North Sunshine has finished the Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 1 season on a six game winning streak.
The Eagles’ late-season dominance continued with a 4-1 win over Altona City away at Kim Reserve on Saturday.
Unfortunately for Eagles coach Ben Isai, there are no prizes for finishing second in this competition, but it confirms to him that the club is on the right track.
“We’re very happy to finish the year like that,” he said. “I know it’s not first – we ended up finishing second – but we’ll take that and build.”
North Sunshine conceded the first goal to Altona City.
It appeared as though the Eagles might be heading for an upset loss after a lacklustre opening 15 minutes, but the Altona City goal seemed to spark them into action.
The remaining 75 minutes was a case of Eagle excellence as they piled on four unanswered goals.
Ajak Panek capped a fine first season for North Sunshine with a hat-trick.
The former Western Suburbs striker scored an equaliser in the 34th minute, taking the game to 1-1 at half-time, then two goals in the 15 minutes after the break.
“He came to us from a completely different system … in terms of philosophy, so it was always going to take time for him to adapt to our style,” Isai said. “Today we saw a complete performance from him.”
David Dodaj completed the rout with a goal 10 minutes from time.
Dodaj will assess his future over the summer, but that might have been the veteran’s last game in the top team.
“He’s a 16-year veteran of the club,” Isai said. “Technically he’s one of the best players at the club. It gave the crowd a lot of excitement knowing that he scored.”
Creative midfielder Nick Epifano assisted with three of North Sunshine’s goals, while defender Daniel Dragovic was lauded for his ability to keep dangerous Altona City striker Ayodeji Omoboye in check.
In other state league 1 results, Keilor Park edged out Banyule City 3-2 to claim fourth spot. Relegated Western Suburbs was mauled 6-1 by Yarraville Glory, while Sydenham Park drew 0-0 with champion side Geelong.
In state league 2, Brimbank Stallions will be involved in promotion play-offs after their 2-1 win over Hume United was not enough to dislodge Whittlesea United from the top.
Westgate had a positive end to the season, beating Altona East Phoenix 3-0, while Cairnlea pipped Fitzroy City 2-1.
Western Eagles finished nine points clear on top of men’s state league 4 after a final day 3-1 win over Melbourne City.
In women’s NPL, Calder United handed out a 9-1 thrashing to Heidelberg United. Catherine Zimmerman scored four goals to secure the league’s golden boot with 43 goals.
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