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Five people left in the 2020 FFA Cup

Pines punished: Frankston Pines goalkeeper Jarrod Nardino had an eventful afternoon at the Monterey Reserve on Saturday. Image: John Punshon


SEAFORD United was the only local team to survive last weekend’s FFA Cup games.

The draw for the next round was to be conducted today (Tuesday) as we went to press.

Langwarrin, Mornington, Peninsula Strikers and Skye United have all entered the draw this week, so only five out of 12 local clubs that contested Australia’s main knockout competition in 2020 remain on the hunt for glory.

Harry McCartney reports that Seaford had to undergo a nervous penalty shot against visitor Brunswick Zebras on Saturday.

The local outfit won the 7-6 showdown after the teams had been locked together 2-2 after normal time and could not be separated after 30 minutes of extra time.

Seaford had started well with young striker Conor Mcfall throwing a cross in the tenth minute, then hit his shot off the nearby post.

McFall had trained with rival State 4 club Baxter the previous week before agreeing on the conditions for staying at the North Seaford Reserve.

In the 32nd minute Mitch Hawkins led Brunswick goalkeeper Nicholas Manduca and the home team had a firm grip on the match.

A mistake by Seaford goalkeeper Ryan Ramsden in the second half gave a goal to Hogan Somers and Christian Smith forced the tie in overtime when he scored 2-2.

The stalemate has not been resolved and Seaford substitute Justin Holland, who arrived at the end of normal time, made his third penalty saved in subsequent cup matches to send the home team to the next round.

State 4’s Chelsea were knocked out of the cup last Saturday after a 5-1 home defeat against opponent State 5 Mount Waverly City.

Visitors to Edithvale Reserve ended this clash in the first 45 minutes and went at intervals with a 4-0 lead.

Chelsea lacked key players and this proved crucial.

His only response was a spectacular solo action by Luke D’Alessandro in the 57th minute, when he faced three opponents to the left before hitting the ball in the top corner.

But this turned out to be of little importance when a hat-trick from Evan Devlin and singles for Mount Waverley captain James Kelly and Alec Tsementzis took visitors to the next round.

Despite the loss, it would be a mistake to dismiss Chelsea’s prospects this season.

Coach Carlo Melino has been busy reinforcing his team and probably his biggest coup was the signing of Yarra Jets’ forward Piers Brelsford, who was the second best scorer in the State 5 East last season.

Other newcomers were Ringwood City’s Will Ong winger, former Mornington defender Sam Dunn, Beaumaris defensive midfielder Nathan Boccari, former Bayside Argonauts forward Adrian Lotca and two young men returning to the club by attacking midfielder Abdul Mohammad and right back Josh Torossian.

When visiting Monterey Reserve, the visitor of State 5, Barwon embarrassed his opponent of State 3 by obtaining a well-deserved 4-2 winner.

Frankston Pines had gone to the cup game without their much-vaunted Fiji international quartet.

Their international clearances weren’t processed in time, so they enjoyed an informal walk in the friendly reserves that the home team won 9-2.

The cup fight was a completely different matter.

An intriguing mix of slapstick defense, remarkable goalkeeper reflex and final so bad that it was believed made for an interesting afternoon for the 42 spectators who were there from the beginning.

That figure includes a handful of young children and does not include the reserve teams and support staff who were in and around the locker rooms after playing their part in the proceedings.

A square defense of Barwon playing a high defensive line invited Pines to challenge one on one in the first half against opposition goalkeeper Kieran Ower.

It didn’t matter because Lachlan McMinimee was unable to hit the target after putting pressure on Ower towards an unattended target, so Captain Pines CJ Hodgson shot deep after being knocked out.

Callum Richardson scored his shot after freeing himself in the 34th minute when the ball fell on McMinimee whose first attempt from close range was parried by the advance Ower and his second attempt largely deflected the target.

