Top of the table takes shape after Round 4 of the V-League
The first clash of the night for round 4 saw the two winless teams of the V-League, Balwyn and Albert Park, do battle in what was a good opportunity for both sides to claim their first points of the season. Balwyn, who had been putting in the better performances out of the two former State League sides would have fancied their chances before kick-off, but Albert Park (a newly formed side) have been gelling together slowly but surely in recent weeks and were not to be underestimated. This seemed to be the case during the match as Albert Park’s number 10 Josh Berrios ran rampant, scoring a hat-trick, created chances and ran from box to box in arguably his finest performance for the ‘Oranges’. Keeper Fadi Qaquar and captain Jason Ioanidis also had a stand-out performances as Ioanidis bagged another three goals, all while playing the ‘last man’ in defence for majority of the game. With the score being only 2-3 in favour of Albert Park at half-time, there were good signs there for the Balwyn boys. But when the second half arrived, it all turned pear-shaped, as their poor defensive nous and need for a quality defender was exposed. Captain Tony Imeri and Ben Bodo battled in defence, scoring a goal each, but their intent to push forward to supply striker Jason Barrientos (also 1 goal) left keeper Mario Roza without any cover. Manager Matt Obeid needs to address this issue immediately, otherwise getting off the foot of the table will become too difficult in the future. It doesn’t’ get any easier for the Balwyn lads, as they are due to face a red-hot CF Brunswick side in the next round! Overall, it was a good performance from Albert Park, a performance that the young side will hopefully build on.
FC Melbourne v CF Brunswick (2-9)
The second game of the night saw two of the more organised and determined sides of the league do battle, as both sides were looking to continue their good form. FC Melbourne, who had just claimed their first win of the season against Albert Park and CF Brunswick, who had many chances to defeat 2011 season title favourites Pascoe Vale. Surprisingly, it was the underdogs in FC Melbourne who took the lead in the first half, as utility Mael Guilliou turned and shot past an un-suspecting Brendan Chen. But it didn’t’ take long for the CF Brunswick juggernaut to kick into gear, as almost immediately, Brunswick striker Rus Roslan scored a quick brace and set up strike partner Munya Nyadzayo for his first, while the Melbourne boys were left stunned with a 4-1 deficit at the break. The second half was more of the same, as Brunswick were able to do as they please. Roslan added another 3 goals to take his match tally to 5 and Nyadzayo bagged a hat-trick for a combined total of 8! A completely different scenario to last week, when both strikers were held goal-less in the sides 5-3 loss to Pascoe Vale. While CF climb to 5th on the ladder, Melbourne are languishing in 11th, as it seems to be back to the drawing board for Chris Gospel and his men. The absence of striker Lee Dore really hurt the structure of the ‘dark blues’ as forward partner David Fletcher was without as much support. While new recruits in Oluwaseun Adeosun and Taye Ajao (1 goal) seemed to stem the flow of Melbourne’s usual style as they seemed a little out of their depth. It was a brilliant game from Brunswick. Even without star player Danny Ngaluafe! The top four awaits.
FC Essendon v Pascoe Vale FC (5-7)
In trying to predict the outcome of the match between Pascoe Vale and Essendon, one would have easily backed the current league champions as run-away favourites to claim the three points. Going against a side that has lost only one game in the last 28 is a hard thing to do, and there is not much faith in an ageing and un-predictable Essendon side. To add to un-predictability of Essendon, Ivan Stevanovic was re-called for his first game of the season, also former Albert Park goal keeper Ned Torbika was recruited. A keeper who hadn’t played in the league since the 09-10 season, and what inclusions they were, as Torbika had an inspiring game in goals, putting his body on the line to keep his side in the game. Ivan Stevanovic also scored a much needed goal to level the tie at 5-5 in the second half. The game took a dramatic turn in the after ‘vale’ captain Andre Caro received an unlikey red card. Essendon sensed their opportunity to strike, as forwards Alexander Stevanovic scored 2 and Dusan Bosniak added a single. The pressure was definitely mounting on Pascoe Vale as the game was on level terms deep in the final stages, but with a strong return performance from Ahmed Azzam in defence, Joao Da Silva and Brenno Polatti adding 3 between them and youngster Richie Ferguson scoring a much needed hat-trick, Pascoe Vale were able to escape (for the second week in a row) with the three points to stay on top of the ladder. It was a spirited display from Essendon who, led by the brilliance and run of Dusan Bosniak, are still managing to keep on surprising those who line up against them.
North Melbourne FC v Fitzroy FC (4-3)
In what was deemed ‘match of the round,’ top four rivals North Melbourne and Fitzroy went head to head to determine who would claim outright third spot on the ladder to be amongst the league’s elite. It was always going to be a low scoring affair, between two of the most defensively disciplined sides as goals were hard to come by. It was North’s in form playmaker, Tiago Priori who opened the scoring, as forward target, Mirza Pedic laid off the ball to an approaching Priori who broke through the Fitzroy defence to cooly slot past his former keeper in Dianoosh Rasoulzadeh. North continued to dominate play as Adam Cooper struck the post twice in quick succession and against the run of play, Fitzroy scored through Haider Noor to level the contest. But it would be a Shayan Rashidi (set up from a Cooper corner/cross) own goal that would give North the 3-2 advantage going into the break. Upon taking the lead, stand-in North manager Spiro Kargas instructed his disciplined squad to sit on their one goal advantage as the game tightened up. There were goals for each side, as Cooper made it 4-2 only for Fitzroy’s steely defender Iman Arjomand to sagain, peg back the score to make it 4-3 with a minute remaining. But by then it was too late. North who are looking good under Spiro Kargas, continue their climb up the league ladder and will be thankful for their recent red-hot form as they take on Metropolitan next week. As for Fitzroy, one question remains… when they were chasing the game… looking for goals, why was their second top scorer in the side spending so much time on the bench? Cameron Holmes is fit, capable of scoring a bag and has one of the highest work-rates in the entire league! Surely Holmes, who actually scored for Fitzroy, would have had a larger impact on the game had he been given the opportunity.
