A second half blitz fuelled Altona Magic’s come-from-behind 5-2 win over co-tenants Altona East Phoenix in their Football Federation Victoria state league 1 clash at Paisley Park on Saturday night.
After trailing by a goal at half-time, the ladder-leading Magic came home with a wet sail, piling on five goals in the second half to make it three wins on the trot to start the season.
Magic coach Goran Lozanovski said his side produced a similar brand of football in both halves, but took better advantage of their opportunities after half-time.
“We had five or six really good chances in the first half and missed the target,” he said.
“The second half was a different story.”
Once again, Altona Magic had to withstand a physical battering from an opposing club.
The Magic are the defending champions, title favourites and have assembled one of the most potent line-ups in the division, which means they are the biggest scalp in the competition and have a target on their back.
Lozanovski knows most teams will be physical against his side to make up for a talent gulf, but he thinks there are times when opposition sides have been going over the top with their aggression.
“We know we’re going to be the hunted,” Lozanovski said.
“Every game play it’s going to be like a grand final [for the opposition team].
“Altona East probably felt like they had to be physical and try and put us off our game to a certain degree, which they did.
“It was a bit disappointing some of the physicality and the way they went about things.
“A couple of boys had to come off [with injuries], which is a bit frustrating because it’s happened to us three games in a row now.
“We’ve had some forced changes because of some nasty tackles and nasty scenarios.”
Altona Magic took no added pleasure out of winning the local derby.
The Magic means business this season as it seeks promotion to the NPL.
“Every win is a sweet win,” Lozanovski said.
“Like I said to the lads pre-game and pre-season all the way through, as far as I’m concerned it’s all about the three points.”
Jon McShane opened his goal-scoring account for the season with two goals for the Magic. McShane has been outstanding up front in the opening three games without hitting the scoreboard.
“He’s doing a lot of hard yards off the ball and creating opportunities for other people to get on the score sheet,” Lozanovski said.
“He snagged a couple of goals and that was his just reward because he worked really hard when we were chasing the game.”
Adamson Ajayi added to his goal-scoring streak for the Magic. Ajayi has four goals in three games.
Steve Thomson, one of the Magic’s best defenders on the day, bobbed up for a goal, while Facundo Alcacer came off the bench to score. Joseph Franjic and Jason Hayne were outstanding in the midfield, while Lirim Elmazi has been a revelation at right back.
Altona Magic will switch to cup mode tonight when they hit the road to face Green Gully Cavaliers in a blockbuster FFA Cup fifth round encounter at Green Gully Reserve.