FALCONS halted Sale United’s rise with a 2-1 home win in the Gippsland Soccer League on Saturday night.
Both sides had their chances and with the first half nearing completion, Falcons broke the stalemate when Sam Amaira converted a penalty after Nick D’Allesandro was brought down.
The aerial presence of Sale’s Jon Piefke was the main danger for the Falcons and with the visitor knocking long balls deep into the box, the Falcons defenders had to be very alert.
Romi Bitar had the first chance of the second half for Sale, but his looping header could only connect with the far post with the rebound being cleared. It didn’t take long for Sale to get the equalizer through Piefke after he was first to react to a loose ball in the box and volleyed home a superb finish.
Both sides pushed for the win, but it was Falcons who prevailed when Amaira finished a D’Allesandro cross with a great back post header with eight minutes to spare.
FORTUNA has blown the title race wide upon with a gutsy 2-1 victory over Churchill United to reel the Rams’ lead at the top of the table to two points.
In a scrappy match, an undermanned Fortuna was too good for Churchill, taking its opportunities to score clinically and defending to a man to deny the Rams.
The opening was cagey until five minutes before the break when Fortuna opened the scoring after Joel Baldwin put a great ball on goal for Joel Pirotta to coolly finish.
A minute before the break it was 2-0 when Fortuna turned defence into attack for Baldwin to release Hayden Tanti who weaved past two Churchill defenders to score past the advancing goalkeeper Jason Sands.
The second half saw Churchill pick up the pace, but was unable to ignite its fluent attacking play that had characterised its season to date.
Fortuna soaked up the pressure and when Tanti succumbed to a hamstring injury, former AFL player Troy Makepeace made his senior GSL debut as his substitute.
Churchill introduced Taylor Jackson, who made an immediate impact forcing a great save from Fortuna keeper Dean Hamilton with his 30 yard attempt just tipped around the post.
Sensing a comeback, returning Rams striker Kwaku Dade took the field to increase the pressure another notch and with a minute of regular time Churchill reduced the deficit when coach Luke Cheney pounced on a loose ball.
Churchill almost claimed a face saving draw when Dade shot from just inside the 18 yard box and clipped the top of the cross bar.
Time ran out for Churchill as Fortuna regained control of its season’s destiny.
IN other results, Tyers produced a 15-minute blitz to come from two goals down to upset Monash 4-3, Moe United scored only its second win of the season with a 3-1 triumph over Traralgon Olympians, and Traralgon City came back from a one down to defeat Newborough Yallourn United 2-1 to arrest a three-match losing streak.
SALE United, now in fourth place on the ladder, will this Sunday host fifth-placed Monash, who will welcome back injured trio Wally Noppert, Coen Slaughter and Matt Stansbury.
Moe will be hoping to build on its recent form when it hosts Newborough-Yallourn in a local derby, while Traralgon City will be weary of the very capable Tyers.
On Saturday night, Fortuna when play at Olympians, while Falcons will host Churchill.