Pines, Seaford still in hunt, Langy plays for pride
Frankston area wrap-up.
Danny Verdun dares to dream as Frankston Pines finds itself caught in the middle of one of the biggest promotion logjams throughout the Victorian senior men’s leagues.
When the ex-Knox City coach was lured to Monterey Reserve for 2012 his brief was simple: avoid relegation.
Easier said than done given that Pines had dropped from the Victorian Premier League to the Provisional League in successive seasons.
Fast forward to the last two rounds of this season and president Gary Hodgson and his committee have to keep pinching themselves as Pines are one of four sides in Provisional One South-East still in the race for second spot with just three points separating them.
Old Melburnians is expected to win its game in hand against Hampton Park United and become the fifth side in the promotion squeeze.
The promotion incumbent, Riversdale, faces two away games – against fifth-placed Monbulk Rangers and fourth-placed Sandringham City – and Verdun is not averse to playing mind games.
“Gee they’re difficult games, aren’t they? I wouldn’t like to have them,” said the Pines coach.
“Mind you we’ve got Croydon this weekend and their coach was at our game on Saturday so they’re keen to finish off the season as well as possible.
“But so am I. We know we have to win our last two games to have any chance at all and I’m as competitive as any other person so if I get a sniff look out.”
Pines had been walloped 6-0 the previous week but hit back on Saturday with a 2-1 away win over Monash Uni thanks to goals from Shayan Missaghi and Chris “CJ” Hodgson.
State Three outfit Peninsula Strikers had to settle for a 2-2 draw at home against Old Scotch on Saturday but early in the second half the host was staring at a two-goal deficit.
Ben Caffrey put Alex Akrivopoulos through and he made it 2-1 before a stunning Alex Calder free kick levelled the scores.
Strikers can thank keeper Sean Skelly for a share of the spoils as his superb double save in the dying seconds saved the day.
Provisional Two outfits Seaford United and Skye United were pleased with Saturday’s results for very different reasons.
Seaford’s 2-0 away win over bottom side Lyndale maintained its slim hope of promotion while Skye’s see-sawing 3-3 draw away to Boroondara Eagles made improbable relegation a mathematical impossibility.
Luke Gale and Dave Greening were Seaford’s goalscorers with Gale netting the opener with an excellent volley in the first half and Greening showing his usual predatory prowess pouncing on a Matty Curd shot that had been parried early in the second stanza and tucking it away.
However, Seaford’s fate is not in its own hands as second-placed Middle Park will be promoted if it defeats Ashburton United and Boroondara Eagles in its last two games.
Seaford is fourth and faces a tricky assignment this weekend when it travels to Shipston Reserve in Cheltenham to take on fifth-placed Bayside Argonauts.
“I can see it all coming down to that last day when everyone is phoning each other to find out who has gone up and who has missed out,” said Seaford coach Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor.
There will be no final-round phone calls from Skye United whose president Chris Attard can finally breathe easier after Saturday’s draw with second-bottom Boroondara.
Skye was 2-0 down but fought back to go in level at the interval then went 3-2 down in the second half before equalising late in the match.
Djuro Mirkovic, Darren Roberts and Matty Bruce were Skye’s scorers and don’t be surprised if coach John Bruce uses the last two games to bring some youngsters into the side with an eye on next season.
Langwarrin and Baxter didn’t figure in last weekend’s catch-up round but Langy still has a lot to play for to maintain its claim to fame as the best club in the Frankston and Mornington peninsula area.
Gus Macleod’s Langy has lost both local derbies in State Two South-East against Adam Jamieson’s Mornington but with six points to play for just two points separate these sides.
Macleod and Jamieson are proud men and their players would like nothing better than to enter the off-season with bragging rights.
That should set up an interesting season’s finale but the odds are heavily stacked in Mornington’s favour given that Langy’s last two games are against promotion candidates Malvern City and Box Hill United.
Fixtures for rounds 21 and 22:
Saturday 15 September, 3pm: Langwarrin v Malvern City (Lawton Park), Frankston Pines v Croydon (Monterey Reserve), Bayside Argonauts v Seaford Utd (Shipston Reserve), Skye Utd v Old Carey (Skye Recreational Reserve).
Saturday 15 September 7pm: Eltham v Baxter (Eltham North Reserve).
Saturday 15 September 8pm: Old Scotch v Peninsula Strikers (Knox Regional Football Centre).
Saturday 22 September, 3pm: Box Hill United v Langwarrin (Wembley Park), Hampton Park Utd v Frankston Pines (KM Reedy Reserve), Collingwood City v Skye Utd (Kevin Bartlett Reserve), Seaford Utd v Ashburton Utd (North Seaford Reserve), Baxter v Ringwood City (Baxter Park).
Sunday, 23 September, 3pm: Peninsula Strikers v North Caulfield (Centenary Park).