Lacy McNaughton and Brandyn Clifford were key players in the U14s defence.

In the Leongatha Under 17s girls match, Anna Heneghan outruns her Drouin opponents.

DROUIN Dragons, Inverloch Stars, Korumburra City, Lang Lang United, Leongatha Knights, Mirboo North United, Phillip Island Breakers, Prom Coast Pirates, Trafalgar Victory, and Wonthaggi United Football Clubs were all back on field on Sunday.

With men’s, women’s, Under 12s, Under 14s and Under 17s teams hitting the green, it was time to show off the hat tricks, crosses and volleys.

With some fantastic offence and defence, spectators were treated to what promises to be a brilliant season in 2022.

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Juniors – Leongatha

Playing against Drouin, the U12s drew 1-1, U14s lost 2-7, U17s girls won 6-2 and the U17s mixed lost 1-3.

Reserves – Leongatha

Missing significant numbers this week, Leongatha Knights Reserves relied on the support of U17s players Luke Murphy, James Heneghan and River Thomas to take on Drouin in the first round of the Gippsland Soccer League. An unfortunate penalty early in the game saw the Dragons take the lead and a subsequent goal towards the end of the half saw them 2 goals up at half time. Dominant play from the defence lead by player of the match, Goal keeper Chris Gale ensured that no more goals were conceded. Though a number of shots were set up over the course of the game, it was Jack Bainbridge controlled possession and shot that put a score on the board for Leongatha to end the game with a 1-2 loss.

Women – Leongatha

Leongatha Knights women’s team continued their dominant run from last week’s preseason tournament win to secure a strong result of 11-0 in their favour. Goal scorers included, Gabby Bastick, Sarah Doolan, Kathy Zacharopoulos and Kiera Williams. Maddy Herbert made her debut with the senior squad subbing in as Goal keeper at the 25 minute mark. Tammy McCaughan celebrated her fiftieth game playing for the club.

Seniors – Leongatha

GSL round 1 saw LKFC take on league giants Drouin Dragons at their home ground. Having put in a strong pre-season the Senior Mens team were keen to test the waters against their usually dominant opponents. An excellent pressing pace saw Leongatha take the lead with a combination play in the box that resulted in new recruit Aidan Hall slotting in his first goal for the club. Leongatha continued to keep the pace strong through the half, denying Drouin the room to move. It was a wonderful shot from outside the 18 yard box that saw winger and player of the match Henry Mbuthia score his first senior goal for the club. Captain PJ O’Meara followed 10 minutes later with his own confidently struck goal into the bottom left corner. Though no further goals were scored in the second half, Leongatha continued their dominance by consistently shutting down space when possession turned over. A dangerous tackle against midfielder Sam Bainbridge saw a red card shown to a Drouin player leaving them down to ten players for the remainder of the game, with the Knights taking the win 3-0. A special mention to goal keeper Charlie Dougherty for his steady hands and clean sheet.

Gippsland FC – Under 15s

Sunday’s match for the Gippsland FC U15s against Berwick City pretty much summed up the team’s Qualification Round for 2022. Only 11 fit players were available for GFC, some players required to isolate and another four regulars out with injury. Meanwhile our opposition arrived from Berwick with a full squad and primed to take home the points and boost their goal difference. This unhappy coincidence has occurred too often so far this season.

The lads who were able to take the field this week battled manfully and for long periods were able to keep Berwick at bay, frustrating their efforts. However, the dam wall could only hold out for so long and our opposition were able to score a pile of goals at regular intervals. A 0-7 score line at half time would end up a 0-12 full time score.
For Gippsland stand in keeper Tanna Leicester came up with some amazing saves, Noah Jackson, Luca Dicorleto and Angus Dempsey battled hard in defence.

The season proper gets underway May 1st. The GFC U15s squad will be seeded in the Third NPL Division and with a full list will be looking forward to an improved showing for the rest of the year.

Gippsland FC – Under 16s

There were goals galore in the first half of the Under 16 match against Berwick. At half time the scores had Gippsland down 2 goals to 4. Gippsland was the first to get a score on the board, when a ball was rebounded back by the Berwick keeper, straight at the feet of Ronald Kong, who slotted it through. Only minutes later, Berwick levelled the scores and then scored again in the 15th minute.
Gippsland were not done, despite requiring a few of the under 15s to fill spots due to illness. It was one of these young guns, Spencer Boughton, who scored Gippsland’s second goal.

The second half was hard fought. Despite Brody Demagistris scoring a goal in the 61st minute, Berwick, with fresh legs held on to win the game 6-3.

The Under 16s have had a hard introduction to the 2022 season. They have been hit hard by injuries and Covid. Not for one week have they been able to field their entire squad. Thankfully the under 15s have always stepped up and shown great maturity playing against the bigger bodies of the opposition.

They look forward to the season proper beginning and hopefully having the full use of their squad.

Gippsland FC – Under 18s

The last grading game for the u18s took place in windy and hot conditions at Trafalgar as Gippsland FC took on Berwick.
Gippsland started the better of the two teams and it wasn’t long before Julian Colantuono found the back of the net giving the home team a well-earned lead. A quarter of an hour later and with his first touch of the game, Hayden Berton would score Gippsland’s second goal as the boys looked to press home the advantage. Shortly after and following several more chances, Tana Betera would score Gippsland FCs third goal giving them a handy lead going into halftime.

Berwick came out strong in the second half and piled the pressure on the home team. Berwick would score a much needed goal which gave them some hope of getting back into the game. Gippsland FC held firm however, finishing the game on top with a comfortable 3-1 win.

The home team came out hard in the second half, desperately trying to get a goal back. Brodyn Taylor was creating chances as was Harry Bettridge and with the rest of the Gippsland FC team lifting it seemed like a matter of when, not if they scored. Dandenong Thunder held on though handing Gippsland FC a 1 nil loss.
Next games: Sunday, May 1, 2022 – round one draw currently under development.