How long will it be until we see another Paisley Park hallway rumble in a game for league points?
Altona Magic defeated co-tenants Altona East Phoenix 3-0 in the Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 1 at Paisley Park on Saturday, but it could be the last time these teams cross paths in a league match for years.
The Magic is closing in on promotion to the National Premier League, holding a whopping 10-point lead at the top of the ladder, while the Phoenix is in danger of relegation.
It has largely been a friendly rivalry between the Magic and Phoenix, co-existing under the one roof.
They talk in the carpark, nod their hellos outside the clubrooms and generally get on well, but when they face each other they can be the fiercest of rivals for those 90 minutes.
“There’s some fantastic people at their club,” Magic coach Goran Lozanovski said.
“But when we go out there, we give it a crack, so it’s always nice to get one over your local rivals.”
Altona Magic is on a mission to join Victoria’s elite in the NPL. This team is simply too good for state league 1 and it’s starting to show.
Two weeks ago, the Magic beat North Sunshine Eagles, one of their closest threats to the crown, by a massive six goals. Lozanovski could see a big scoreline coming, such was the confidence his side was playing with.
“I did say a few weeks back that some team would cop a battering and unfortunately for North Sunshine it was them,” he said.
For Lozanovski, it’s about results over style.
He arrived at the Magic this season with one word on his mind: promotion.
However, the Magic would have got a 10-out-of-10 for their eye-catching football in the win over Altona East.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the three points,” Lozanovski said.
“Breathing space [on the ladder] is always great to have, but it’s just round 14.
“We’ve got a 10-point gap, but that can be turned around quite quickly.”
If this is to be the last hallway rumble for years, it will be remembered as the Melvin Becket show.
Becket produced a great performance and topped it off with one of the great goals in a Magic-Phoenix derby.
The midfielder picked up the ball, left a Phoenix defender for dead with his turn of speed and then unleashed a long range strike that thumped into the underside of the bar and just went over the line.
Becket finished with two goals, his second was coolly scored on the break after a spot-on pass from James McGarry, and an assist, where he cut the ball back to Kliment Dimitrieski for the easiest of tap ins.
Meanwhile, Yarraville Glory had a narrow 1-0 loss to Banyule City at McIvor Reserve, leaving them in third last spot.
In men’s state league 2, Altona City moved back to the top of the ladder with a 2-1 win over Corio at Kim Reserve.
In men’s state league 3, Williamstown pulled off a 2-1 win over top side Brimbank Stallions at Gray Reserve, which puts them back in title contention.
Bobby Lojanica and David Gazzard scored for the Blues.