Albert Park, Hume & Elsternwick all promoted to the V-League for the 2012 season
Promotion/Relegation battles were back in town and all 6 sides were fighting to gain promotion or another season in the V-League Premiership. First off the bat was former V-League outfit Albert Park up against V-League giant killers Brimbank. It was the Bruisers who opened the scoring through their talisman Adem Alicevic, and doubled their advantage shortly after courtesy of young Mark Borchett. Although leading 2-0 Albert Park were very much in the game wasting numerous opportunities. They would soon be punished as the clinical Alicevic grabbed his second. Just before the half time break a brilliant passing move by Brimbank created their 4th finished off by Arin Messinovic and the Bruisers took a commanding 4-0 into the half time break but had Albert Park been more clinical in front of goal they could possibly have been in front. Alex Vasilevski opened the scoring in the second half for the Bruisers and looked to have killed off any chance of a comeback. Thao Pham pulled one back after some poor defending by Brimbank and he had another just minutes later. The Messinovic & Alicevic partnership was working a treat once again for Brimbank as Messinovic bagged his second. Pham looked the only shining light for Albert Park as he completed his hat-trick and a man of the match display for his side. Tony Nguyen pulled Albert Park back within 2 goals. It was Brimbanks main man though Alicevic who kept them in the ascendancy going into the second leg. Brimbank would go into the second leg with a 3 goal Aggregate. Albert Park will have to much more clinical in front of goal if they are to overturn the outcome.
8:30pm Hume FC 6-5 Fitzroy FC 29/04/12 – First Leg
After seeing Albert Park take it up to V-League side Brimbank. Hume would have been hoping they could do the same and perhaps take an advantage into the second leg. But it was Fitzroy who got off to the better start after a brilliant passing move was finished off by Juan Sastre. Player manager Adrian D’ortenzio doubled the advantage shortly after and it looked as if the Tigers would run away with it. A wonder goal from Nejdet Sahin brought Hume back into the game. A pin point throw from John Castaldo for Robert Armellini to head home restored the 2 goal advantage. Hume young gun Osman Kose got his name on the score sheet and he quickly doubled his tally after some excellent work from Sahin to cut it back for him. Italian golden boy Armellini was single handedly keeping Fitzroy in the tie as he grabbed his second. A mistake from Tigers stopper Castoldo let Sahin roll the ball home to go into half time level at 4-4. After the break young Kose hit the woodwork early on to give Hume a real lift. If not for Castaldo Hume may have been much further ahead than just the one goal. Hume were starting to get on top and if not for Castaldo it could have been a blowout. Fitzroy’s Italian superstar Armellini responded with a top corner thunderbolt to send the crowd into raptures and give Fitzroy the lead once again. Having come off the bench with around 9 minutes remaining and the scores locked at 5-5 in an action packed affair Burak Koca came on for a phenomenal spell which saw him hit the crossbar, round Castaldo to draw his side level, as well as miss an easy chance, have a brilliant effort saved by Castaldo and then beat the Fitzroy stopper to give Hume a 1 goal aggregate lead going into the second leg. It was by far the most entertaining game played in the qualifiers and the second leg is set up to be a classic in the second leg.
9:15pm Elsternwick FC 3-3 Mickleham FC 29/04/12 – First Leg
Last clash of the night and having seen one State League side win and the other put up a good fight, Elternwick would be hoping that they could overcome V-League outfit Mickleham. They got off to the perfect start too as little Zoran Zardoski opened the scoring for the Falcons, But Mickleham would not give up without a fight as their top scorer Ben Gearboc grabbed the equalizer and then headed his side in front as they took a lead into half time. Gearboc was in the thick of the action once again setting up Dejan Vasic to give Mickleham a 2 goal advantage. Mickleham then conceded a 5th foul penalty which was taken by Chaban Rajab and brilliantly saved by Charlie Ekoustsidis and the shot stopper continued his exploits making a string of fine saves to keep Elsternwick at bay. Another penalty was conceded by the hammers but their keeper was once again equal to the task but he could not prevent Zardoski putting away the rebound to put them back within a goal. If not for Ekoustsidis Elsternwick may have already been ahead. Kurt Marrotta equalised with a few minutes remaining and Elsternwick could have taken a lead into the second leg but Rajab missed yet another penalty which could prove costly in the scheme of things.
