Title decided as relegation hots up
FC Richmond 1-6 CF Brunswick
Round 21 and the business end of the season was apon us and with the relegation battle heating up both Richmond and Brunswick could ill afford to slip up so late in the season as the killer bees were fighting for a promotion battle, while the bloods were looking for cup action once again. It took a while but it was Giuseppe Amonail who opened the scoring for Richmond to give them a dream start. Chris Saegwood made a string of fine saves to deny Brunswick while on the bloods side Liam Digby also helped deny Richmond with some classy saves to keep his side in the game going into half time 1-0 behind. The bloods got their second half off to the best possible start when Ruz Roslan cut it back for Mike Sharples to equalize before Antonis Apostolakis gave his side the lead. Apostolakis doubled his tally just minutes later to give the bloods breathing space. Roslan got in on the act as well when he made it 4-1. Sharples grabbed his second to secure the game before Matt Piga rounded out the scoring. The commanding win was a good sign for manager Nikos Ignitiadis heading into the Futsal Oz Cup. As for Richmond they could not build on their good end of season form and look almost certain to be the first side relegated from the NIKE V-League premiership.
FC Prahran 2-5 Fitzroy FC
After seeing Brunswick record a commanding victory it was up to Fitzroy to respond and keep up the pressure on their rivals and with the edition of Italian International Andre Farina to their lineup they looked well placed to push Prahran to the brink. It would not be an easy task though taking on 3rd placed Prahran, who had a point to prove to their doubters, the first half was a tight affair as both sides rallied to take control of the match. It wasn’t until a piece of brilliance from Italian golden boy Robert Armellini opened the scoring for Fitzroy. An early injury to warrior’s talisman Maxi Avram was a huge blow to their chances as they found goals hard to come by heading into half time 1-0 down. Early on in the second half a brilliant 1-2 play between Haidar Noor and Lucas Johns had Fitzroy 2-0 to the good, before a brilliant ball from Marcos Barbosa set up Clint Mogoai to give Prahran hope. Juan Sastre scored a classy goal to put his side 3-1 in front and on the verge of recording a vital victory in the course of the season. Richard Ferguson scored one of the goals on the season with a sublime chip converted to perfection to make it 4-1. Johns took control of the ball & converted a turn and shoot to give his side a match winning 5-1 lead. Mogoai pulled one back but it was always going to be a consolation goal as the loss puts Prahran in danger of losing 3rd place. While Fitzroy’s win sets up a final day showdown with Essendon to decide who will take out 8th position.
FC Essendon 4-5 Pascoe Vale FC
Seeing Fitzroy defeat Prahran made this clash even bigger for Essendon as they look to avoid the relegation play offs. While for Pascoe Vale they knew they had to win to have any chance of overhauling North Melbourne’s lead at the top of the table. Vadim Mazurskiy put a few weeks of poor form behind him when he opened the scoring for the lions. Pascoe Vale were dominating possession as Essendon played much on the counter attack and wasted a few golden opportunities. Just before the half time break Anthony Hammer Equalized for the wanderers to have them in with a fighting chance off the back off some world class saves from Essendon goalkeeper Daniel Melo gave his side hope of a massive upset. Essendon were defending for their lives in the second half and unfortunately their hard work was undone courtesy of a goalkeeping howler from Melo throwing the ball straight to James Blackburn who made no mistake punishing the error to make it 2-1. A Slick passing move from the lions resulted in a Joao Da Silva chip being volleyed home by Ernie Simsek which gave the lions some breathing space . Dianoosh Rasoulzadeh pulled off some unbelievable saves to show why he is one of the best keepers in the country. Vlado Zoric layed one off for Peter Meletis to side foot home and give his side a chance. A 1-2 play between Simsek and Da Silva restored the 2 goal advantage. A toe poke from Meletis and an equally good finish from Zoric had Essendon level with a minute remaining the wanderers looked as if they had knicked a point, but Pascoe Vales never say die attitude seeped through as Andre Caro cut the ball back for Ernie Simsek to win the game for the lions and have them in with a slim chance at the title. While the defeat sets Essendon up for a final day showdown with Fitzroy to decide who takes out the final Futsal Oz cup place.
