SA LE United has established a four-point break to Fortuna and Monash after it defeated East Gippsland United 3-1 in a tight battle at Baldwin Reserve.
The Swans, on 28 points, need every point they can get to stay in third place on the Latrobe Valley Soccer League. They are being challenged by Fortuna and Monash on 24, Traralgon City on 23 and sitting on 22 are Moe United and Traralgon City.
It’s going to be tight at the top, with the top two positions almost safe, but there is a battle royale brewing between third and seventh places.
On Sunday, Josh Ryan opened the scoring for Sale after 16 minutes, but East Gippsland equalised 11 minutes later with a good set shot from Thomas Deery.
Sale was relieved when Tommy Nguyen posted the Swans’ second goal after 37 minutes. It was 3-1 at half-time after Nathi Khamchom just beat the whistle.
Neither team scored in the second stanza as the ball went from end-to-end in an almost training drill.
FALCONS retained top spot on the ladder after prevailing against second-placed Newborough-Yallourn United, 4-2.
It wasn’t long before Falcons asserted its presence, and on the seven-minute mark, scored through Sam Amaira.
Without waiting for the Combine to respond, the Birds gained their second goal only a few minutes later, when Isaac Abas was able to get one past NYU keeper Damien Gilbert.
NYU wasted opportunities by holding the ball too long, allowing Falcons to regroup on the back half.
The Combine almost broke through at 40 minutes, but Simon Charles made a sliding block to deny any score. On the rebound, Amaira found Jesse Kennedy on the run, and he pushed it passed the keeper for Falcons’ third goal just before half-time.
Falcons was again in attacking mode after the break, and posted its fourth goal after 15 minutes of play with Kennedy’s second.
Leading 4-0, Falcons looked set to have a good win, but NYU forced four successive corners as its opponent began to tire in the sunny conditions.
Continual attempts at goal were finally rewarded in the dying stages, and the Combine scored twice in as many minutes through Shayne Pavich and Adam Batt, but time ran out.
Falcons leads NYU by four points with a game in hand.
WITH sixth spot up for grabs, Monash advanced its cause with a hard-fought 3-1 win over Trafalgar Victory.
It was all Monash in the first half with plenty of attacking moves, led by Andreas Nilo, who controlled play from right back.
Braden Paulett, Jace Paulett and Ethan Lawrence were the play makers for Monash, with its first goal coming up after 11 minutes, when Nilo crossed to Lawrence on the run and he deftly put it away.
Trafalgar seemed flat without Nathaniel Parades, who was playing footy with Warragul. The Victory was flooding back, leaving only one forward, Josh Parades, to contend with three defenders.
Trafalgar keeper Mark Heatherington was kept busy keeping out the Monash strikers.
Monash, through the combination of Nilo, Paulett and Ethan Lawrence, saw the latter score his second.
Trafalgar came out a different side in the second half and pushed forward, repeatedly giving Enda Murphy a few headaches.
Monash, however, was steady and was rewarded when Lawrence was fouled in the box and Thomas Bramstedt made good the penalty taken.
Time was running out, but Trafalgar, to its credit, fought on and a good goal on 90 minutes by Dylan Wyatt was a small consolation.
COMING off its first win of the season, Churchill United came back to earth, losing to Fortuna 4-0.
Strong play by Shane Cassar saw him score 18 minutes in.
Churchill pushed up and forced two corners, but the Lions keeper was diligent and saved on the line.
The Lions got their game flowing after the break, with goals from Hayden Cook, Dylan Kramer and Cassar.
MOE United defeated a lacklustre Traralgon Olympians 4-0.
The Red Devils got the edge after 30 minutes, when Noah Kane breached the Olympians defence to drive home the opener.
Olympians was not backward in going forward, and challenged Moe at every turn, earning the wrath of the referee, who issued five yellow cards.
Matt Shearing got on the sheet with an excellent goal five minutes into the second half, before Kane scored his second four minutes later.
Sam Gatpan completed the rout 75 minutes in.
TRARALGON City had the bye.