MORNINGTON, Frankston Pines and Seaford United head their respective leagues after three rounds of the 2021 season.
And NPL2 outfit Langwarrin is second on goal difference to Goulburn Valley Suns with both sides enjoying a perfect start to their league campaigns.
A Tom Youngs tap-in after 29 minutes was enough to separate Langy and Moreland Zebras at Lawton Park on Saturday.
Rogan McGeorge sent George Howard down the right and Howard’s ball across the face of goal was cut back by Damir Stoilovic on the left for a simple finish by Youngs.
Howard injured a hamstring during the build-up and was replaced by Shayan Alinejad.
The extent of Howard’s injury will be determined this week.
Mornington ran out a 3-2 winner against Casey Comets at Dallas Brooks Park in a clash which Mornington coach Adam Jamieson was delighted to win especially after a nasty pre-match exchange with his Comets counterpart.
Mornington was 1-0 down at half-time but Mark Vangeli levelled early in the second half when he hammered the ball home following a Sam Scott free-kick.
A diving header from Wayne Gordon in the 69th minute made it 2-1 but within a minute Comets equalised.
In the 85th minute Josh Hine’s shot slammed off the bar and Milos Lujic won the race to the rebound to poke home the winner.
The result clinched the home side’s top-of-the-table status and condemned its opponent to a second successive defeat.
In State 2 news an Aaran Currie hat-trick underpinned a 4-2 home win for Peninsula Strikers against Brandon Park on Saturday.
Strikers led 2-1 at half-time thanks to Currie and Ben Doree and Currie added two more goals in the second half with typically clinical finishing inside the area to seal Brandon Park’s fate.
State 2 neighbour Skye United had a successful trip to Egan Lee Reserve with a 2-1 away win over Knox City last weekend.
A stunning strike from former Heatherton United player Nejib Ullah Ali in the 14th minute put Skye in front but it took an excellent save from Skye keeper Jonathan Crook to deny Josh Calle from the spot and give the visitors a half-time lead.
Ray Markley equalised for Knox in the 60th minute but Caleb Nicholes got the winner from the spot six minutes later.
His first attempt was saved but the big man tucked away the rebound.
In State 3 the Frankston Pines juggernaut showed no signs of slowing when Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor’s men defeated home team Ashburton United 3-0 last weekend.
Pines’ goals came from Simon Webster, Joe O’Connor and CJ Hodgson.
In State 4 Harry McCartney reports that a combination of injuries, suspensions and unavailability couldn’t stop Seaford United maintaining its unbeaten start to the league season by accounting for visitor Springvale City 2-0 on Saturday.
Seaford started on top and was rewarded in the 26th minute.
Dylan Waugh got on the end of a poor clearance and his half-volley was deflected into the bottom corner off a Springvale defender to open the scoring.
Three minutes later a Joshua Simmons chip over a square back four was met by Mitch Hawkins who controlled with one touch before being fouled by Springvale keeper Dimassi Yahya.
Waugh made no mistake with the ensuing penalty.
Springvale should have narrowed the margin early in the second half when Jeremy Schwellinger brought down Eid Sarwari in the box but the visitors were denied by a great spot-kick save from Hayden Hicks and the home side was able to protect its advantage.
An undermanned Baxter defeated Chelsea 1-0 at Baxter Park on Saturday with a disciplined and committed team performance.
The pivotal moment came in the 21st minute when Baxter central defender Matt McDermott spun off his opponent inside the area then went to ground.
The referee paused for a second then pointed to the spot and Luke Grant sent Chelsea keeper Rhys Davies the wrong way.
Chelsea had chances to get back into the contest but Baxter defended well and keeper James Foster made three excellent one-on-one saves.
Baxter substitute Daniel Fernandes replaced Grant in the 82nd minute and could have had a hat-trick as Chelsea was caught pressing for the equaliser.
At Tyabb Central Reserve on Saturday Somerville Eagles lost 3-2 to Endeavour United.
An Adam Steele own goal in the 2nd minute put the visitors ahead and a lunging challenge from behind by Steele in the 23rd minute resulted in an Endeavour United penalty which Cooper Andrews converted.
The Eagles again showed their fighting qualities in the second half and hit back in the 49th minute with an Ahmad Tabbara own goal following good work by Nasser Muhammad on the left.
Eagles’ player-coach Dave Greening won a penalty in the 51st minute and scored from the spot to make it 2-2 but the match winner came from Matty Durand whose stunning top corner strike in the 80th minute gave Somerville keeper Nathan Brown no chance.
In State 5 Rosebud claimed all three points with a late volley from substitute Cory Osorio on Saturday.
The 1-0 win over Aspendale Stingrays took player-coach Mark Pagliarulo’s side into the top half of the table.
Young Billy Gowans missed a 75th minute penalty but in the last minute a half-volley from Cal Richardson struck the bar and Osorio scored from the rebound.
Nick Carter made his debut for the Stingrays.
Meanwhile Chris Sanderson’s young Mount Martha outfit went down 5-0 to Casey Panthers at Civic Reserve last weekend.
Eighteen-year-old goalkeeper Ryan Sharrock made his senior debut for the home team in difficult conditions while teenage midfielder Ethan Sanderson returned from an ankle injury sustained in the club’s last practice match.
Here are this weekend’s round 4 fixtures:
FRIDAY, 8.30pm: Frankston Pines v Whitehorse Utd (Carrum Downs Recreation Reserve), Chelsea v Keysborough (Edithvale Recreation Reserve).
SATURDAY, 3pm: Langwarrin v Werribee City (Lawton Park), Mornington v Mazenod (Dallas Brooks Park), Skye Utd v Monbulk Rangers (Skye Recreation Reserve), Dingley Stars v Seaford Utd (Keeley Park), Endeavour Utd v Baxter (Reema Reserve), Hampton Park Utd v Mount Martha (KM Reedy Reserve), Endeavour Hills v Aspendale Stingrays (Power Reserve).
SATURDAY, 5pm: Springvale City v Somerville Eagles (Ross Reserve).
SATURDAY, 8.30pm: Rosebud v Mentone (Olympic Park).
SUNDAY, 3pm: Peninsula Strikers v North Caulfield (Centenary Park).
First published in the Frankston Times – 13 April 2021