PENINSULA Strikers and Frankston Pines dipped into the transfer market last week with six players joining the State 2 rivals.
Strikers signed forward Wayne “Buzzer” Gordon from NPL3 outfit Doveton, goalkeeper Faraz Zenoozi from Queensland side Souths United and defender and ex-Strikers player Deniz Karabadjak from Pines.
“I wanted to sign ‘Buzzer’ during the off-season as his leadership and qualities on the pitch are still there,” Strikers’ gaffer Scott Morrison said.
“Faraz is a great signing for us.
“He goes about it in a professional manner and will challenge Ben (Caballero) and ‘Browny’ (Nathan Brown) for the number one spot.
“Deniz contacted me about coming back. He is a top lad around the group and gives us another strong option at the back.”
However Strikers lost 2-1 away to Doncaster Rovers last Friday night.
A superb sidefoot volley from Gordon made it 1-1 in the first half but a bizarre winner proved the visitors’ undoing when Doncaster’s Michael Papanicolaou’s clearance sailed over Caballero’s head in the 81st minute.
Strikers’ substitute Cassius Delaney missed a golden opportunity to equalise in the 92nd minute.
Pines’ fared far better recording a first win of the season by downing Heatherton United 2-1 at Monterey Reserve on Saturday.
Head coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor had been busy leading into the clash signing midfielder Ben Lund from Beaumaris, defender Dean Panayiotou from Gippsland United and welcoming back midfielder Sava Baledrokadroka from Beaumaris.
Lund had a superb debut as a holding midfielder, Panayiotou did well as a second-half substitute while Baledrokadroka wasn’t cleared in time but will be available this week.
Kaspar Fry’s pace enabled him to poke the ball past Heatherton keeper Kadir Andac in the 24th minute.
Ali Sanad levelled in the 61st minute with a goal of Maradona-esque proportion in its audacity and execution.
In the blink of an eye he palmed the ball past Massimo Torre then slotted it home.
But this time the football gods smiled favourably on the home side and in one of the contest’s great ironies former Pines player Mirza Pedic stood transfixed at the back post as an inswinging corner from Aaran Currie in the 78th minute missed all comers only to bounce off Pedic’s shin and into goal.
In other State 2 news Skye United bounced back from the previous week’s reversal to beat North Caulfield 3-2 at home last Thursday night.
In a remarkable show of faith senior coach Phil McGuinness fielded the same starting line-up that had been thumped by Mooroolbark 7-0 five days earlier.
Skye striker Mitch Blake opened the scoring after 10 minutes when he blasted the ball home following a long throw-in from Marcus Collier.
Ten minutes later Nhan Than made it 2-0 when his long range finish caught out North Caulfield keeper Jake Hudson-Thompson.
Skye counterpart Jonathan Crook pulled off a string of saves before half-time to ensure the hosts held their two-goal advantage.
In the 55th minute Collier cleverly played the ball forward and Leo McLeod’s first-time effort found the back of the net to make it 3-0.
The visitors then clawed their way back into the game with Daniel Sacks scoring from the spot and from a direct free-kick in injury time to ensure a nervy finish but the hosts held on.
In NPL2 Langwarrin got back to winning ways with a 3-2 triumph over Werribee City at Lawton Park on Friday night.
Langy started well but Werribee took the lead after 14 minutes through a powerful shot from Mark Kurita.
But the home side took control in the second half and hit back hard.
Josh Varga hit the post early in the half then Langy equalised after some good build-up play found Tom Youngs on the left who floated a cross to Brad Blumenthal at the far post for a headed goal after 61 minutes.
Five minutes later Blumenthal rocketed home his second from 10 metres and in the 76th minute Youngs gave Langy breathing space with a converted penalty after he was upended in the box.
The last 15 minutes were comfortable for the home side until Werribee’s Daniel Petrov scored a header from a free-kick in the final minute.
In State 1 Mornington lost top spot when it drew 1-1 at home against Gippsland United on Saturday.
Travis Chalk-Hatton broke the deadlock in the 59th minute when a far post cross from Ziggy Razuki was headed down by Josh Heaton for Chalk-Hatton to tuck away.
The visitors equalised 10 minutes later with a superb finish from Samuel Gatpan and Gippsland keeper Aidan Riley denied David Stirton from grabbing the winner with a great save late in the contest.
