THE blue wave of Langwarrin engulfed much fancied opponent Bulleen at Lawton Park on Saturday and gave home fans a taste of things to come.
Langy gaffer Scott Miller hasn’t hidden his ambition for the club he played for as a junior and his pre-season mantra of an up-tempo, slick, interpassing style of soccer rang true last weekend.
Bulleen succumbed to the blue tsunami 4-1 in Langwarrin’s most impressive performance yet of the 2019 NPL2 East season.
Spectators had been given an insight into Jordan Templin’s capabilities with two stunning goals against Northcote a fortnight back and he continued in similar style here.
But early on the visitors asked serious questions of the Langy defence which had problems dealing with the pace and guile of Josh Knight backed up by Ben Everson and Scottish import Daniel Maclennan.
Just 10 minutes in and Knight skipped clear of two defenders on the left of the area but Langy keeper Fraser Maclaren reacted well to get down and get a hand to Knight’s low shot pushing the ball onto the far post before being scrambled clear.
Three minutes later Bulleen keeper Wyatt Chant effected the save of the contest and left onlookers marvelling at his athleticism and lightning-quick reactions when a Templin piledriver seemed certain to nestle in the far corner until Chant’s hand made contact deflecting the ball over the bar.
Bulleen’s Josh McMonagle-Ihasz blew a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring in the 24th minute when he mistimed what should have been a tap-in.
Despite his formidable presence Chant was left grasping at thin air in the 32nd minute after Wayne Wallace chested down a deep free-kick from Luke Burgess then spun around and slammed a well-struck curling effort against the bar.
It was an entertaining and open match with Langy increasingly looking dangerous surging forward.
Johnny Kuol hadn’t figured prominently playing wide right but he switched to the left and when Wallace sent him surging down that side of the pitch in the 35th minute he was confronted by Bulleen defender Eli Luttmer.
Kuol doesn’t need an invite to take on a man and he twisted one way then the next committing Luttmer to a challenge before chipping an inch-perfect cross which David Stirton headed firmly into the top corner to give the home side the lead.
Burgess clattered into Knight in the 38th minute and the Bulleen star got to his feet slowly.
A few minutes later Jaiden Madafferi body-checked Knight and was cautioned and in the 44th minute Langy struck again.
Templin, Stirton, Kuol and Damir Stoilovic are renowned for their attacking capabilities but their ability to pressure opponents and effect turnovers was another feature of Saturday’s contest.
When Bulleen failed to clear a minute from the interval and eventually lost possession inside its defensive half it was to pay dearly.
Kuol laid the ball off to Templin and the former Bulleen player let fly with a thumping drive from just outside the area and Chant was beaten for a second time.
Seven minutes into the second half a rampant Langy went 3-0 up and there was no way back for Bulleen.
Stirton had tracked back and won possession inside his defensive half and immediately Langwarrin broke forward quickly giving the ball back to Stirton who eventually laid it off to Kuol on the left.
His delicately flighted chip sailed over Chant and struck the bar giving the hard working Roddy Covarrubias a tap-in from the rebound.
Bulleen started using its bench and even though its cause was lost it kept trying to find a way through an increasingly stubborn and composed Langy defence.
In the 64th minute Everson let fly from the edge of the area forcing Maclaren to tip over and two minutes later substitute Slaven Vranesevic turned sharply inside the area but struck a low shot against the near post.
Another Langy break in the 72nd minute had Bulleen defenders backpedalling in vain as Stirton, Kuol and Templin linked with Kuol eventually laying the ball off to Stoilovic on the left of the area and his low shot across the diving Chant nestled neatly inside the far post to make it 4-0.
Bulleen’s sole reply came in the 88th minute when Knight’s cross from the left wasn’t cleared allowing Luttmer to control at the far post then strike a close-range shot past Maclaren to round off the scoreline.
In the final analysis Bulleen had no answer to the blue wave that broke quickly and effectively and sent a message to the rest of the competition that this side can’t be taken lightly.
In NPLW news Southern United lost 10-0 to Geelong Galaxy United at Monterey Reserve on Saturday.
Southern continues to revamp its depleted senior squad with news that 20-year-old former Skye United midfielder Alana Gregory has been signed.
Gregory gained much-needed match fitness by playing in the under-19 side that beat Geelong 3-1 last weekend with goals from Sita Karimi (2) and Isabella De Gilio.
This week Southern expects to officially name Liam Drury as head coach of the under-19s.
Southern’s under-14s joined Drury’s charges in winning their first game of the 2019 campaign when they defeated Geelong 4-0 on Saturday thanks to an Eden McKeown penalty and goals from Erica-Derrick Sarfo-Sarpong, Sarah Shanks and Leah Plavlijanic.
