WHEN the final whistle blew in Saturday’s State 1 clash at Comets Stadium visitor Mornington marched off the pitch with eight men and three points in a remarkable result.
Club president Matt Cameron described the 1-0 scoreline as “one of the greatest wins in the club’s history”.
But that was furthest from his mind in the 15th minute when referee Vince Turcarolo courted controversy with a straight red for Mornington midfielder Rhys Craigie after a challenge on Comets keeper Lajos Hun.
Ten minutes later the 10 men took the lead.
A superb interpassing move involving Rory Currie, Brady Pollard, Ziggy Razuki and Danny Brooks found Shaun Kenny who had made a well-timed run into the box before an excellent finish into the bottom corner.
As the second half unfolded it became increasingly clear that Comets had trouble opening up their opponent.
Then referee Turcarolo again became a pivotal character.
He sent off Brooks for a second caution in the 70th minute after the midfielder appeared to have been fouled yet was deemed to be the transgressor.
Ten minutes later Mornington defender Josh Heaton was shown a straight red for abusive language.
Yet despite its pronounced numerical advantage Comets couldn’t break the resolve and organisation of Mornington’s defensive wall and the final whistle heralded a memorable moment of triumph for the men from the peninsula.
In NPL2 news Langwarrin ended five weeks on the road in a blaze of glory by defeating Pascoe Vale 4-1 on Friday night and claiming top spot on the ladder.
Langy led in the 9th minute after a superb ball from Josh Varga in behind the defence enabled Brad Blumenthal to control and finish from a one-on-one with home side keeper Alex Pavlidis.
Pascoe Vale was reduced to 10 men in the 23rd minute after a second bad tackle on Blumenthal who had to be replaced by Tristan Meaker.
The substitute had a hand in Langy’s second in first-half time added when his cross found Archie Macphee for a tap-in.
Langy extended its 2-0 half-time lead in the 58th minute when Lenny Gregory played the ball wide to Luke Goulding and his cross was finished by Meaker from close range.
Pascoe Vale pulled a goal back three minutes later but Langy substitute Jacob Brito scored the goal of the game in the 88th minute.
He won the ball in midfield and skipped past three opponents then exchanged passes with Gregory before unleashing a left-foot strike from the edge of the area to complete an emphatic victory.
In State 2 news Peninsula Strikers enjoyed a 2-1 home win over a Mooroolbark side that fancies its chances this season.
Nathan Tsimis could have given Strikers a half-time lead but his left-foot shot was deflected for a corner and the visitors took the upper hand in the 63rd minute with a long inswinging corner dipping late and going in at the back post.
Strikers hit back with two goals in two minutes.
The Barkers failed to defend from a corner in the 70th minute and Andy McIntyre was at the far post to volley home for the equaliser.
The winner was engineered by the brilliance of Cooper Andrews who went past three opponents before delivering an inch-perfect cross for Campbell Steedman to sweep home into the far bottom corner.
The contest ended on a sour note in injury time for Strikers when substitute Moey Chehimi received two cautions within seconds of each other the first for handling and the second for blocking the resultant free-kick.
On Friday night the 10 men of Frankston Pines earned a 1-1 draw with visitor Skye United at Monterey Reserve.
Pines keeper Colby Jones was red carded in the 25th minute when he charged outside his area and scythed down Lewis Gibson with a poorly timed challenge.
From the resultant free-kick Skye veteran Mark O’Connor beat Pines’ second string keeper Pabel Rivera low down at his near post.
Pines were superb for long periods of this contest and their moment came in the 87th minute when a corner struck Skye defender Brett Heskins and went in.
In State 4 news a melee forced an early end to the 2-2 draw between White Star Dandenong and visitors Somerville Eagles on Friday night.
Somerville keeper Nick Bucello’s brilliant penalty save early in the contest kept the home side at bay until the 34th minute when White Star got in behind the visitors’ defence and Joel Bowen was given a simple finish.
Two minutes later Marcus Anastasiou smashed the ball home to make it 1-1.
White Star regained the lead in the 47th minute when an excellent far post cross was headed home by Michael Bowen.
In the 74th minute Somerville hit the home side on the break with a Joe Simmons’ half volley rounding off the scoreline.
