THERE was no love lost between Latrobe Valley Soccer League titans Falcons and Sale United last season and the trend continued in a classic 3-3 draw in Morwell on Sunday.
The Birds were made to pay for defensive lapses as the Swans took full advantage of limited opportunities in front of goal to snatch a valuable point on the road.
After making his senior return against Pegasus, following several years sidelined with a knee injury, Julian Baccega sent the home side ahead 1-0 on the half hour mark as Falcons dictated the pace.
An Adam Buchanan “Hail Mary” from the halfway line remarkably found the back of the net to level the scores, but Jesse Kennedy restored the home side’s advantage with a goal on the stroke of half-time.
Buchanan took full toll again after the break with a superb left foot strike to snatch a brace and draw level.
Kennedy matched the feat at the other end with his second from a goal mouth scramble with about 20 minutes to play, but the drama continued when Sale nabbed a back post header to equalise.
It was end-to-end for the final throes as both outfits threw caution to the wind but neither could find a winner.
In the match of the round, Newborough-Yallourn escaped Olympic Park with a point after squeezing out a 1-1 draw against Moe United.
Mark Fairbrother’s second half deflection was cancelled out by Matt Shearing’s diving header for the Red Devils in a frenzied five minute exchange of goals during the second half.
Monash claimed the three points at Tyers with a late second half blitz.
The visitors controlled much of the possession in the first half, but Tyers held firm at the back with Steve Ward largely untested in goal and it remained scoreless at the break.
It took the introduction of Monash coach Andres Nilo for the Wolves to kick into gear.
Ty Christy continued his goal scoring form with his fourth in succession when he ghosted around Ward to slot home.
Shawn Lawrence then doubled the lead, ghosting in at the back post to volley home unchallenged.
Leon Cook produced a smart stop to thwart Tyers before Braden Paulet sealed the 3-0 win, breaking free down the right before cutting in and firing into the top of the net.
This Sunday, fifth-placed Sale United will host Churchill United.
The Rams moved into third place on the table with a 2-0 victory over Pegasus at home.
Also on Sunday, second-placed Fortuna will host neighbour Falcons in a Morwell derby.
The bottom two sides East Gippsland United and Tyers will have a chance to post a maiden win when they meet at Bairnsdale.
In other matches, Moe United will host Traralgon Olympians, Monash will welcome Trafalgar Victory, and Newborough-Yallourn will head to Traralgon to play City.
Pegasus will have the bye.
THE LVSL junior season begins on Saturday.
The two Sale under 12 teams will be at home with Green taking on Traralgon City White, and White meeting Olympians.
In the under 14s, Sale Green and White will meet Traralgon City teams at home.
The Sale under 16 team will host Traralgon City White.