Gisborne’s good pre-season form transitioned into its FFA Cup qualifying round match with Keon Park as it scored a strong first win.
After three practice match wins, the FFV state league 5 west side was on fire in the second half against Keon Park, scoring five second-half goals to win 7-1.
Jake McIntyre scored a hat-trick for Gisborne, Tyson Lopez scored twice and Aaron Cosgriff and Daniel Jones also found the back of the net.
Speaking before the match, Gisborne coach Danny Ciantar said they were confident heading into the game and hoped to progress further in the tournament.
Saturday’s win was the first time Gisborne has won an FFA Cup qualifying match.
“We’ve been going really well,” Ciantar said. “We’ve been working really hard on the track for seven weeks.
“We played three practice matches, beating division 3 side Essendon United 2-1 and then beating Thornbury 4-2 and Mitchell Rangers 6-0.
“We’ve got a good squad with about 17 new boys and they’re gelling together really well and looking at having a competitive season.”
Ciantar, who is in his first season of coaching the side, said he was impressed by the number of players who had decided to return to the club.
He said many had played juniors at the club before stepping up but wanted to return to help their home club.
“The atmosphere is really exciting,” he said.
“I’ve had fantastic support from the club and they’ve given me whatever I’ve needed.”
Ciantar said promotion was the goal for the state league 5 west season and anything less would be disappointing.
“The boys have bought into my messages and methods and been really good,” he said.
Ciantar said McIntyre, who has returned from Sunbury United, would be one of the keys this season, along with Matthew Mocciaro and Ian Anderson.
Gisborne kicks off its FFV season on March 24. The draw for round one of the FFA Cup was due to take place on Monday.