BAXTER triumphed in a nine-goal thriller against local rival Somerville Eagles at Tyabb Central Reserve on Saturday.
One of the games of the season had spectators spellbound as the visitors recovered from a two-goal deficit to win 5-4 and clinch the inaugural Eagles Cup, which will be contested each time these sides clash in the league.
Football Victoria CEO Kimon Taliadoros witnessed the gripping contest and presented the Cup to Baxter captain James Foster along with a trophy struck by FV especially for the occasion.
Taliadoros had just watched a battle with wild momentum shifts and stunning goals.
Here’s how the action unfolded.
19th minute: Bryce Ruthven’s free kick from the right to the far post is headed back across goal by Zach Karolidis to Dave Greening whose side-foot volley from close range puts Somerville 1-0 up.
22nd: Somerville assistant coach Stan Packer is left yelling at his players over slack marking that allows Charlie Parker to level with a low shot into the far corner.
25th: Luke Grant loses possession inside Baxter’s defensive third presenting Naseer Mohammad with a gift that he gladly accepts and the home team is back in front.
34th: A bizarre moment where a blatant handball to block a Nat Daher header right in front is unpunished then seconds later Jack Elliott goes for a low header and a wild swinging boot has referee Charlie Dass ruling dangerous play and pointing to the penalty spot. Grant redeems himself with ease and it’s 2-2.
46th: In the first minute of time added in the first half another Ruthven free kick, this time from the left, sees Karolidis head the ball down and it bounces up and off the crossbar only for Greening to volley over.
While half-time allowed players and spectators alike to catch their breath it didn’t take long for the action to heat up again.
47th: Greening sets up Conor Mcfall whose neat finish gives Foster no chance and restores Somerville’s lead.
50th: One of the reasons Greening’s goals are the stuff of legend is because of his ability to think quickly and act decisively. Pressure from Karolidis forces a poor clearance. Greening spots Foster off his line and from long range strikes a superb shot over the stranded keeper and into the unguarded goal to make it 4-2.
57th: A cracking left-foot drive from Ben Meiklem gives Somerville keeper Nathan Brown no chance and suddenly Baxter has a lifeline.
74th: Let Lachie McMinimee free at your peril. Daher sets up McMinimee down the left and he slips the ball under Brown for the leveller.
84th: The moment that won the match. Baxter substitute Niko Juric drives his free-kick on the right to the back post and big Matt McDermott’s header is decisive.
In other State 4 games Seaford United drew 2-2 at home against Keysborough while Chelsea went down 3-1 away to Springvale City.
Seaford’s star striker Dylan Waugh returned from suspension and scored both of his side’s goals, the second from the penalty spot.
Despite the dropped points Seaford is now unbeaten after nine rounds of the season and is second in the league but this Saturday it is away to champion elect Noble Park United which thrashed promotion contender Sandown Lions 6-0 last weekend.
In NPL2 news Langwarrin defender Vojo Milojevic and striker John Maclean have signed with State 1 North-West side Fitzroy City.
Langy had to settle for a point last weekend when it drew 0-0 at Lawton Park with Kingston City.
In State 2 news Skye United beat Peninsula Strikers 3-2 in Friday night’s derby at Skye Recreation Reserve.
Mark O’Connor put the hosts in front in the 23rd minute following up a Jack Gallagher shot that Strikers second string keeper Caleb Phillips, deputising for injured Robbie Acs, could only push wide and O’Connor finished easily.
Then O’Connor set up Jason Nowakowski in the 40th minute who made it 2-0 from the right edge of the box with a shot across the keeper and inside the far post.
But Ben Doree struck from the restart when he broke into a one-on-one and rounded Skye keeper Jonathan Crook then calmly struck the ball past Billy Painting on the line.
Ten minutes into the second half Doree’s pace got him clear again to make it 2-2.
The winner came in the 60th minute when left-back John Andrinopoulos cut the ball across the face of goal and Mitch Blake’s low shot beat Phillips at his near post.
Harrison Michaelis returned to Skye last week and was in the starting line-up.
Skye’s depth has been tested recently with injuries to Caleb Nicholes, Daniel Attard, Dean Piemonte, Alex Rojas and Daniel Walsh while Travis Ernsdoerfer has joined State 5 side Casey Panthers.
“I wasn’t really enjoying football in the higher leagues so I’d rather drop down and enjoy my time for the rest of the year,” Ernsdoerfer said.
Nicholes and Walsh came off the bench in the second half against Strikers while Piemonte and Rojas are expected to return to full training this week and Attard (calf) is probably a fortnight away.
In State 3 Frankston Pines have signed former Langwarrin and Doveton midfielder Brandon Giles and continued their march towards the title with a 5-2 home win over Diamond Valley United last weekend.
A Joe O’Connor hat-trick, his first for the club, and a double from CJ Hodgson took care of business.
Rosebud was the only local State 5 club to win last weekend beating Bunyip District 2-1 while Aspendale Stingrays lost 3-2 to Mentone who scored twice in the last minute and Mount Martha went down 2-1 at home to South East United.
Rosebud’s Stef Papaluca returned from a two-week suspension only to be sent off nine minutes into the clash at Bunyip but Dougie Cunnison scored from the penalty spot after Cory Osorio had been fouled and the 10 men led 1-0 at half-time.
A Liam Lenders’ header in the 77th minute made it 1-1 but a through ball from Rosebud player-coach Mark Pagliarulo allowed Chris Parry to chip advancing Bunyip keeper Dimitri Sougioultzis for the winner in the 83rd minute.
NEXT WEEK’S GAMES
Friday 28 May, 8.30pm:
Monbulk Rangers v Peninsula Strikers – Monbulk Regional Soccer Facility
Chelsea v Dingley Stars – Edithvale Recreation Reserve
Saturday 29 May, 3pm:
Brunswick City v Langwarrin – Dunstan Reserve
Malvern City v Mornington – Kooyong Park
Berwick City v Skye Utd – Jack Thomas Reserve
Monash Uni v Frankston Pines – Monash Uni Playing Fields (Pitch 1)
Baxter v Springvale City – Baxter Park
Keysborough v Somerville Eagles – Coomoora Reserve
Noble Park Utd v Seaford Utd – Parkfield Reserve
Mount Martha v Aspendale Stingrays – Civic Reserve
Knox Utd v Rosebud – Park Ridge Reserve