7:20pm Brimbank FC 1-6 Albert Park FC 02/05/12 (8-10) Aggregate – Second Leg
The second leg of these gripping ties were upon us and tonight 3 sides will know if they will be competing for the V-League Premiership or the State League Championship. Leading 7-4 on aggregate Brimbank looked the most likely to stay up out of the V-League sides although they were without their tailsman Adem Alicevic they looked the goods early forcing Jamie Tran into a few tough saves. Elisee Mutabazi quickly got 2 goals on the board and looked to have Albert Park back in the tie. Mo Kuzucu was giving the Bruisers the best possible chance to win the tie keeping their opposition at bay. 2-0 at half time and Albert Park came out stronger in the second half as Nam Lee made it 3-0 and Hung Do added their 4th as Albert Park took a 1 goal lead on aggregate. Mutabazi made it 5-0 as Albert Park looked like running over the top of their higher rated opposition. Alex Vasilevski struck the woodwork as it looked as if it would not be Brimbanks night when a counter attack was finished off by Lee. Alija Karic pulled one back but it was never going to be enough as Brimbank became the first side relegated from the V-League Premiership while on Albert Parks side they gained promotion back into the V-League after just one season out of it.
9:50pm Fitzroy FC 2-2 Hume FC 02/05/12 (7-8) Aggregate – Second Leg
After seeing Albert Park overturn a 3 goal to gain promotion Hume would have been hoping they could hold onto their 1 goal advantage and they got off to the perfect start after a Tony Massinde own goal opened the scoring. A brilliant through ball from Armellini allowed D’Ortenzio to win a penalty which was easily converted by Richard Ferguson. 1-1 at half time and Hume were still going through on aggregate. An amazing effort from Fitzroy’s Italian superstar Robert Armellini scored a brilliant solo goal to have the tigers level on aggregate. Cesur Cicekburg equlaised soon after for Hume on the night and it proved the match winner as they gained promotion back into the V-League for the 2012 season. While historic club Fitzroy suffer relegation for the first time in their history.
10:40pm – Mickleham FC 3-11 Elsternwick FC 02/05/12 (6-14) – Second Leg
Final clash of the relegation play offs was between two sides hungry to be in the league next season. 3-3 after the first leg both sides would have fancied their chances of winning the tie. Elternwick’s Steven Nicoliades rattled the crossbar with a free kick. Zoran Zardoski continued his good run of form opening the scoring with a tidy finish. Ben Gearboc equalized with a stunning left foot volley soon after. George Panagiotidis was left unmarked at the back post from a corner which he rifled into the top corner past the Mickleham stopper Charlie Ekoustidis. Some good work from Simon Pincic helped level the scores once again but it was quickly cancelled out as Andrew Skoullos easily rounded the Mickleham defence to give his side the lead once again and he was visibly happy celebrating to the Elsternwick fan base. A brilliant backheel from Zardoski set up Kurt Marrotta for his first just before the half time break. Gearboc conceded a 5th foul penalty which was well put away by Erol Korknaz as they went into half time with a 3 goal advantage. A brilliant passing move from Mickleham helped Simon Pincic pull one back for the Hammers, but that was all the good news for Mickleham in the second half as Elsternwick ran riot with Zardoski setting up Rajab before a great finish from Marrotta almost certainly confirmed their promotion to the V-League. Marrotta completed his hat-trick after some good work from Nicoliades, a well placed ball from Skoullos set up Marrotta for his 4th of the night. Marrotta was having a night to remember as he added his 5th goal of the game and his 4th of the second half to make it 10-4 on the night. There would be one last hurrah for Elsternwick as Zardoski rounded the keeper to end the night on a high and gain promotion to the V-League Premiership.