CARLO Melino’s six-year stint as senior coach at Chelsea will end when the final whistle blows for the 2023 season.
Last Friday’s 7-1 home defeat at the hands of a rampaging Baxter outfit had no bearing on the decision as Melino told the club’s board and the players that he will be stepping down a fortnight ago.
“It’s just getting too hard to combine family life and football and I need to be there for my three kids,” Melino said. “I’ve been coaching for the best part of 15 years. “I joined Chelsea at the end of 2017 and although I’m sad to be leaving I’m also excited. “The club was disappointed but I’m proud of what we’ve created here – a proper senior team and a proper culture – and I hope that continues. “I’m taking a full year off and I don’t know when I’ll be back.”
Last Friday night Chelsea became Baxter’s eighth straight victim and Stephen Fisher’s men turned on the style. “It was an emphatic win, easily the best we have played this season,” head coach Fisher said. “It’s all coming together and the team is playing some really entertaining football.
Goalscorers for Fisher’s outfit were Liam Baxter (3), Jack Elliott (2), Izaak Barr and substitute Dylan Murchie. “Izaak scored a cracker – a near post run and header from a Dukic corner,” Fisher added. “It was very satisfying as we had worked on that at training.”
Undermanned Somerville Eagles maintained their unbeaten record with a 1-0 away win over FC Noble Hurricanes on Saturday. Somerville dominated play and struck the decisive blow in the 70th minute. A Tom Simmons cross found substitute Ronnie Krishnan at the far post and his sidefooted volley hit the mark. Both Somerville and Baxter have closed the gap on State 4 South leader White Star Dandenong which drew 1-1 with fourth-placed Sandringham last weekend. This weekend Somerville hosts White Star while Sandringham hosts Baxter.
In NPL2 news a missed penalty and poor defending cost Langwarrin dearly when it lost 3-2 at home to Eastern Lions on Friday night. Langy should have taken the lead in the 39th minute when Tom Youngs was felled inside the area but his conversion attempt was easily saved by Lions custodian Keegan Coulter.
A scoreless first half looked assured until Carter Ramsay nudged Langy central defender Charlie Fry off the ball in time added and as Fry went to ground Ramsay calmly slotted his shot inside the near post for the opener. Archie Macphee levelled in the 58th minute pouncing on a bad pass in defence and coolly finishing past an advancing Coulter. Langy hit the front five minutes later when Jeremy Min Fa cut the ball back from the left of the area for Youngs who poked it inside the far post.
In the 85th minute a second yellow card for Lucas Portelli saw the home side reduced to 10 men and Lions scored twice in a frantic injury time period to snatch an unlikely win. The equaliser came from the head of Jack Kamper with Langy keeper James Burgess desperately trying to get across to his back post and the winner came from Ramsay whose initial shot struck Rogan McGeorge only for the ball to fall back into Ramsay’s path. This time he made no mistake from close range.
In State 1 Mornington can thank star striker Rory Currie for an invaluable three points on Saturday. The Seagulls downed fellow promotion contender South Springvale 1-0 at Warner Reserve. In the 37th minute Currie, Brady Pollard, Rhys Craigie and David Stirton pressed the South Springvale defence and Currie’s poacher’s instinct proved decisive.
Mornington is at home to Casey Comets this weekend but there’s some doubt about the match going ahead.
Comets had to inform players last week of a serious cashflow problem and it’s understood that many senior players along with the coaching staff have left the club.
Mornington has signed Luke Burgess from Comets and the former Langwarrin and Heidelberg United defender is expected to come straight into the matchday squad on Saturday.
In State 2 Peninsula Strikers overwhelmed neighbouring Skye United winning 5-0 at Skye Recreation Reserve on Friday night. Harrison Michaelis didn’t do Skye any favours when he was sent off following bookings in the 7th and 13th minutes. Steve Elliott opened the scoring against the 10 men by heading home a pinpoint Wayne Gordon free-kick in the 20th minute.
Eight minutes later Gordon provided the cross that Riley Anderton converted to make it 2-0 and superb lead-up play from Cooper Andrews in the 40th minute was rewarded when his cross found Ahmad Tabbara who sidefooted home his first goal for Strikers. Skye was well and truly out of the contest after Campbell Steedman slotted home the fourth following an excellent reverse pass from Gordon right on half-time.
Steedman nabbed his brace in the 60th minute and some excellent saves from Skye keeper Jonathan Crook saved the home side from a more embarrassing scoreline.
Frankston Pines lost 4-2 away to Mazenod after giving up a 2-0 lead. Sava Baledrokadroka and Antonio Marcuccio gave Pines the upper hand in the first half but two goals in a minute before the break changed the contest’s momentum. Pines have signed American midfielder Nick Santhiago from Ventura County Fusion and teenage goalkeeper Bryden Plowright. Santhiago has played in the lower divisions in Portugal and Sweden while Plowright has been at Alicante City’s academy in Spain.
In State 5 news Harry McCartney reports that Seaford United gained revenge for its first round loss when it downed Mount Eliza 2-0 at Emil Madsen Reserve on Saturday. Seaford led after Andrew Packer was tripped in the 35th minute and the referee pointed to the spot. Esmat Ehsani struck his conversion attempt straight down the middle for the opener. Five minutes later the home side could have equalised from the penalty spot if not for Hayden Hicks whose full-stretch low save kept the visitors’ lead intact. But Luke Murray sealed Mount Eliza’s fate in the 59th minute when he got an outstretched foot to a Josh Vega volley.
Mentone got back to winning ways with a comfortable 5-1 home win against Barton Utd last weekend. Marcus Spivey’s 18th opener from a free kick was cancelled out two minutes later when Shirazi Nazari pounced on a slip by Alex Mallamaci for an easy finish. Eric Ervine put Mentone back in front in the 48th minute with a right footed close range finish before Spivey flicked the ball over the Barton keeper for his second in the 65th minute. Frankie Varsamis completed an excellent move involving Joe Dunbar, Spivey and Tyler Pollard scoring high into the net on 70 minutes and nabbed his second 10 minutes later to complete the scoring.
Mentone has signed central midfielder Adam Leander from Bayside Argonauts.
High-flying Rosebud’s 3-2 home loss to second-bottom Pakenham United was a surprise result. Noah Musso scored both goals for Rosebud who fell further behind tearaway leader Hampton Park United which has all but secured the title. Musso is now State 5 South’s top scorer.
Mount Martha lost 4-2 away to Bunyip District last weekend with Ethan Sanderson scoring both goals for the visitors.
NEXT WEEK’S GAMES
Friday 16 June, 8.30pm:
Langwarrin v Brunswick City, Lawton Park
Skye Utd v Frankston Pines, Skye Recreation Reserve
Chelsea v Endeavour Utd, Edithvale Recreation Reserve
Saturday 17 June, 3pm:
Mornington v Casey Comets, Dallas Brooks Park
Mooroolbark v Peninsula Strikers, Esther Park Reserve
Somerville v White Star Dandenong, Tyabb Central Reserve
Sandringham v Baxter, Spring Street Oval
Aspendale v Mount Eliza, Aspendale Gardens Sports Ground
Mount Martha v Hampton Park Utd, Civic Reserve
Seaford Utd v Pakenham Utd, North Seaford Reserve
Saturday 17 June, 6.30pm:
Rosebud v Mentone, Olympic Park