PENINSULA Strikers are back on the promotion trail after a stunning 7-0 thrashing of Heatherton United at Centenary Park on Saturday.
Heatherton had gone into this State 2 South-East contest with just one loss this season but a first-half hat-trick from the outstanding John Prescott had secured the points by half-time.
Second half doubles from Josh Calle and Anton Vulic completed the whitewash.
Strikers had lost three games heading into this clash and although they are just five points off the pace head coach Danny Verdun believes that there still is a lot of work ahead.
“While we’re pleased with the result we’re a long way from where we want to be,” Verdun said.
“We’ll keep working hard to try and keep the results coming and we’re really looking forward to playing Knox next weekend.”
In NPL2 news Langwarrin’s promotion push stalled for the second successive match when it lost 2-1 away to league leader Eastern Lions last weekend.
Goals to Ross Staley had Lions 2-0 up at the break and Langy’s response came four minutes into the second half from Luke Burgess.
In State 1 South-East news Warragul United recorded a come-from-behind 3-1 victory at home over Mornington to severely dent the promotion hopes of the Dallas Brooks outfit.
Mornington’s goal came from a first-half penalty converted by new English striker Josh Hine.
In State 3 news Skye United enjoyed a 3-1 home win over Bayside Argonauts in the annual John Ramsden Memorial game.
Skye hit the front after eight minutes when Jason Nowakowski’s ball across the penalty box was cleverly dummied by Marcus Anastasiou and struck into the far corner by Mo Elhassan.
Aaryn Rix came close to doubling Skye’s lead while Skye keeper Jonathan Crook did well to react to a quickly taken free-kick to save in a one-on-one situation and ensure that the home side stayed in front heading into the break.
In the 65th minute Skye striker Mikey Turner wasted a one-on-one opportunity and Bayside substitute Rob McKenna equalised from the ensuing counter attack.
This prompted Skye gaffer Phil McGuinness to throw substitutes Daniel Attard, Jack Gallagher and Mitch Blake into the fray over the next 15 minutes and the moves were effective.
In the 85th minute Attard played in Gallagher whose square ball was blasted home from close range by Blake to the delight of the Skye faithful.
A Mark O’Connor corner in injury time was headed home by Gallagher to secure the three points.
Skye defensive midfielder John Andrinopoulos was unavailable for this clash as he was overseas and will also miss Friday night’s game against unbeaten league leader Collingwood City.
Skye’s FFA Cup journey ended last Tuesday when it lost 4-0 to Geelong at Stead Park in Norlane.
Fellow State 3 side Frankston Pines went down 2-0 at home to promotion-chasing South Yarra on Friday night in a contest marred by inconsistent refereeing.
Pines’ central defender Daniel Mota was held up at work and couldn’t get to the match before kick-off forcing head coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor to rearrange his side by playing Travis Ernsdoerfer at the back alongside Cedric Benza.
The visitors struck after three minutes when Leo Holmes charged down the left and his cutback was easy pickings for the incoming Richard Morrisby.
Mota got into the action after 22 minutes when he replaced injured Alex Bevacqua freeing Ernsdoerfer to play a more customary attacking role.
Pines came closest to equalising when Joe O’Connor let fly five minutes from the interval with a powerful shot from 25 metres that South Yarra keeper Nathan Slowey deflected onto the bar before retrieving.
The visitors had to soak up long periods of Pines pressure in the second half and the Pines bench and supporters grew increasingly frustrated with the refereeing.
Just before half-time Benza was kicked in the face and to the utter disbelief of the crowd the referee didn’t even book South Yarra striker Elvis Imarhiagbe.
Benza had to be substituted during the second half and taken to an emergency dental clinic for treatment.
Partway through the second period Pines substitute Serge Yanez was scythed down with a lunging studs-up tackle from behind and the referee chose not to send off the offender.
Then with time running out for a Pines equaliser the focus fell on the referee once more.