Southern’s under-16s went down 3-1 to Geelong with Alex Jones scoring for Southern.
The under-12s lost 16-0.
The big news off the pitch for Southern is that the club has hired highly regarded goalkeeping coach Lou Kastner.
“I’m delighted to bring Lou to the club. He has a wealth of experience and will be a really big asset,” Southern technical director Harry Chalkitis said.
In FFA Cup news Skye United is through to round 4 of the prestigious national competition after accounting for State 3 rival Bayside Argonauts 3-1 at Centenary Park on Saturday.
Skye boss Phil McGuinness and assistant Stephen Duffy had a depleted squad due to injuries and player unavailability so beating an opponent from the same league struck a significant psychological blow with the season due to start in a fortnight.
Skye started off on the front foot and was rewarded in the 10th minute when Daniel Attard’s attempted flick was cut out by the hand of a Bayside central defender and referee Ivan Galjar pointed to the spot.
Daniel Walsh continued where he left off the previous weekend and buried his conversion attempt to make it 1-0.
But 10 minutes later Bayside earned a penalty after Saj Sugrim brought his man down just inside the box.
James Hammond made no mistake from the spot to make it 1-1.
The second half was a scrappy affair but Skye took its chance in the 65th minute after Attard flicked on from a Jonathon Crook long bomb sending Mikey Turner clear and the wee Scot finished well to put the hosts ahead.
Skye earned some breathing space two minutes later after Jack Gallagher was brought down and Walsh converted from the spot for the fourth time in successive weeks.
Bayside was unable to claw its way back into the contest.
In other cup news local sides Mornington and Peninsula Strikers both lost 1-0 last weekend.
An outstanding goalkeeping display by new Mornington No 1 Taylor Davidson on Friday night couldn’t keep his team in the national competition.
The youngster was eventually beaten in the second half of extra time by a Chris Davies strike that sent home side Sydenham Park through to the next round.
Sydenham took a quick free-kick and played the ball over the top and although Mornington claimed that Davies was offside he was allowed to continue and round Davidson before striking the ball into the unguarded goal for the winner.
Strikers succumbed to a Sean Sacco goal in the 16th minute on Saturday and ended this cup tie with 10 men.
The goal came in controversial circumstances after referee Cheng Hoo ruled against Strikers for a back pass, a decision hotly disputed by the local side.
Sacco’s free kick cannoned into the defensive wall and wrong-footed Strikers keeper Colin McCormack.
Strikers should have levelled in the 36th minute after winning a penalty but John Prescott’s attempt from the spot allowed Keilor Park keeper Frano Saric to effect a comfortable save.
Strikers were the better side in the second half and twice had the ball in the back of the net only to be ruled offside.
Sam Luxford had replaced midfielder Danny Brooks in the 76th minute and in the 97th minute Brooks was cautioned for a second time after an exchange with the linesman was drawn to the referee’s attention.
Meanwhile Frankston Pines came back from 2-0 down to defeat Rowville Eagles 4-3 in a friendly at Tatterson Park on Saturday.
Former Bentleigh Greens youngster Joe O’Connor scored on his debut for Pines and is expected to make the move from Casey Comets this week.
Other Pines scorers were Voldy Bukishie, Travis Ernsdoerfer and Christian Malgioglio.
Twenty-year-old Dandenong Thunder defender Kevin Brown also played for Pines and is another likely signing this week.
Baxter went down 3-0 to Westside Strikers in a friendly at Baxter Park on Saturday.
The home side had a number of players injured or unavailable but featured three triallists among them impressive former Peninsula Strikers junior Ben Hughes.
The Kilner brothers are back in action with Liam playing in the first half on Saturday and although Owen was unavailable he has been at training and is expected to play again this season.
Aspendale Stingrays seniors had last weekend off but the reserves lost 5-3 to Berwick City’s under-20s at Kingston Heath Soccer Complex.
Aspendale’s scorers were Ben Garside, Corey Kovacs and James McNab and best players were Dylan Flavelle, McNab and Noah Berends.
This weekend’s league games:
SATURDAY: Springvale White Eagles v Langwarrin (Serbian Sports Centre, 5pm); Bayside Utd v Southern Utd (Kingston Heath Soccer Complex, 3.15pm).
This week’s friendlies:
TUESDAY: Frankston Pines v St Kilda Celts (Monterey Reserve, 7.30pm).
SATURDAY: Mornington v Clifton Hill (Dallas Brooks Park, 10am); Baxter v Old Trinity Grammar (Baxter Park, 1pm & 3pm); Somerville Eagles v Boronia (Somerville Secondary College, 1pm & 3pm); Rosebud v Seaford Utd (Olympic Park, 11am & 1pm).
First published in the Frankston Times – 11 March 2019