Falcons overcomes Combine

Laurie Williams

A 73RD minute goal from Nanda Lazaris was the difference as Falcons claimed its first Latrobe Valley Soccer League senior premiership with a 1-0 victory over Newborough-Yallourn United in Sunday’s grand final.

The success followed Falcons league championship win.

Conditions were cold and windy at Traralgon, with players finding it difficult to adjust to the swirling wind.

Both teams were pumped early, but there were few chances, with the respective keepers having little to do.

NYU had more possession in the first half, with Ash Birrell, Shayne Pavich and Hayden Tanti all playing a big role.

Falcons was kept in the game by the smallest man on the park, Kevin Carcella, who picked up frequent possessions. Sam and Matt Amaira were both good for Falcons giving the birds drive from the midfield.

Falcons almost got on board at 23 minutes when Lazaris crossed to Sam Amaira, whose shot hit the crossbar and deflected out for a goal kick.

The Combine had few chances, with Jordan Kennedy, Conner Clarke and Gianni Salvatore all playing strongly up back for Falcons. At the other end, NYU talls Alec Bowman and Adam Batt were giving the Falcons strikers limited space to work the ball.

Although a tough match, players kept their cool, but a couple of incidents didn’t go unnoticed and the referee reined in bad behaviour with yellow cards.

After a score-less first half, Falcons intensified its efforts in the second, putting the NYU defence under pressure.

Clayton Bell, Mark McHallam and Hayden Tanti gained plenty of the ball, but the team fell down as the strikers were being out-played by the Falcons defenders.

Nick D’Alessandro was busy for Falcons, pushing forward.

At 73 minutes, D’Alessandro crossed to Sam Amaira, who squared the ball to unguarded Lazaris, who then rammed home the only goal for the match.

NYU came back hard and forced two corners, but they were cleared by an ever-alert Falcons defence.

The Combine’s best chance came at 86 minutes, when a Clayton Bell shot went through the keeper’s hands, hit the top bar and rebounded out of play.

Falcons hung on for the next six minutes as NYU pushed forward, but was unable to equalise.

Falcons winger Carcella was awarded man of the match.

AN own goal by a Fortuna defender at 26 minutes gave Monash an unexpected win in the reserves.

Scores were locked at 0-0 until the defensive error. Monash were equal to the task of keeping out the league champions and it came down to an own goal to decide the final result as the Wolves won 1-0.

Matt Shelley of Monash was awarded the best player medal.

THE women’s grand final was decided in extra time after a 0-0 stalemate in regulation time.

Traralgon City got a break against Fortuna five minutes into the second period of extra time, when Jude Carpenter was in good position to drill home the winner, giving the Roosters the championship and premiership double and also their third successive premiership.

Traralgon City’s Samantha Cavanagh was awarded the best player medal.

FORTUNA defeated Monash 2-1 to claim the second division league-grand final double.

A goal on two minutes by Graham Blaquiere gave Fortuna a good break. The Lions went further ahead just before half-time, when Blaquiere scored his second.

Monash put the pressure on in the second half, not allowing the Lions to increase their lead. Don McDougall threw a scare into the Fortuna camp when he clawed back a goal for Monash at 79 minutes, but the Lions hung on to win.

Mark Pavich of Fortuna received the man of the match award.