A DAVID Stirton brace and a Rhys Craigie strike kept Mornington’s State 1 promotion push on track last weekend. Adam Jamieson’s men came away from Victory Park with a 3-0 win over hosts Bentleigh United Cobras to sit second on the table a point behind leader Melbourne City. Stirton’s goals gave the Seagulls a handy half-time lead. His first was in the 33rd minute when his cross from the left sailed over the head of Bentleigh keeper Rahul Ramkumar. Just before the break Satoshi Kurakawa’s cutback was miscued by Adam Hester into Stirton’s path and he sent Ramkumar the wrong way.
The final say in this clash fell to Craigie right on full time finishing off Kane Bentley’s square ball from the left with a low shot. The Seagulls’ top scorer Rory Currie missed the match as he recovers from a calf injury that looks likely to sideline him for another week or two.
Mornington head coach Adam Jamieson was pleased with the performance while recognising that there’s a way to go yet if the club’s NPL aim can be realised. “We played some really good football but we’ve still got eight games to go so we need to make sure that when we get down to the last three or four games we’re still up there,” he said. “We’re pushing as hard as we can. “I’m really pleased that we picked up Luke Burgess (from Casey Comets) and we’re speaking to a couple of others.” That includes a number two keeper as Fraser Maclaren has returned to former club Beaumaris.
The main focus of attention last weekend was on the promotion race in State 4 with Somerville in second spot going into its clash with Noble Park while Baxter was fourth and squaring up to league leader White Star Dandenong. Somerville’s 2-1 win kept it in second but Baxter slipped further behind the pacesetter losing 1-0 to White Star. Somerville dominated Saturday’s clash and missed multiple opportunities in both halves. The visitors went 1-0 up in the 12th minute when Conor Mcfall’s free-kick was headed home by Xavier Apela.
In the 41st minute Apela struck again when he evaded the offside trap and rounded Noble Park keeper Bobby Pejkovic before stroking the ball into the empty net. Despite the home side capitalising on a quick counter-attack in the 65th minute it couldn’t make any more headway while Somerville should have put the contest to bed but couldn’t convert.
Baxter lost its second game in a row to a top four side and is now 10 points behind White Star.
It was a gripping contest at Baxter Park where the home side’s custodian Jarrod Nardino was outstanding making a series of one-on-one saves and unlucky with the only goal that split these sides. Liam Baxter should have put the home side ahead early in the second half but his penalty attempt was saved by White Star keeper Andrea Stoilovic. The decisive moment came in the 79th minute. Nardino did well to parry an initial shot but the ball fell to Said Uygur who took a touch before slamming it past Nardino from close range.
Despite defeat Baxter finally “unleashed the beast” in midfielder Brody Taylor who has been quietly building his match fitness in the reserves with little fanfare. Taylor, 27, may have the most impressive CV in State 4. He was just 19 when he joined Melbourne Knights from northern NSW side Edgeworth Eagles in December 2017. He joined Bentleigh Greens midway through the 2018 season and featured in their 2-0 Dockerty Cup win over Green Gully. Taylor returned to Edgeworth in 2019 before returning to Victoria for a stint with Port Melbourne that same year. Described by Baxter boss Stephen Fisher as “a ball-winning beast” he’ll be right in his element in the cauldron-like atmosphere of this weekend’s derby showdown with Somerville.
In NPL2 news Langwarrin recorded back-to-back wins after Saturday’s 3-1 success over bottom side Pascoe Vale at Lawton Park. Four minutes in and a cracking strike from Tom Youngs into the top far corner made it 1-0. Jeremy Min Fa’s persistence made it 2-0 in the 59th minute after he pressured his opponents to win possession and although Pascoe Vale keeper Alex Pavlidis got a hand to Min Fa’s shot he couldn’t take enough pace off the ball which rolled into the open goal.
Langy was cruising in the 85th minute after a sweeping interpassing move down the right ending with a Luke Goulding cutback and a clinical James Kelly sidefoot finish. Aydin Mustedanagic’s cultured left foot curled the ball over Langy keeper James Burgess two minutes later but by then it was game over.
In State 2 news all three local sides lost last weekend.
Peninsula Strikers went down 3-0 away to league leader Mazenod, Skye United lost 2-1 at home to Brandon Park while Pines went down 2-1 at home to Hampton East Brighton. Skye and Pines are now immersed in a relegation dogfight while Strikers’ slim hopes of promotion may have ended.
At Skye Recreation Reserve a Masee Namdar brace in the second half put the visitors in control before Delfin Mosibe Esara made a fine run in behind the Brandon Park defence and finished well.
Skye gaffer Phil McGuinness acknowledged the battle his side now faces. “For the second week running we just couldn’t capitalise on a strong finish to a game,” McGuinness said. “We find ourselves in a big hole now and it’s going to take a massive effort to get us out of it.”
In State 5 Seaford United beat Mentone 1-0 while other local sides lost. The pivotal moment in Seaford’s win came in the 46th minute. A lovely chipped ball by Michael Nobbs put Josh Vega in only to be fouled by Mentone keeper Quinn Carter. Cory Osorio made no mistake from the penalty spot.
Pakenham United dented Aspendale’s promotion hopes with a 3-2 home win on Friday night. Aspendale’s coaching staff was not impressed with the officiating in this clash. Pal Calvino and Taylan Yildirim scored for Aspendale.
Rosebud went down 2-0 away to Casey Panthers with new signing Barney Johnson from Mornington making his debut for the Buds.
Bunyip District won 3-1 at home against Mount Eliza with Michael Clark scoring for the visitors.
NEXT WEEK’S GAMES
Friday 30 June, 8.30pm:
Preston Lions v Langwarrin, BT Connor Reserve
Saturday 1 July, 3pm:
Mornington v Old Scotch, Dallas Brooks Park
Peninsula Strikers v Frankston Pines, Centenary Park
Hampton East Brighton v Skye Utd, Dendy Park
Somerville Eagles v Baxter, Tyabb Central Reserve
Sandown Lions v Chelsea, Frederick Wachter Reserve
Mentone v Aspendale, Mentone Grammar
Mount Martha v Barton Utd, Civic Reserve
Hampton Park Utd v Rosebud, KM Reedy Reserve
Seaford Utd v Casey Panthers, North Seaford Reserve
Mount Eliza BYE
First published in the Mornington News – 27th June 2023