Pascoe Vale’s six game unbeaten run has come to an end following a 2-0 defeat at the hands of table-topping Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.
Bentleigh Greens 2 (Wallace 43, Lucas 81) Pascoe Vale 0
Goals in each half from Captain Wayne Wallace and Chris Lucas saw the reigning Champions maintain their five point buffer in first place heading into the final four rounds of the season. Troy Ruthven came close to opening the scoring 41 minutes into the contest when his free-kick struck the crossbar after Lucas was fouled just outside the box. His captain then went one better two minutes later when he nut-megged his opponent before unleashing an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box past Alex Pavlidis in Paco goals. Both sides had their opportunities in the second half with Joseph Youssef seeing a couple of opportunities on goal fail to trouble Scott while Lucas was denied by Pavlidis from extending the margin. However that was not to be the case for long as he finished home from a Kamal Ibrahim cut-back to seal the points with his 13th league strike of the season.
Richmond 0 Heidelberg United 1 (Athiu 33)
Kenny Athiu’s 15th goal of the season was enough to hand Heidelberg United a hard-fought 1-0 victory over relegation threatened Richmond at Kevin Bartlett Reserve on Friday night. The hosts began the contest on the front foot and had a couple of decent opportunities in the opening 15 minutes only for Alex Caniglia’s half-volley and Hamlet Armenian’s header to go off target. However from there onwards it was all Heidelberg with Athiu and Sean Ellis both denied by the in-form French goalkeeper Tony Foglia who made another fantastic save to deny Ellis on the half hour mark. However he was powerless to stop Kenny Athiu from slotting in a header at the near post to open the scoring as the heavens opened up. The second half was primarily a game of half-chances with Rick Mensink’s men struggling to create many clear cut opening as Athiu was thwarted from doubling his and Heidelberg’s tally by another good save from Foglia with a quarter of an hour on the clock remaining. The Bergers held onto all three points to keep the pressure on second placed South Melbourne as they look to beat their great rivals to a top two finish.
Avondale 2 (Berkant 41' Khrapko 81') Port Melbourne Sharks 0
Avondale have all but secured their position in the top flight by condemning the sinking Port Melbourne Sharks to their seventh straight defeat after a 2-0 victory at Knights Stadium on Saturday afternoon. David Stirton returned from suspension and fitted into the Sharks starting eleven who were missing winger Adrian Zahra following his sending off in last week’s 3-1 defeat to Northcote. With the rainy weather playing its part, it took until the 42nd minute for the deadlocked to be broken when Jem Berkant finished well after initially gaining possession in the centre circle for his first goal for the club. The lead was extended with eight minutes on the clock remaining when Abrahim Yango was played through and rounded Sharks shot-stopper before cutting back for Alex Khrapko to tap home for just his second league goal of the campaign against a Port side in dire need of three points to steer them away from relegation danger.
Hume City 2 (Cahill 58; Dixon 84) Green Gully 0
Hume City ended a tumultuous week on a high by avenging their defeat to Green Gully in the Dockerty Cup semi-final with a 2-0 win at ABD Stadium on Saturday night. Dean Hennessey took over the City managerial hotseat having previously served as the club’s technical director under departed manager Lou Acevski. The hosts had much of the running in the opening half but failed to trouble Rani Dowisha in Gully goals and it took a sensational volley from outside the box by former Gully forward Tom Cahill to open the scoring just shy of the hour mark. The visitors almost equalised with 20 minutes on the clock remaining when Evan Christodoulou’s deflected strike struck the post much to the relief of ex-Gully boss Hennessey. The three points were confirmed late on when Theo Markelis played in fellow substitute Danny Dixon who slotted in for his first goal for the club with a neat finish as Hume looks towards their home FFA Cup Round of 32 tie against the Marconi Stallions on Wednesday.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Maclean 11) South Melbourne 4 (Lujic 3, pen 90, Minopoulos 73, Manolo 80)
South Melbourne kept the pressure on Bentleigh as a late flurry of goals helped Chris Taylor’s men secure a 4-1 win over Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon. A frantic opening saw Milos Lujic’s third minute strike cancelled out by Victory captain John Maclean who scored his third goal of the season to level proceedings ten minutes into the contest. The reigning Premiers were left frustrated throughout much of the next hour as the youthful hosts did their best to keep the South attack quiet. However Leigh Minopoulos’ near post finish restored South’s lead which was doubled when Lucas Spinella spilled a Lujic header into the path of Spanish substitute Manolo to tuck home. Lujic then won and converted a penalty in the 90th minute as the tall forward took back the outright lead in the Golden Boot race from Oakleigh’s Dusan Bosnjak as he looks to secure his fourth successive top goalscorer award.
Oakleigh Cannons 2 (Lovemore 20, Bosnjak 90+3) Melbourne Knights 1 (Andrijasevic 77)
The Oakleigh Cannons recorded their fourth consecutive win after a last gasp winner helped them claim a 2-1 win over the Melbourne Knights at Jack Edwards Reserve on Sunday evening. The home side opened the scoring when Goran Zoric played through Sean Lovemore with the Kiwi guiding his shot past Fraser Chalmers for the opener in his first start for the Cannons after last week’s debut goal. Oakleigh’s attacking culprits had the Knights defence at sixes and sevens for large periods of the half with Chalmers doing well to tip Bosnjak’s free-kick onto the crossbar. The Knights came out of the interval rejuvenated and had a goal disallowed for an offside before James McGarry’s stinging shot smashed off the underside of the crossbar. Substitute Luke Jurcic then teed up skipper Stipo Andrijasevic who took his goal tally to six goals for the season with an instinctive finish inside the box. The Knights were then reduced to ten men when Nikola Jurkovic picked up his second caution for a foul on Bosnjak who was on hand in added time to secure the victory by scoring in his seventh successive fixture and move one to 18 goals for the campaign – one behind leader Lujic.
Bulleen Lions 1 (Kaya pen 85) Northcote City 1 (Crowley 17)
Honours were split even at David Barro Stadium on Monday as the Bullen Lions and Northcote City played out an entertaining 1-1 draw in the round’s second crucial relegation six-pointer. The visitors took the lead early on when Braedyn Crowley continued his good run of form by scoring past Lions custodian Griffin McMaster from a central position for his 11th goal in 13 outings for the club. Dominic Barba’s side suffered a huge blow in the second half when danger men Christian Cavallo and Matteo Ballan departed from the field injured although their replacements Nathan Tidmarsh and Alon Blumgart would have a telling contribution on proceedings as they became integral to the Bulleen fight back. Tidmarsh’s corner was eventually met by the head of Will Abbott whose goal-bound header was handled on the line by Anthony Ramzy who was promptly sent off as Ersin Kaya converted past former teammate Phil Petrovski for a share of the spoils on a night when Melbourne Victory’s fate in the top flight was confirmed as they became the first club to be relegated from the NPL this season.
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