White Star’s frustrations spilled over two minutes later and Burak Baydar was sent off after clashing with Tom Simmons.
A Nick Simmons foul late in the contest sparked ugly scenes involving coaches, players and spectators and it’s believed that a report has been sent to Football Victoria for further investigation.
Baxter’s disappointing start to the season continued with a 2-1 loss to Sandringham at Baxter Park last weekend.
Sandringham led at half-time thanks to a pinpoint Sam Ghobrial cross from the left and a firm Will Hampson header at the far post.
The contest reached flashpoint after a melee in the 65th minute which resulted in a red card for Baxter midfielder Damien Miskulin.
But the home side hit back in the 75th minute after substitute Alex Piasentin got clear on the right and his low ball in behind the defence was struck first time by the incoming Aleks Dukic.
Five minutes later the euphoria of local fans ended abruptly when Sandringham’s Marcelo Burges chipped the ball back from the right and substitute Vasilios Natsioulas headed home a deserved winner.
Chelsea earned a second point away from home when it drew 2-2 with Endeavour United at Reema Reserve on Saturday.
Both Chelsea goals came in the first half the first from Diego Herrera with a low left-foot shot that beat Endeavour keeper Franc Marateo at his near post and the second from the spot by Adam Bartosy after Vinnie Van Dyk had been brought down inside the area.
In State 5 news Rosebud is on top of the ladder after downing Mentone 3-0 at Mentone Grammar last weekend.
Dougie Cunnison put the visitors 1-0 up in the 3rd minute with a beautifully timed low half-volley from just outside the area.
Hamish Preston was deputising for suspended Rosebud keeper Colin McCormack and he made some fine reflex saves before Luka Varga and good luck combined to make it 2-0 in the 54th minute and the contest was settled in the 64th minute with a Joe Donnelly goal.
Seaford thumped Pakenham United 9-0 at IYU Reserve thanks to goals from Josh Vega (3), Cory Osorio (2), Blake Hicks, Chris Moreel, Daniel Mota and Uchenna Ikogwe.
Mount Eliza’s first home game in State League didn’t go to script when Aspendale won 3-1 on Saturday.
Aspendale hit the front when new signing and ex-Beaumaris player Gianluca Bozzo thumped the ball into the roof of the net in the 18th minute.
Mount Eliza player-coach Bryce Ruthven hit back with a free kick in the 33rd minute that levelled the scores but Kieran Hughes restored the visitor’s lead in the 52nd minute and a wonder strike from substitute Felix Hampson a minute into time added sealed the deal.
Mount Martha’s flirtation with top spot on the ladder ended abruptly when it lost 5-0 away to Hampton Park United.
In Australia Cup news the round 4 ties involving the four local clubs remaining in the national competition have been confirmed.
On Wednesday 5 April Frankston Pines v St Albans, Monterey Reserve, 7.30pm and Skye United v Glenroy Lions, Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve, 7.30pm.
On Saturday 8 April (the Easter weekend) FC Clifton Hill v Mornington, Quarries Park, 3pm and on Tuesday 11 April Brandon Park v Langwarrin, Lawton Park, 7.30pm.
NEXT WEEK’S GAMES
Friday 31 March, 8.30pm:
Chelsea v Lyndale Utd, Edithvale Recreation Reserve
White Star Dandenong v Baxter, Greaves Reserve
Friday 31 March, 8.45pm:
Mornington v Bentleigh Utd Cobras, Dallas Brooks Park
Saturday 1 April, 3pm:
Langwarrin v Preston Lions, Lawton Park
Mazenod v Peninsula Strikers, Brandon Park Reserve
Hampton East Brighton v Frankston Pines, Dendy Park
Brandon Park v Skye Utd, Freeway Reserve
Somerville Eagles v Noble Park, Tyabb Central Reserve
Seaford Utd v Mentone, North Seaford Reserve
Mount Eliza v Bunyip District, Emil Madsen Reserve
Aspendale v Pakenham Utd, Jack Grut Reserve
Saturday 1 April, 6.30pm:
Rosebud v Casey Panthers, Olympic Park
Mount Martha BYE