Warriors Too Good For Cannons

by John Fotinos

It was on the back of another withering Berger blitz that a league double over Oakleigh was completed on Queen’s Birthday. The deserved 3-2 at what’s been a difficult venue over the years keeps the Warriors well and truly in the hunt for a top six spot.

The ‘Bergers conceded a sloppy goal early, with an unmarked Williams opening the score from a free header following a free kick. The home side’s ball movement in the front half seemed to unbalance the ‘Bergers for a while as they struggled to get a foothold in the game.
To the rescue, perhaps inevitably, came the redoubtable flame haired Scotsman, Sean Ellis. For much of the past two seasons, frustrating injuries have limited his time on the park & curtailed his artistry. But, with each week since his return, the value of his ability to craft openings and find pockets of space and time becomes more apparent. He fired a stunning equaliser just before the half hour mark, precisely when his team needed some inspiration.

For all that, the game swung to the ‘Bergers following two strong Oakleigh spells either side of the main break. Having narrowly missed regaining the lead just before half time, Oakleigh turned the screws in the first few minutes post the restart.

Having weathered the barrage, the ‘Bergers produced two counterattacking goals of high quality to break the game apart. Ellis deftly set Pin away on a powerful run, with Sheppard the beneficiary of Pin’s ball, firing home after a delightful first touch. But the ‘Bergers were not done there – with Zahra, Ellis, Sheppard and then Ellis ultimately playing Pin through to give the Warriors a two goal buffer within a blink of the eye – a devastating three minute spell in which the ‘Bergers movement and pace twice breached the normally solid Oakleigh defence.

Not even an injury time goal back by Oakleigh’s joe Guest could take the gloss off a thoroughly professional and mature performance by a team that seems to be finding its feet in the NPL competition, inflicting on Oakleigh its first loss in any competition since the two teams met in Round 4 this season.

Coach George Katsakis was naturally delighted with the victory.
“Let’s face it, this has traditionally been a difficult place for us to get a result, and to do the double on Oakleigh with a quality performance like that is full credit to the team. Every one of them contributed today, even the lads that came off the bench gave their all.”

Midfielder Dominic Falla was pleased with how the team stuck to its game plan in achieving the win.
“We wanted to go out there and stay compact, and really work hard to win the secondary balls in the middle. It was great that we were able to create chances and score some quality goals with great finishing today.”

Next up for Heidelberg United is this Sunday (June 19) at home hosting the Melbourne Knights at the Olympic Village at 3:00PM.

Match Details

Oakleigh cannons FC 2 (A.Williams 12’, J. Guest 90 +3’ – Heidelberg United 3 (S. Ellis 27’, K.Sheppard 52’, J. Pin 54,’)
Team Line-up:
GK – 1 Brendan White
4 – Mallan Roberts
5 – Ajdin Fetahagic
6 – Joseph Franjic (18 – Anthony Theodoropoulos 83’)
8 – Dominic Falla
9 – Adrian Zahra
10 – Ivan Franjic
12 – Deion Nikolaidis
14 – Kaine Sheppard (20 – Luka Ninkovic 88’)
17 – Josh Pin (15 – Brian Summerskill 88’)
19 – Sean Ellis (21 – Eoin Ashton 80’)

Subs not used:
GK – 63 Nick Eres
22 – kazuki okada