Ashburton FC 1-6 North Melbourne FC
Coming into this Round 21 fixture North Melbourne knew that a win would secure their 4th V-League title while for Ashburton they knew Futsal Oz Cup action was secured and were playing for a higher place on the table. The vipers started the game a lot more positive and patient passing the ball around and doing the basics that have made them the most successful team in V-League History. Harry Kitharidis was having a blinder in the first half saving everything the vipers threw at him, before late in the half Adam Cooper hit a free kick into the bottom left hand corner to open the scoring. A mistake from Kitharidis let in Jonathan Barrientos to double the advantage and have North 2 goals ahead at half time. A thunderbolt from Cooper early in the second half had North 3-0 in front and well on the way to their 4th title and completing back to back premierships. A brilliant goal line clearance from Cooper showed the determination of the side and hunger to win. An Own Goal from Daniel Lonigro further worsened the mood for Ashburton before a cracker from Anthony Brown put some polish on the result. Jason Barrientos rounded out the scoring for North as they looked to post a clean sheet. It didn’t happen however with Tom Robinson getting Ashburton’s only goal of the game. The win was enough to guide North Melbourne to their 4th Premiership and make them the most successful team in V-League Premiership history. As for Ashburton they will still feature in the cup and will welcome the return of Frenchman Sofiane Soufi for their final clash of the season.
FC Balwyn 12-2 Mickleham FC
After seeing Richmond go down Mickleham would have seen this as a chance to secure a relegation play off. As for Balwyn they knew a win tonight will give them a shot at overtaking Prahran into 3rd. In form Robert Zadworny looked ominous early and opened the scoring for Balwyn. Ike Kotevski equalized for Mickleham before Tony Saric restored the advantage for his side. Missing Ivan Zilic it took goals out of the lineup but Balwyn had their young superstar in the making Zadworny as he notched his second of the night. Ante Visevic got another back for Mickleham to keep them in it as they went into half time 3-2 down. Second half began with a classy finish from Ben Bodo restored the 2 goal buffer. Mark Saric opened his account before brother Tony got his second soon after as Balwyn began to run away with the game. Mark Saric doubled his tally to have Balwyn in complete control and when Bodo got his second it looked all but over. Another 2 quick fire goals from Zadworny showed just how valuable he is to this Balwyn line up. It was Zadworny again cutting it back for Mark Saric as he completed his hat-trick before Tony Saric rounded out the scoring completing his hat-trick and putting Balwyn now have the chance to secure a top 4 birth while Mickleham look destined for relegation battles.
Brimbank FC 7-7 Metropolitan FC
Final clash of the night saw 2 sides who are still involved in League Cup action and with an important 3 points up for grabs both sides would have to be at the top of their game to ensure that they finish as high on the table as possible. Jusuf Avdic opened the scoring with a thunderous free kick, but young Mark Borchett hit back to level the scores. Avidc then hit a thunderous volley to restore Metropolitan’s lead. Quick goals from Alija Redzepovic & Tomo Grigic had the sky blues 4-1 ahead. With just seconds remaining in the half Aden Alicevic got his name on the score sheet as Brimbank trailed 4-2 at half time. Grigic opened the second half scoring before Emir Emeti pulled one back to keep Brimbank within touching distance. Alija & Dino Redzepovic struck twice more to surely kill off the game. Borchett pulled one back but it looked to be too late. With just 30 seconds on the clock Alicevic dragged back another & scored again with just 17 seconds remaining. Metropolitan lost possession from the kick off and Emeti pounced to seal a memorable draw with only 5 seconds remaining it will go down as one of the best comebacks in V-League history. The draw meant little to Brimbank as they will finish 10th as for Metro they sit in 5th with only a slight chance of going 4th massive night of NIKE V-League Premiership action.
Top Goal Scorers:
- Joao Da Silva – 48
- Alija Redzepovic 40
- Sofiane Soufi – 38
- Maxi Avram 37
- Adem Alicevic 33
Round 21 Clashes Wednesday April 11
- 6:30 FC Richmond v CF Brunswick 1 – 6
- 7:20 FC Prahran v Fitzroy FC 2 – 5
- 8:10 FC Essendon v Pascoe Vale FC 4 – 5
- 9:00 Ashburton FC v North Melbourne FC 1 – 6
- 9:50 FC Balwyn v Mickleham FC 12 – 2
- 10:40 Brimbank FC v Metropolitan FC 7 – 7
Round 22 Clashes Wednesday April 18
- 6:30 FC Richmond v Pascoe Vale FC
- 7:20 FC Essendon v Fitzroy FC
- 8:10 FC Balwyn v North Melbourne FC
- 9:00 Metropolitan FC v Mickleham FC
- 9:50 Brimbank FC v CF Brunswick
- 10:40 Ashburton FC v FC Prahran