Sunbury United’s first official hit-out of 2018 has ended in defeat.

Looking to start the year on a high and gain some momentum ahead of the FFV state league 3 north-west season, United fell short against lower ranked Spring Hills in the first round of the FFA Cup.

Things started well for United when Jayden Mercieca scored a penalty in the seventh minute to put the home side ahead.

The Stallions levelled the scores in the 32nd minute and hit the front in the 63rd with what was the match-winning goal, knocking United out of the Cup competition.

Speaking before the match, United director Daniel Moore said they had been looking forward to testing themselves.

“It’s a local derby of sorts,” he said.

“It’s the first taste of competitive football since last year and everyone is getting ready
to go.”

Moore said they had managed to keep a core group of players from last season, while they had looked to add more experience to the line-up.

Steve Everett, Archie Sweeney, Muhamad Chawk and Mohammed El Turkmani are among the new players for United. Several more signings are expected to be finalised in the next few weeks.

Moore said this year, the second under Lino Grech, was about getting the right mix.

“It’s been about getting the balance right and we’ve added some experienced heads to build on what we did last year,” he said.

Moore said they were hoping to move away from the bottom end of the table. After two straight relegations, United finished ninth last season.

“This year we want to give a good push to promotion and be in contention.

“We are being quite ambitious,” he said.

Gisborne’s FFA Cup campaign is also over, losing to St Kevins Old Boys 3-1.

Meanwhile: United is after junior players.

As Australia continues its preparations for the World Cup in June, Sunbury United is hoping it will inspire children to take up the sport.

United which had more than 250 juniors last season and more than 300 players across all its teams, is hoping to increase that number.

Director Daniel Moore said with the Sunbury community growing and they wanted to make the most of it.

He said a lot of children get interested in playing around World Cup time.

“We’ve got MiniRoos which is for kids four through to seven and then through to under-16s for both boys and girls.

“We have a couple of dedicated girls teams and a senior women’s team along with our men’s teams.

“We want to keep building numbers and with Sunbury growing and new estates, there’s a lot of untapped talent pool in Sunbury.

Moore said they were looking for players for all age groups and had put all their registrations tools online to make things easier.

Registrations close on March 1. For details: www.facebook.com/SunburyUtdFC