MORNINGTON’s hopes of clinching promotion to the NPL are hanging by a thread after a shock 3-2 loss to Gippsland United at Warragul on Saturday.
Seagulls’ players, support staff and supporters were seething after the match at what they claimed were poor refereeing decisions and substandard facilities.
But Mornington gaffer Adam Jamieson dismissed those reasons for the loss.
“It was a very disappointing day and probably the worst refereeing decision (for one of the goals) I’ve ever seen,” he said.
“But unlike the ref who couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t – even after the game – put his hand up and say he made a mistake I made plenty and the buck stops with me not the ref, not the facility.
“And certainly not the players who were brave yesterday.
“I was the one who got the set-up wrong.
“We had enough time to make it right and we failed and I need to own that.
“But we’ll dust ourselves off and go again, that’s all we can do.”
And what a match looms at Dallas Brooks Park this weekend when Mornington takes on fellow title contender Eltham Redbacks.
The Seagulls still have their fate in their own hands as they face their closest rivals in the last four games.
After the Eltham clash they are away to Collingwood City and Malvern City before a potential blockbuster finale at home to FC Melbourne.
David Stirton and Rory Currie scored for Mornington last weekend.
In NPL2 Langwarrin finds itself in a precarious position after Saturday’s 5-3 loss at home to Manningham United Blues.
Langwarrin has the worst defensive record in the league and it showed with Manningham striker Ben Everson helping himself to a four-goal haul.
His third goal highlighted Langy’s problems out of possession when a string of simple passes starting with a short goalkick ended with Everson strolling through the heart of the home team’s defence and after rounding keeper James Burgess stroking the ball into the unguarded goal.
For Langwarrin Tom Youngs struck twice from the penalty spot and Brad Blumenthal scored with an excellent back post header.
Langy has three games remaining and is three points clear of second-bottom side Brunswick Juventus.
In State 2 both Skye United and Frankston Pines had crucial away wins last weekend as they strive to avoid relegation.
Pines won 3-1 against bottom side Heatherton United on Saturday while Skye downed North Caulfield 3-2 on Sunday.
In the Heatherton clash the home side was reduced to 10 men in the 13th minute when Wumjock Jock was shown a straight red for violent conduct and Pines led 1-0 at half-time thanks to Kaspar Fry reacting quickest during a goalmouth scramble.
A Toshimitsu Semii penalty in the 52nd minute made it 1-1 but Pines were back in front in the 82nd minute after Heatherton keeper Senad Ahmetovic parried Ryan Ratcliffe’s header and the visitors’ captain scored after two attempts to tuck away the rebound.
Fry iced it in injury time when converting from the penalty spot after he was brought down when sent through by Currie.
That result pushed Skye into second last on the table but not for long.
Goals from Leo McLeod (2) and Harry Michaelis the next day sunk North Caulfield and pushed Skye up into ninth in the process pushing Pines back to second bottom.
Peninsula Strikers blew a host of second-half chances before going down 2-1 to Doncaster Rovers at Centenary Park on Saturday.
Strikers went in at half-time 1-0 down due to an unstoppable long-range strike from Rei Kojima and went further behind straight after the break when conceding a penalty that Michael Papanicolaou converted.
Four minutes later it was 2-1 when Jamie Davidson headed home a pinpoint Huss Chehimi cross but there was no more joy for local fans.
Riley Anderton and Cooper Andrews blew the best two chances to level in a frustrating afternoon for the home side.
In State 4 Somerville continued its outstanding season with a 2-0 away win over Sandown Lions on Saturday.
In the 54th minute a superb Tom Simmons through ball sent Marcus Anastasiou clear and he made no mistake with a finish inside the near post.
Both sides spurned chances before Anastasiou was brought down inside the area in the 88th minute when running onto a long ball from keeper Nick Bucello.
Anastasiou took the resultant penalty to wrap up proceedings.
Baxter lost 1-0 away to Sandown Lions last weekend.
“We were very poor in the first half but dominated the second half,” Baxter head coach Stephen Fisher said.
“We created chance after chance but just couldn’t score.”
Chelsea eased fears of being dragged into a relegation battle with a 3-2 home win over Keysborough on Friday night.
The visitors dominated early exchanges and an Adrian Pace own goal put them ahead after 23 minutes.
But Pace made amends 10 minutes later when he scored direct from a corner.
Early in the second half Chelsea hit the front when Dylan Scott sent Kyan Bissett through and he finished well and in the 60th minute Scott was the provider again this time sending Harry Parker clear.
Parker won the foot race against Keysborough keeper Max Krista and his shot hit the underside of the bar then bounced down and went into goal to make it 3-1.
In the 86th minute Keysborough’s Felipe Ulloa made it 3-2 from the penalty spot but had to tuck away the rebound after an initial save from home team keeper Rhys Davies.
The Chelsea custodian was cautioned twice for time wasting the second yellow in injury time but the 10 men were able to withstand anything Keysborough threw at them.
In State 5 the derby between Seaford United and Rosebud at North Seaford Reserve on Saturday ended in controversy with a late penalty giving the visitors a 1-0 victory.
Seaford’s Brayden Hicks and Rosebud’s Colin McCormack are two of the league’s best keepers and backed up by solid and well-organised defences it was no surprise that both sides found it difficult to score.
McCormack’s double save in the dying minutes would prove crucial.
So too would a refereeing decision shortly after.
Rosebud striker Noah Musso lost control of the ball inside the Seaford area and fouled Seaford defender Jack Wyer by manhandling him in an attempt to wrest back possession.
Wyer retaliated by grabbing Musso to win the physical contest and the referee spotted this infringement and pointed to the spot.
Up stepped Rosebud’s marquee man Dougie Cunnison who sent Hicks the wrong way and that was that.
In the other derby clash Mentone eased past Mount Eliza with a 3-0 win at Mentone Grammar Sportsground.
Sebastian Ballesteros’ low drilled shot had the home side ahead after five minutes with Fraser Inglis finishing off a great team move on 39 minutes.
Marcus Spivey’s fine header from Dean Gerszonovicz’s inch-perfect cross completed the scoring with 15 minutes to go.
Mount Martha ran riot against Pakenham United with a thumping 8-0 away win on Saturday.
Ethan Sanderson and Mitch Hawkins led the way with hat-tricks while Peter Price and Adam Martin were the other scorers.
Pakenham’s woes were compounded when Thom Lino was sent off in the 33rd minute for denying a scoring opportunity.
Aspendale was awarded a 3-0 walkover after Barton United yet again pulled out of a league fixture.
NEXT WEEK’S GAMES
Friday 28 July, 8.30pm:
Frankston Pines v Doncaster Rovers, Monterey Reserve
Pakenham Utd v Mentone, IYU Recreation Reserve
Saturday 29 July, 3pm:
Melbourne City v Langwarrin, Parade College
Mornington v Eltham Redbacks, Dallas Brooks Park
Skye Utd v Heatherton Utd, Skye Recreation Reserve
Berwick City v Peninsula Strikers, Jack Thomas Reserve
Somerville Eagles v Lyndale Utd, Tyabb Central Reserve
Baxter v FC Noble Hurricanes, Baxter Park
Mount Martha v Seaford Utd, Civic Reserve
Mount Eliza v Casey Panthers, Emil Madsen Reserve
Saturday, 29 July, 5pm:
Springvale City v Chelsea, Ross Reserve
Saturday, 29 July, 6.30pm:
Rosebud v Aspendale, Olympic Park
First published in the Mornington News – 25th July 2023