FTZ: M. Burton 3, J. Melo 2, J. Silveria 2, A. Dunlop 2
MICK: H. Hasanikhoo 3, L. Campbell, O. Humennyj-Jameson
The first game to kick off the first round of the 2014 season saw Fitzroy take on Mickleham who were buoyed by defeating Brunswick in the playoff game last week. The first half was packed with goals as the score ended 4-4. But unfortunately for Mickleham they could not keep momentum in the second half going as Fitzroy – as predicted – had more quality at the key moments to deliver the three points with a solid 9-5 win. Fitzroy veteran mark Burton was the difference as he added a hat trick – further showing his importance to the squad – while there were doubles fro Junior Melo, Joao Silveria and Alistair Dunlop. Mickleham were guided by a Hamid Hassanikhoo hat trick as well as singles from Lachie Campbell and first gamer Orien Humenny-Jameson who looks to be a promising youngster.
Man of the Match: Mark Burton (Fitzroy)
After missing the Foz Cup semi final loss to Pascoe Vale, Mark Burton’s hat trick upon return shows just how important the defender is to the fortunes of his side. Hopefully the former New Zealand international can keep putting in performances like tonights for fitzroy to have a better chance of claiming silverware in 2014.
Photo: Fitzroy’s Mark Burton is embraced by team captain Alistair Dunlop after converting a vital goal.
VV: Jon. Barrientos 2, K. Machoy 2, M. Avram, Jas. Barrientos
ASH: R. Castro, M. Matar, D. Slovacek, R. Ferguson
The second game on the Round 1 card saw current league champions in the Vic Vipers take on an ever improving Ashburton. First half action saw the Vipers take a 2-1 lead into the break as goals from Jason Barrientos and Konrad Machoy outshone former Brunswick winger, Danny Slovacek’s effort for his new side Ashburton. The second half was a different story as the Green Machine threw everything at the vipers and more to try and get an upset, delivering plenty of beautiful passages of play. but the Vipers had all the answers, led from the back by captain Johnathan Barrientos who claimed a double, while there were also singles from Machoy and Maxi Avram to put the Vipers firmly in control. Ashburton were able to manage late efforts from Ricky Castro, Moe Matar and Richie Ferguson, but a;though a tough showing from Ben Geaboc’s men it wasn’t enough to break down a solid Vipers unit.
Man of the Match: Johnathan Barrientos (Vic Vipers)
The Vipers captain had a brilliant 2013/14 season in which he mostly held up his sides defence as Adam Cooper missed a fair portion of the season. Now, in 2014 it seems that Barrientos has continued his fine form for his club as he kept the dangerous Ricky Castro to a solitary goal and also added two goals of his own to steady the ship as Ashburton continually added pressure.
Photo: Vic Vipers captain Johnny Barrientos (R) had a brilliant outing against Ashburton, keeping the physical Ricky Castro (L) at bay.
PV: S. Soufi 3, L. Kruel, M. Rocca, P. Ventania, A. Battaia, D. Vasic (OG)
BAL: B. Bodo 2, S. La Manda, L. Kruel (OG)
The next game on the card saw the newly crowned FOz Cup champions in Pascoe Vale go up against the winners of the State League in Balwyn. Back in the top flight after a two season absence, Balwyn were out to make there mark against one of the giants of the league and they certainly sent their message as they went into a 2-0 lead from Simon La Manda and a Lucas Kruel own goal. But their joy really was short lived as Pascoe bounced back with singels from Sofiane Soufi, Lucas Kruel and Matteo Rocca to take the lead at the break. The second half saw Pascoe really put the screws in a Balwyn side missing three key players as Soufi looked in fine form completing his hat trick while Pedro and Alessio Battaia both added singles. Stand in Captain for Balwyn, Ben Bodo was a shining light for his side both in defence and up front adding a double, but it wasn’t enough to topple Pascoe Vale who were more than deserving of the three points.
Man of the Match: Sofiane Soufi (Pascoe Vale)
The giant French striker is often the focal point for opposing defenders as the former Golden Boot winner is so prolific in front of goal. But as much as Balwyn threw at Sofiane Soufi, there was no slowing him down as he added three match winning goals to seal the all important win.
Photo: Pascoe Vale’s Sofiane Soufi on his way to scoring in the second half past Balwyn’s Frano Saric.
HME: G. Harrison 4, S. Rashidi 2, U. Cicek, A. Azzam
MET: E. Simsek 2, M. Vragovski (OG)
The final game for Round 1 of the 2014 season saw the recent FOz Cup finalists Metropolitan take to the pitch against Hume. The last meeting between the two clubs was in last weeks FOz Cup where Metro were easy winners. So when Hume found themselves in a 4-2 half time lead, Metro certainly had it all to do in the second half. George Harrison was the star performer for the Army with a stunning hat trick and Ahmed Azzam also chipped in with a goal, where Ernie Simsek’s double was the Royal Blues were in with a chance at the break. With the return of Hume’s general, Amin Keddad, he was able to maintain the momentum throughout the squad well into the second half as his masterstroke move of deploying George Harrison up front and having Shayan Rashidi and Ahmed Azzam at the back payed dividends. Hume continued to pile on the goals as Metro’s cup run seemed to have taken it’s toll on the Blues’ thin squad. Shayan Rashidi relished more game time by adding a double as Harrison added a fourth and youngster Ubeyde Cicek added a single. In a disappointing outing for Alija Redzepovic’s side, all they could muster on the scoreboard was an own goal turned in by Hume’s Matty Vragovski. Metro certainly looked worse for wear after their impressive cup run, but if they are to indeed challenge for this seasons title they need a larger squad. Hume on the other hand, also depleted, looked like the Army of old and with Amin Keddad back at the helm they could be in for a big 2014.
Man of the Match: George Harrison (Hume)
As mentioned previously, Amin Keddad’s move of having George Harrison – normally an attacking defender – placed up front was the match winning move. Harrison, known for his thumping left foot strikes wreaked havoc on Michael Chami’s goal bagging four in a match winning performance. It should be noted that the result wouldn’t have been possible without the defensive effort of Azzam and Rashidi. It really was a return to the Hume of old!
Photo: Hume’s new look defensive pairing of Shayan Rashidi (L) and Ahmed Azzam celebrate a second half goal.