MORNINGTON’S 2022 league season hangs in the balance and its fate is not in its own hands.
With just two rounds remaining the Seagulls must win both matches and hope other results go their way if they are to realise a long-held ambition of playing in the NPL.
As things stand Malvern City tops the State 1 South-East ladder on 44 points, Beaumaris is second on 42, Boroondara-Carey Eagles third on 41 and Mornington fourth on 40 with the first two teams expected to be offered places in NPL3 next season.
While Malvern and Boroondara-Carey clash this weekend Beaumaris is at home to already relegated Mazenod which has not won a game.
Mornington must beat Eltham Redbacks on Saturday to set up a potential winner-takes-all clash with Beaumaris at Beaumaris Reserve in the final round of the season.
It ticked one item off its wish list last weekend when it won its catch-up round home clash with Warragul United 2-0.
However the Dallas Brooks surface was in poor condition for Saturday’s important clash and contributed to a very scrappy affair.
The first half was a battle with both sides having a couple of half-chances which forced decent saves from both keepers.
However Mornington seemed to lift in the second half and its dominance paid off when a low Luke Goulding cross found Josh Hine and as he went to his knees the ball hit him in the midriff and trickled into the corner of goal.
That was in the 53rd minute and 15 minutes later a great ball over the top from substitute David Stirton set Hine free and he made no mistake to give the home side breathing space.
Mornington was unlucky not to increase its 2-0 lead with its best chance falling to another substitute, Taylan Geylan, who forced Warragul keeper Aidan Riley into a superb fingertip save onto the post late in the contest.
In State 2 Mooroolbark’s 2-1 loss away to Heatherton United last weekend means that with two games to play both Peninsula Strikers and Skye United can get promoted this season.
Collingwood City already has one hand on the championship pennant but the race for second sees Mooroolbark on 37 points, Strikers on 36, Old Scotch 35, Skye 34, Doncaster Rovers 34 and Knox 32.
Strikers are at home to Heatherton then away to Doncaster Rovers while Skye has home games against Brandon Park and Collingwood City.
Football Victoria had not published the round 22 fixtures and dates as we went to press given that North Caulfield, a Jewish-backed club, plays on Sundays and there has been a strong push over the years for the final round of matches to be played on the same date with the same kick-off times so as not to disadvantage any of the clubs participating.
In State 4 South Somerville Eagles lost 2-1 to Endeavour United in their catch-up fixture on Saturday at Truemans Road Reserve.
It was Adam Steele’s first game as caretaker coach after the Somerville technical director stepped into the senior role vacated recently by Lee Barber.
Somerville came out firing against Endeavour with a few early chances and got lucky when an Adrian Pace cross in the 5th minute took a deflection and left Endeavour keeper Franc Marateo helpless.
The local side led 1-0 at half-time and thought it had gone further ahead in the second half when a Conor Mcfall free-kick was met by Pace at the back post but his side-foot volley hit the upright and stayed out of the net.
That was the wake-up call Endeavour needed and in the 70th minute Takunda Chisi left Sam Beadle for dead with some great footwork before striking a low shot past Somerville keeper Nic Bucello to make it 1-1.
Somerville was tiring and Endeavour went for the knockout blow.
With 10 minutes to go veteran striker Matty Durand brought down a long throw into the box turning Craig Dawson superbly before smashing his shot into the net for the winner.
In State 5 Mentone beat Aspendale 2-0 on a wet Friday night in their catch-up clash at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.
This local derby started at a frenetic pace with Mentone looking stronger and taking the lead in the 24th minute thanks to Tyler Pollard’s lob from just outside the box evading the reach of Aspendale keeper Josh Mravljak.
Aspendale started the second half strongly and had plenty of possession but couldn’t change the scoreline.
Mentone struck a decisive blow in the 75th minute when Kogulan Sabaratnam scored with a scrambled effort inside the six-yard box following a corner effectively putting the contest out of Aspendale’s reach.
NEXT WEEK’S GAMES
Saturday 13 August, 3pm:
Brunswick City v Langwarrin – Dunstan Reserve
Mornington v Eltham Redbacks – Dallas Brooks Park
Skye Utd v Brandon Park – Skye Recreation Reserve
Frankston Pines v Rowville Eagles – Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve
Baxter v Noble Park – Baxter Park
Somerville Eagles v Dandenong South – Tyabb Central Reserve
Aspendale v Barton Utd – Aspendale Gardens Sports Ground
Mount Martha v Mentone – Civic Reserve
Rosebud – Bye
Saturday 13 August, 5pm:
Springvale City v Chelsea – Ross Reserve
Saturday 13 August, 7pm:
Peninsula Strikers v Heatherton Utd – Ballam Park