Melton Phoenix had a tough start to its FFV state league 4 west season, going down 4-0 to Sebastopol Vikings.
While the scoreboard indicated a one-sided affair, Phoenix president Mike Kapiris said it was a lot closer than it seemed.
“We gave away a penalty in the first half and gave up the lead,” he said.
“We then had the flow for the first 15 minutes of the second half before conceding another penalty, which gave them a 2-0 lead.
“They capitalised and scored a couple of late goals. The 4-0 result flattered them.”
Kapiris said while disappointed, he knows there is much improvement still to come, and plenty of upside to the team.
“We had three of our starting line out, and once we get a couple of boys back, we know we’ll be a better side,” he said.
“We’ll still be around the top four.”
It’s a very different-looking Phoenix side this season, with the club going through a rebuild.
Kapiris said the Phoenix were a younger side this year, with a couple of 17 and 18-year-olds lining up.
“The last couple of seasons, the club has just missed out on promotion. Now we’re focusing on rebuilding … I think we’ll probably still be up there.”
The have been plenty of changes off field as well, with the club parting ways with Peter Schwellinger, who had coached the team since 2015.
Ozzy Inal, who coached the side to six wins in the past seven games of last season, was appointed as Schwellinger’s successor. But two weeks into pre-season the club changed tack, appointing Richard Antczak as coach.
Antczak has played soccer for the Phoenix on and off for the past 20 years, including 16 games last season.
Phoenix’s next match is against Balmoral FC under lights on Saturday night.
It was a better start to the season for Spring Hills in state league 5 west against Kyneton District.
In their first season back in state league 5 after relegation, the Stallions piled on the goals for a 7-0 win.
The Stallions led 3-0 at half-time.
Blake Dantino scored a hat-trick, while skipper Dylan Magro scored twice. Halil Hussein and Jordan Mancini scored the other goals.
Spring Hills hosts Laverton Park on Saturday night.