Altona Magic has made a rowdy entry into the National Premier League 2 west.
The newly promoted state league 1 champions showed they will be no pushover in a higher division after a confident 2-0 win over Werribee City in the season opener at Paisley Park on Saturday evening.
Magic coach Goran Lozanovski was thrilled to see his side get its first win under the belt in front of their home fans after such a big build-up to the season.
“It’s been 12 months in the making,” he said.
“The club has put in so much hard work behind the scenes in state league 1.
“We were really excited, nervous and anxious at the same time, but once we scored the first goal we settled.
“Our supporters were happy with our performance, so it will put us in good stead for the season.”
Altona’s energy was evident early in the game.
The Magic strangled the visitors with their chasing and pressuring, forcing them into errors.
It took only six minutes for the Magic to get on the scoreboard through Jon McShane.
McShane pounced on a turnover and gave his side the advantage.
“We were pretty much switched on from the start,” Lozanovski said.
“We’ve talking about this game for a good month and in pre-season training we’ve been testing a lot of things with our line-up.
“I think we got it right and we actually got off to a good start in the first couple of seconds, we were aggressive and the tempo was nice and high, which was important from our behalf.
“That first goal came from our pressure and intensity, so we did well in that respect.”
Altona had to withstand some Werribee City pressure following the goal.
Magic goalkeeper Rani Dowisha was forced to make a fine save and one or two other opportunities had to be dealt with.
But just before half-time, McShane struck again on the back of some lazy Werribee City defending, capping a fine game with a double.
“He was a happy chap after the game and obviously it was a good way for him to start the season,” Lozanovski said.
“Like I keep telling Jon, if he’s effective as our No. 9 bringing other people into play, as far as I’m concerned he’s scored a goal for us anyway.
“It’s always good for self confidence when you bag a goal or two and get your season up and running.
“I’m expecting Jon to create goals and score goals every week.”
Altona could have added to its tally in the second half, but was let down by its finishing.
With a clean sheet and two goals on the board, the Magic were content to get their season off to a winning start.
“Full credit to the Werribee City goalkeeper [Tommy Dunn],” Lozanovski said.
“He made a couple of great saves which could have seen us blow out the scoreline a bit.”
McShane, in attacking midfield, Lirim Elmazi and Troy Ruthven, both in defence, were the top performers for Altona.
The Magic will travel to Knights Stadium for a traditional 3pm kick-off on Saturday to face Sunshine George Cross.