THE friendship between Aaran Currie and Liam Baxter played a major part in reuniting their striking partnership last week.
It led Currie to drop from State 2 to State 4 level quitting Frankston Pines and heading to Baxter Park.
Currie, whose CV includes spells at Langwarrin, St Albans Saints, Peninsula Strikers and Casey Comets joined Pines last year and along with teammate Baxter formed part of a formidable strike force that helped win promotion from State 3.
Baxter was Pines’ leading scorer but left at the end of the season.
Currie’s decision to leave Monterey Reserve last week caught the coaching staff and committee by surprise.
He sent a text message to Pines head coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor and told him that he wasn’t enjoying his football and wanted a change.
“I’m disappointed to lose him but I understand enjoyment is a massive part of playing,” Taylor said.
“You have to enjoy yourself or it becomes a chore.”
Currie made his debut for his new club in Baxter’s 2-1 home win on Saturday over Keysborough.
After going behind early in the second half Brodie Jones levelled with a superb header from a Liam Baxter corner in the 52nd minute but the home side had to wait until the 92nd minute for the winner.
That was when Keegan Myatt scored a “belter” after being put through by Aleks Dukic and although Keysborough keeper Max Krista got a hand to Myatt’s left-foot strike it still thundered into the net.
In other State 4 clashes Somerville drew 0-0 away to Sandown Lions in a fiery clash last weekend.
Josh Simmons was sent off in a match marred by player clashes and Somerville claims that a match steward struck senior coach Adam Steele.
There was no such drama at Spring Street Reserve where Sandringham overwhelmed Chelsea winning 5-0.
“Sandringham are a good team probably the best we’ve played,” Chelsea gaffer Carlo Melino said.
“They’re strong, well-structured and play really good football.”
In NPL2 Langwarrin had mixed fortunes after an excellent 2-1 away with over Kingston City early last week.
On Saturday at Lawton Park Langy lost 2-1 to 10-man Northcote who had Josh Knight shown a straight red in the first half.
Brad Blumenthal put Langy ahead in the 57th minute but a Sam Warde double – from a superb free-kick in the 77th minute and a gift from Langy’s Tristan Meaker in the 80th minute – gave the undermanned visitors a come-from-behind win.
In State 1 the top-of-the-table clash between Mornington and Malvern City at Dallas Brooks Park ended in a scoreless draw.
The result left Mornington second on the ladder equal on points with leader Eltham.
Mornington’s next three fixtures are away to FC Melbourne SRBIJA, away to South Springvale and at home against Casey Comets – a run of matches that could prove season-defining.
In State 2 Peninsula Strikers drew 2-2 at home to Brandon Park, Skye United drew 2-2 away to Berwick City while Pines were hammered 5-0 at home by Knox City.
Strikers led after 12 minutes through a pinpoint Wayne Gordon cross that Huss Chehimi headed home.
Six minutes later Brandon Park equalised after a nice interchange saw the ball laid off for a tidy finish from Rasmus Juul.
The second half developed into an arm wrestle and in the 86th minute the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Stephen Tonios was sent off for a second yellow after an exchange with Andrew Goff.
Strikers pushed to steal a winner but Calvin Delaney gave the ball away and Tommy Stanisavljevic made it 2-1 in the 92nd minute for what looked a likely decider.
But two minutes later Riley Anderton made a superb run in between the central defenders and onto Mo Chehimi’s flick to cooly slot home an equaliser.
Skye notched its fifth draw of the season at Berwick on Saturday.
The home side led at the interval but Jason Nowakowski levelled a minute into the second half with a header from a Nham Than cross.
Skye substitute Mitch Blake put the visitors ahead momentarily in the 83rd minute when he bundled the ball over the line but a minute later Angelo Rovegno Agama grabbed a point for Berwick.
At Monterey Reserve former Langwarrin player Ray Markley had a day out at Pines’ expense with a hat-trick.
Pines were poor up front, poor in midfield and shaky at the back where keeper Colby Jones looked uncertain at times.
Things won’t get any easier for the local side when it squares up to Brandon Park on Saturday but Joey O’Connor and Anish Khem should be back from injury.
Pines head coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor is hopeful that an international transfer certificate can be arranged for a Fijian player while star striker Dylan Waugh may be available next month after being absent through work commitments.
The big news in State 5 was the abandonment of the Barton v Mount Eliza match on Saturday.
Jordan Vacouftsis of Mount Eliza was taken to hospital after an off-the-ball incident that sparked an all-in brawl and Vacouftsis remained in hospital as we went to press.
There is video of the incident and it’s understood that Football Victoria and Victoria Police are investigating while some State 5 clubs are already considering boycotting Barton games.
In other State 5 news Aspendale got back to winning ways on Saturday with a 3-0 home win over Mount Martha.
A marauding first-half run from Dom Paul on the left enabled him to cut the ball back into the path of Kieran Hughes for the opener.
In the 63rd minute Paul was brought down inside the area and Hughes converted from the spot and the returning Jared Kilmartin completed the scoreline eight minutes later with a looping shot into the top corner.
Mentone won a hard-fought away match 2-1 against Casey Panthers last weekend.
A rash challenge by Kogulan Sabaratnam in the 8th minute allowed Casey to take the lead from the penalty spot.
Mentone levelled in the 58th minute when Dylan Taylor followed up on Marcus Spivey’s saved penalty. Spivey made amends with the winner in the 79th minute controlling a free-kick from Tyler Pollard and drilling the ball home.
Seaford United made the trip to Heatherbrae Reserve worthwhile on Saturday when it beat Bunyip District 3-2.
Harry McCartney reports that Seaford took the lead in the 8th minute when a poor clearance from Bunyip was struck sweetly first time by Aaron Vega and cannoned into the top left corner.
Vega’s brother Josh made it 2-0 in the 20th minute but a controversial penalty in the 38th minute gave the home side hope.
Cory Osorio restored Seaford’s two-goal cushion in the 55th minute when he was on the end of a slick interchange movement for an easy tap-in.
The home side linesman played a pivotal role in a second penalty awarded in the 83rd minute and although this too was converted Seaford ran out a deserved winner.
NEXT WEEK’S GAMES
Friday 2 June, 8.30pm:
Chelsea v White Star Dandenong, Edithvale Recreation Reserve
Saturday 3 June, 3pm:
Langwarrin v Bulleen, Lawton Park
Peninsula Strikers v Hampton East Brighton, Centenary Park
Frankston Pines v Brandon Park, Monterey Reserve
Knox City v Skye Utd, Egan Lee Reserve
Somerville Eagles v Sandringham, Tyabb Central Reserve
Mount Eliza v Rosebud, Emil Madsen Reserve
Aspendale v Bunyip District, Jack Grut Reserve
Hampton Park Utd v Mentone, KM Reedy Reserve
Casey Panthers v Mount Martha, Prospect Hill Reserve
Saturday 3 June, 5pm:
Springvale City v Baxter, Ross Reserve
Saturday 3 June, 6.15pm:
FC Melbourne SRBIJA v Mornington, Kevin Bartlett Reserve
Seaford Utd BYE