The big games continue to come in NPL Victoria as Western United hosted Ballarat City and Calder United faced Heidelberg United in two huge fixtures.
Western United NPL 3 Men’s Under 21’s
Western United 2-2 Ballarat City
Goal scorers: A.Walatee (26’), G.Greer (81’)
Western United’s Under 21’s had a tough afternoon at City Vista Recreation Reserve, needing to come from behind twice to secure a 2-2 draw against Ballarat City.
The visitors took the lead 15 minutes into the match before Abel Walatee equalised shortly after, but the Green and Black would again go behind just before the half-time interval.
Vaughan Coveny’s men searched for a second equaliser and it took until the 81st minute, with Gus Greer stepping up to restore parity and earn his side a point.
Western United NPL 3 Men’s Senior’s
Western United 3-2 Ballarat City
Goal scorers: Y.Panakos (13’, 41’, 56’)
The Senior’s had a similarly tough contest in the later kick-off, but a magical performance from Yianni Panakos helped secure the Green and Black a crucial victory.
After Melbourne Victory had lost to North Sunshine Eagles the day before, Anthony Frost knew a win could take his side above Victory into third place on goal difference.
But Ballarat were never willing to lie down and twice came from behind to equalise Panakos’ brace and head into half-time with the score at 2-2.
Panakos had only scored twice in the whole season prior to this weekend but eclipsed his tally in one hit, completing his hat-trick in the 56th minute before United held on to claim a crucial three points.
Calder United NPL Victoria Girl’s Under 19’s
Calder United 4-0 Heidelberg United
Goal scorers: S.Cappola (5’), O.Anderson (13’), L.Ivey (38’), M.Yamasaki Davis (78’)
Every game is a big game for Calder United’s Under 19’s side with the Premiership race heating up heading into the final three rounds.
To that end, Josip Loncaric ensured there was no complacency as his side met bottom of the table Heidelberg United.
Sienna Cappola scored her second goal in as many matches to set the tone after just five minutes, and it was 3-0 before half-time as Olivia Anderson and Lily Ivey found the net.
The pick of the bunch, though, was the fourth and final goal – an outstanding long-range effort from Minami Yamasaki Davis that sailed over the goalkeeper’s head.
The win keeps Calder at the top of the league ahead of a huge end to the season, in which the side will meet both of the other top three sides in the final two matches.
Calder United NPLW Victoria Senior’s
Calder United 2-1 Heidelberg United
Goal scorers: A.Cerne (65’), E.Robers (89’)
Mark Torcaso’s Calder United Senior’s went head-to-head with Heidelberg United in a top of the table clash, knowing a win could be crucial in the hunt for the Premiership.
With the game being played at the Veneto Club in Bulleen, Calder started strongly but slowly lost control of the first half, and Heidelberg took advantage by converting a 19th-minute penalty.
Coming out of half-time with a deficit to overturn, Calder turned on the style to increase the pressure on Heidelberg’s goal, but it always felt as if only a piece of magic could unlock the door.
No stranger to a piece of magic, Alana Cerne stepped up just past the hour mark to intercept a ball in midfield and blast a long-range drive into the bottom right corner, hauling the side on level terms.
Despite Calders pressure, Alyssa Dall’Oste was required to make two world-class saves to keep the scores level before Alexis Rossi made a critical block in the box.
Substitute Emma Robers had a significant impact on the match, instilling control into the midfield and produced the crowning moment on the stroke of the final whistle.
As the ball bounced up in front of her on the edge of the box, Robers stepped into a thumping volley that flew past the Heidelberg goalkeeper, sparking wild celebrations and moving Calder two points clear of Heidelberg at the top of the table with a game in hand.
For now though, attentions will turn to Sunday’s NIKE F.C. Cup Grand Final against South Melbourne, with Calder chasing a fifth consecutive crown.