In State 4 Somerville maintained its unbeaten record but had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home against Springvale City last weekend.
A sliced clearance from Ben Schmidt in the 35th minute sent Springvale striker Tito Vodowaqa through and he converted easily.
Somerville dominated much of this contest but had to wait until the 89th minute when a Rannesh Krishnan cross was brought down by Marcus Anastasiou and prodded home for the equaliser.
Somerville nearly stole all three points with the last kick of the game when a Conor Mcfall free-kick found Nick Simmons who failed to get his free header on target.
Baxter moved into the top half of the table with a comprehensive 5-2 win over Sandown Lions at Baxter Park on Saturday.
Despite going in 1-0 down at the interval Baxter overwhelmed its opponent with five second-half goals – three from Liam Baxter and two from Keegan Myatt.
A feature of the game was Aiden McKenna’s appearance in goal due to the unavailability of regular number one Jarrod Nardino who should return this week.
Chelsea has Dylan Scott to thank for its 1-0 away win over Keysborough on Saturday.
In the 94th minute Scott stole the show with an attempted cross from 30 metres out on the right that eluded Keysborough keeper Max Krista for the winner.
In State 5 Harry McCartney reports that Rosebud and Seaford United shared the spoils after their 2-2 draw at Olympic Park on Saturday evening.
Rosebud went ahead in the fourth minute when Dougie Cunnison converted from the spot but nine minutes later a defensive error allowed Seaford’s Jonas Taberner to round an opponent then strike the ball home for the equaliser.
It didn’t take long for the home side to restore the lead when Jakob Markulin’s volley beat Hayden Hicks in the 16th minute.
In the 72nd minute the final goal in this keenly contested derby came from Seaford 15-year-old Abraham Lueth who headed home from a long floating free-kick from Esmat Ehsani.
Late in the game veteran defender Cunnison was sent off for offensive language after receiving two cautions in quick succession.
Mount Martha won 4-0 at home against struggling Pakenham United with three goals in the first 24 minutes giving the visitors a mountain to climb.
The opener came after two minutes when Pakenham keeper Daniel Smit fumbled a Mitch Hawkins free-kick from the left and the ball went in.
In the 18th minute Eli Masterson finished off an excellent run down the left by Jaden Tabener and the provider became scorer six minutes later after a clever one-two with Anton Beeby on the edge of the box.
Beeby completed the scoreline in the 62nd minute when he tucked away the rebound following a Hawkins’ shot.
Mentone had a 2-0 away win over Mount Eliza last weekend.
Tyler Pollard gave the visitors the perfect start after five minutes with a fine low strike.
Mentone passed up numerous opportunities to add to the lead and had to wait until the 87th minute when Frankie Varsamis controlled an excellent long pass from debutant goalkeeper Quinn Carter and made no mistake beating new Mount Eliza keeper Enzo Rosenblum (signed from Pines) with a sidefoot finish.
Aspendale maintained its title push with a 3-1 away win over Barton United despite the appointed referee not turning up with no explanation from Football Victoria.
A Gianluca Bozzo hat-trick decided the outcome and the home side was already 3-0 down when a long-range effort provided some consolation.
NEXT WEEK’S GAMES
Friday 12 May, 8.30pm:
Brunswick Juventus v Langwarrin, CB Smith Reserve
Doncaster Rovers v Frankston Pines, Anderson Park
Chelsea v Springvale City, Edithvale Recreation Reserve
FC Noble Hurricanes v Baxter, Alex Nelson Reserve
Saturday 13 May, 3pm:
Eltham Redbacks v Mornington, Eltham North Reserve
Peninsula Strikers v Berwick City, Centenary Park
Lyndale Utd v Somerville Eagles, Lyndale Secondary College
Aspendale v Rosebud, Jack Grut Reserve
Seaford Utd v Mount Martha, North Seaford Reserve
Mentone v Pakenham Utd, Mentone Grammar
Casey Panthers v Mount Eliza, Prospect Hill Reserve
Saturday 13 May, 7pm:
Heatherton Utd v Skye Utd, Bosnia and Herzegovina Centre
Tuesday 9 May, 7.30pm:
Skye Utd v Yarraville Glory, Skye Recreation Reserve