Barwon should have gone on a few minutes earlier when Nathan Niedzwiedzki’s cross from the right had spotted the unmarked Moo Thay on the rear post, but headed straight for Pines goalkeeper Jarrod Nardino.

The mighty Pines warrior had to play a pivotal role in the proceedings, first with a disastrous piece of goalkeeper in the middle of the half, then with a series of incredible reaction saves after the interval that prevented Barwon from blowing up Pines.

Jardino attempted to throw the ball to a teammate in the first half added only to hit the back of Barwon’s Ni Reh who turned around and scored the opener.

In the first 10 minutes of the second period Barwon striker Mylton Bailey would have had a hat trick if Nardino had not reacted so quickly using every inch of his long reach to make a series of blank saves.

So Hodgson blew up his second big chance, when scored by Joe O’Connor and on the other end yet another rescue from Nardino denied Moo Thay.

But Barwon finally broke in the 66th minute when Moo Thay was sent off by Bailey 2-0.

Pines boss Kevin “Squizzy” Taylor exploded in the technical area rude his players and slammed their performances.

Hodgson then unwrapped his captain’s armband and later Pines claimed it was simply because it was too tight and annoyed him.

Timing was unfortunate.

But Pines responds in the 70th minute when Richardson descends into the area and the penalty that follows is easily converted by Hodgson.

McMinimee should have done better with his header at the end of Cole Ryan’s cross from the right, but O’Connor made amends when he ran on a filtering pass in the 84th minute and on the rebound he pressed Ower to do 2-2.

In the first minute of injury, the elusive Moo Thay ran away once again and made the ball go past Jardino to make it 3-2.

Three minutes later Bailey freezed him with a close-up shot, an adequate reward for the seventeen-year-old who was the best player on the pitch.

In the news of State 2, the tug of war ended to secure the signing of the attacking midfielder Shane Tagliaferro and agreed on the terms with Peninsula Strikers.

“Tag” trained with Seaford United and Strikers and Strikers head coach Paul Williams was happy to announce last week that his club had signed the veteran.

“Shane is part of the process of building an exciting team that has a good blend of experience and youth,” said Williams.

“He is a cultured and creative midfielder who can dictate time and I am sure he will bring us his fair share of assists and goals.”

In state news 4, Baxter received a blow to the body with news that central defender Matt McDermott has a sustained fractured fibula against Darebin United in the FFA Cup about fifteen days ago.

The break is the result of a reckless challenge in the 71st minute by Frank Drakopoulos of Darebin who left the referee Jackson Landy with no choice but to send him away.

McDermott has had to be replaced and the veteran should be put aside for 6-8 weeks.

Drakopoulos was given a three-week suspension that drops to two weeks with a reason for guilt.

Last weekend’s friendlies results: Langwarrin 2 (Delarno Pharoe, George Howard penalty) Nunawading City 1; Bentleigh Cobras 2 Peninsula Strikers 2; Pakenham Utd 1 Somerville Eagles 3 (Bjorn Kutschera, Jack Wyer, own goal); HMAS Cerberus 3 Rosebud 4 (Cory Osorio, Blake Hicks, Owen McDougall, Michael Durrance).

Saturday’s Mornington friendly at Caroline Springs home George Cross was abandoned after Mornington team manager Tony McKay collapsed in the locker room before the game and had to be rushed to hospital.

There was no further information as we went to press.

Mornington wishes to thank George Cross for being understanding and respectful of the situation.

Pre-season friendlies this weekend:

THURSDAY: Endeavor Hills Fire v Chelsea, Power Reserve, 18.30 and 20.30.

FRIDAY: Frankston Pines – Rosebud, Monterey Reserve, 18.30 and 20.30.

SATURDAY: Baxter v Aspendale Stingrays, Baxter Park, 13:00 and 15:00; Knox Utd against Somerville Eagles, Park Ridge Reserve, 13:00 and 15:00; Monte Martha v Monte Eliza, College of Padua, 13:00 and 15:00.

First published in Mornington News – March 10, 2020


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