ON a bright Sunday afternoon and with a brisk north-westerly at their backs for the first half, Inverloch Stars took on Leongatha at McMahon’s Reserve in the best conditions of the last several weeks.
The Stars were looking to bounce back after the disappointment of relinquishing their undefeated status courtesy of a late goal at Drouin the week before.
Inverloch’s tight passing game had their opponents on the back foot early, before Joe Licciardi broke through the blue and white defence with a fine shot from the top of the box.
The pressure continued as Oscar Price fielded a deflection close to the edge of the penalty area and made no mistake with the chance on offer.
Leongatha was looking dangerous on the break, but couldn’t find a way past the Stars’ defence, marshalled as usual by Gene Parini who continued to rack up important touches of his own.
When Licciardi turned provider, feeding a superb through ball for San Oo to chip the keeper, it ushered in a purple patch for the Stars’ striker.
Over the next 10 minutes he took a deflected ball to his chest before shooting accurately from within the box, and then drew a penalty from a rash challenge which he duly put away to bring up his hat-trick before the break.
It was 5-0 to the Stars in one of their best halves of the season.
With the breeze behind them Leongatha proved more of a handful in the second half, with Ethan Bath getting off some good shots while Darcy O’Conner continued to play a fine captain’s game.
But the Stars’ young keeper Will Semple was putting his body behind everything that came his way, and Barry Farrell put the icing on the cake when after riding a strong challenge he managed to chip an excellent goal from a tight angle.
Leongatha fought on to the end but couldn’t quite fashion a consolation.
The final score was 6-0 to Inverloch, with Semple holding out for a well-deserved clean sheet.
Fast finishing United draw level with Drouin
• Under 16s
A BITTER wind blew across the Wonthaggi Recreation Reserve ground for the game against Mirboo North.
The match started off well with each team determined to take the advantage before the wind advantage was too great to overcome.
Mirboo North attacked from the outset, giving the Wonthaggi boys a run for their money.
Wonthaggi’s young Andrew Hvartin was playing well and set up a good chance for Nick Lawson to score the first goal.
Mirboo North’s No 2 player hit back quickly with a run through the defence to equalise.
April Htoo and Nick Lawson were able to score to take the lead back for Wonthaggi.
Mirboo North’s goalkeeper was playing well with some good saves.
Wonthaggi’s midfielder Nathan Tong took on the Mirboo North defence and scored.
At half time the score was 4-1 to Wonthaggi.
The second half saw United working together well and showing what a strong team they can be.
Andrew Hvartin scored early, and a goal from Nick Lawson followed shortly after putting the game out of reach.
Wonthaggi continued to attack and Mirboo North’s goalkeeper Ben Phillips had his work cut out.
He gave it his best shot but a penalty gave Nathan Tong his second and as Mirboo North lost its structure, further goals were scored by Andrew Hvartin and Isaac Busnana.
The percentage boosting performance now sees Wonthaggi and Drouin in equal first on the minor premiership ladder with 30 points each.