South Yarra substitute Michael Drinkwater went to ground easily and quickly via a well-executed tumbleturn which the referee thought was a foul.
To make matters worse Pines keeper Alfonso Cardinale, who had been in fine form, turned what should have been a regulation save low down from the resultant free-kick into a howler.
The ball wriggled out of his grasp and Ronan Kelly slammed it home from point-blank range.
In State 4 South news Seaford United and Baxter recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this season.
Both local clubs won at home with Seaford beating Keysborough 4-0 and Baxter downing FC Noble Hurricanes 2-0.
Seaford keeper Anthony Madafferi put on a master class in how to react in one-on-one situations with a series of smothers that belied the scoreline.
Keysborough’s task was made harder in the 27th minute when keeper Bobby Pejkovic was red carded after charging out of his area and bringing down Seaford striker Mitch Lander.
A minute into the second half the deadlock was broken when Lander persisted on the right and won the ball back then sent over a precise left-foot cross that found Conor Mcfall unmarked at the back post for a simple header.
That duo combined in the 64th minute to make it 2-0 with Mcfall supplying the cross for an unmarked Lander to head past makeshift Keysborough keeper Adam Banks.
Goals from Dylan Waugh and Lander completed the scoreline.
At Baxter Park the home side went in front in the 17th minute when Lewis Gibson’s corner fell to Stuart McKenzie and his goal-bound shot was handled by a defender.
Gibson converted from the resultant penalty.
McKenzie should have increased the margin in the 31st minute when he broke through with only the keeper to beat but skied his attempt.
Dan Disseldorp somehow managed to miss a tap-in after five minutes of the second half but man-of-the-match Nat Daher sealed the result in the 70th minute when he cut in from the right past two opponents and hammered home a strike into the top near corner.
In State 5 South news Somerville Eagles made it three wins on end when defeating Aspendale Stingrays 5-3 at Jack Grut Reserve on Saturday.
A classic attacking performance in the first half put this one to bed with Mark Pagliarulo setting up Dave Greening for the opener in the first minute.
Kenan Nuhanovic equalised for Aspendale when he curled the ball past Eagles’ keeper Nathan Brown in the 13th minute but the Greening-Pagliarulo partnership struck again when Greening set up his partner in crime in the 22nd minute.
The visitors extended their lead when Carlo Cardoso set up Greening who beat a defender then rounded Aspendale keeper Jack Lindsay for a tap-in.
Cardoso and Greening combined in the 41st minute before finding Pagliarulo who beat his marker then scored with a strike that beat Lindsay at the near post to make it 4-1.
Somerville went further ahead in the 53rd minute after a Ben Meiklem cross was acrobatically volleyed home by Greening from close range.
Aspendale never gave up and hit back through goals from Kieran Hughes and Guilherme Ribeiro to make the scoreline respectable.
The result sets up an exciting clash between early season title favourite White Star Dandenong and Somerville at Greaves Reserve in Dandenong on Friday night.
White Star downed Rosebud 5-1 last weekend with Rosebud’s goal coming from Tyrone Van Der Spek.
This week’s games:
TUESDAY, 7.45pm: Waverley Wanderers v Langwarrin (FFA Cup round 5, Anderson Park).
FRIDAY, 8.30pm: Skye Utd v Collingwood City (Skye Recreation Reserve), White Star Dandenong v Somerville Eagles (Greaves Reserve).
SATURDAY, 3pm: Langwarrin v Melbourne Victory (Lawton Park), Mornington v Richmond (Dallas Brooks Park), Knox City v Peninsula Strikers (Egan Lee Reserve), Ashburton Utd v Frankston Pines (Ashburton Park), Keysborough v Baxter (Coomoora Reserve), Noble Park Utd v Seaford Utd (Parkfield Reserve), Hampton Park Utd v Aspendale Stingrays (KM Reedy Reserve), Knox Utd v Rosebud (Park Ridge Reserve).
SUNDAY, 5pm: Bulleen v Southern Utd (Veneto Club).