FC Prahran v Ashburton FC (6-9)
Another game, which had a lot pending on the final result, was the 9:30pm clash between Prahran and Ashburton. Two of the more talented squads in the V-League, both are languishing in the bottom half of the table, with Prahran on three points after defeating Balwyn in Round 1 and Ashburton could only manage a draw after three rounds. The pressure was on to perform. Ashburton’s wily defender Moe Alghorabi opened the scoring against his former side with a brilliant run from defence to shoot past Jamie Tran, but the lead didn’t last long as Prahran’s M.V.P Maxi Avram levelled with a brilliant strike. Ashburton’s new-look strike pairing in James Blackburn and Simon La Manda looked to be settling quite well as they added three goals between them to leave the score 4-2 at half time. Playing his first game for the ‘green machine’ since round 1, Mark Burton added much needed composure and class to a side that is on the up. Burton, who is one of the cleanest users of the ball, had a hand in helping Blackburn to his 4 match goals and La Manda with his hat-trick. Ashburton looked a completely different side! Hopefully they can retain the New Zealand international’s services on a more regular basis. As for Prahran, who were without playmaker Marcus Barbosa, have seen their title aspirations fading fast as they are yet to settle. Team captain Maxi Avram led the way for his side with an inspiring 4 goal effort, Ernie Simsek battled and Ben Armstrong played his role off the bench by adding a goal, but the problem lies in defence, as too often, holes were being exposed by Blackburn, Burton and La Manda. Prahran now drop into the relegation zone in 9th position and Ashburton take their place in 7th. Prahran are a quality side and they will bounce back in round 5 to take on Essendon in a season defining clash.
Hume FC v Metropolitan FC (7-8)
The final encounter on the card saw a very physical and hard-fought clash between Hume and Metropolitan. There was always going to be fireworks when two of the most entertaining squads in the league meet, as both sides never shy away from competition. Metropolitan, who were un-defeated going into the game without defeat, were up against a Hume squad which was desperate to improve on their previous week’s poor performance against Fitzroy, and in the first half, they did. Towering striker Turhan Sumbol opened Hume’s account with a cheeky back-heel past Dardan Djokaj. Then defender, Nejdet Sahin, doubled the lead minutes after as he ran down the flank to send the ball past Djokaj again into the top corner. Metro had plenty of chances to score, but Hume keeper, Con Makris was on his game making many vital saves. Although it was only a matter of time before Alija Redzepovic eased the scoreboard pressure for Metropolitan by slotting their first. After that, the floodgates opened as the half ended 4-4. The second half was a real tug-of-war style affair, with a Nejdet Sahin own-goal being the difference in the end, the 8-7 going to the sky blues. Sumbol was the stand out for the Hume side as he scored 4 for the match, including a goal of the week contender when he dribbled from defence all the way to the ‘D’ for a cool finish. He was also backed up well by the ‘classy’ Sahin with 2 goals and a single from Burukhan Koca. Metropolitan FC… Have they finally arrived? Is this their season? For the third week in a row, they have managed to win a game that they were pushed all the way, and unlike last season, they didn’t’ fold. If this was the Metro side of last season, they probably would have lost a few of their tight games and been 1-3 instead of 4-0. The formula? Scoring defenders! All of Tomo Grgic, Jusuf Avdic and Husmir Ikanovic added a goal to the Metro tally to go with strikers Alija’s 3 goals and Irzad Spijodic’s single. At the moment, the sky blues look genuine contenders to dethrone Pascoe Vale.
V-League 2011 Top Goal Scorers
- A. Redzepovic Metro FC 11 Goals
- M. Nyadzayo CFB 10 Goals
- R. Roslan CFB 10 Goals
- A. Stevanovic FCE 9 Goals
- J. Berrios APFC 8 Goals
Round 4 Wednesday May 25
- 6:30 FC Balwyn v Albert Park FC 3 – 8
- 7:15 FC Melbourne v CF Brunswick 2 – 9
- 8:00 FC Essendon v Pascoe Vale FC 5 – 7
- 8:45 Fitzroy FC v Nth Melbourne FC 3 – 4
- 9:30 FC Prahran v Ashburton FC 6 – 9
- 10:15 Hume FC v Metropolitan FC 7 – 8
Round 5 Wednesday June 2
- 6:30 Fitzroy FC v Ashburton FC
- 7:15 FC Prahran v FC Essendon
- 8:00 FC Melbourne v Pascoe Vale FC
- 8:45 Metropolitan FC v Nth Melbourne FC
- 9:30 Hume FC v Albert Park FC
- 10:15 FC Balwyn v CF Brunswick
Go to futsaloz.tv to see video highlights of all the matches.