Point Cook soccer coach Craig Filer was faced with some tough decisions during the Football Federation Victoria mid-season transfer window.
The Jets’ leader could not afford to stand pat, otherwise his side would be rolling the dice on relegation – hoping to survive, rather than actively seeking survival.
Filer made the hard calls, dropped the axe on a number of under-performing players and returned to those he knows and trusts.
“Over the course of the past six to eight weeks we started weeding some of these players out that are not a good fit for us,” he said. “We’ve gone back to what we know – players that have played for the club, understand the culture of the club.”
The results indicate Filer made the right calls.
Point Cook has turned its fortunes around, going from the relegation zone five weeks ago to a more comfortable existence in eighth place.
But work remains to be done if the side is to rid itself completely of relegation fears.
The Jets have racked up three wins in their previous four matches, including a 1-0 nail-biter over Sunbury United at Saltwater Reserve on Saturday.
Their only loss in their past four games came in a crazy 5-4 loss to Moreland United in a game they led 3-1 at half-time.
Filer is starting to see the side he envisaged before a ball was kicked this season.
“What we’re getting at the moment is a good core group of players that now want to fight and wear the shirt,” he said. “What’s been proven over the past few weeks is the players we’ve got on the pitch now have that winning mentality.
“They are grinding things out, even when they’re tough and not going for you.”
Against Sunbury, an 85th minute goal from Michael Nguyen sealed victory for Point Cook.
Nguyen was able to guide the ball into the back of the net from a Jonathan Dunn corner.
While that was the decisive moment, Point Cook goalkeeper Daniel Zilic had pulled off two one-on-one saves earlier to keep his side in the game.
Point Cook will hit the road to face second-placed Sebastopol Vikings at St Georges Reserve on Saturday.
It was a troubling weekend for Hoppers Crossing in men’s state league 1.
The Reds lost 2-0 to Geelong and sunk deeper in the relegation zone.
Truganina Hornets held firm in second place in men’s state league 4 after a 3-2 win over North Melbourne Athletic.
Gabriele Di Fiore scored a double for the Hornets.
West Point had a massive 6-0 win over Melbourne Lions in men’s state league 5.
Bradley O’Neil fired in a hat-trick for West Point, which moved up to fifth.
In a women’s state league 2 catch-up round, Hoppers Crossing was too good for Lara United, winning 3-0.
Mya Moran was on fire for the Reds with a hat-trick and has 10 goals in her past five games.
Point Cook suffered a 2-0 loss to Altona Magic in women’s state league 3.