeper with no chance to run out winners 3-1.
Preview Round 17
Traralgon Olympians vs Traralgon City
The match of the round is the Traralgon derby on Sunday with both clubs desperate for a win; Traralgon City to continue towards a likely finals berth and for the Traralgon Olympians to keep their faint finals hopes alive.
Last time the Olympians trounced City 3-0 and since then have gone from strength to strength and are arguably the form side of the competition right now.
City needs Mark Fairbrother and John Koul to be more clinical around goal if they are to prevail in this one whilst the Blues will look to Clayton Bell for the ascendancy.
Churchill United vs Moe United
Moe will be pushing for an upset over this year’s Champions and will hope the addition of Adrian Savage and Jason Koppen to the squad that lost to the Rams 2-1 back in round eight could provide the edge they need.
Churchill will be without goal keeper Jason Sands and defender Dean Pyle but won’t want to mess with their form leading into the battle of Britain Cup final on September 2.
Tyers vs Sale United
Tyers at home and aiming to avoid the wooded spoon will be tough competition for Sale on Sunday with the Swans depleted by injury with both Jon Piefke and Tom Nguyen likely to miss.
With this weeks rain expected to make the going tough at Tyers Recreation Reserve an upset is in the offing.
Newborough-Yallourn vs Monash
Pride is on the line in the Newborough derby and after an entertaining 4-2 win to the Wolves back in round eight NYU will be keen to square the ledger.
The Combine is also locked in battle with Tyers to avoid the wooden spoon and after taking points off Falcons, Tyers and Sale in recent weeks they will fancy their chances.
Falcons vs Fortuna
In a Saturday night twilight fixture Falcons maintain an outside chance to qualify for finals whilst Fortuna is marooned in second place regardless of the result.
Last time Fortuna easily won 3-0 but before the season proper Falcons knocked the Lions out in the Battle of Britain Cup semi final 2-1.
Fortuna hold a winning record in the league over Falcons stretching back over ten years so expect to see a hard fought match as the Birds attempt to end their run.