Altona City has savoured that sweet taste of victory over rivals Hoppers Crossing in the Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 2 at Kim Reserve on Saturday night.
City leap-frogged the Reds into second on the ladder after the gutsy 2-0 win and set up a top-of-the-table showdown with ladder-leader Fitzroy City at Fairfield Park this Saturday night.
“To beat Hoppers is a little joy in itself,” Altona City president Joe Tanti said.
“We’re always rapt to knock Hoppers Crossing off because of that rivalry.
“There was a good crowd here, a good vibe and everyone stuck around after the game, which is what it’s all about.
“Local soccer needs good rivalries and good club relationships and that’s what we’ve got.”
Altona City was gifted the lead just 10 minutes in when Hoppers Crossing defender Jack Spargo scored an own goal.
City was disciplined with its tactics and physical in its nature, not giving much room for the Reds strike force to move into, which was important with first choice goalkeeper Jack Dovey overseas.
Back-up goalkeeper Viraponn Daravong answered any questions that were asked of him – though scoring opportunities for the Reds were few and far between due to the watertight City defence.
City’s central defensive pairing of Kieren Farrugia and James Neighbour were nigh on impenetrable, as they have been all season.
“They held it together again,” Tanti said.
“They’re solid at the back, week in and week out.”
Without the second goal, Altona City was always vulnerable, but it eventually came on a counter-attack through substitute Marcus Sherif.
Most of the hard work in setting up the goal was done by Ayodeji Omoboye.
“He just took the defence on with his pace,” Tanti said.
“He got through and cut the ball in to Marcus and, as usual, he’s always cool in front of goal and just finishes it off.”
It was Sherif’s fifth goal in six league games to go with the other two goals he scored in the FFA Cup.
“Marcus came on as an impact player and delivered the goods,” Tanti said.
“He just seems to know where the goals are and gets himself into good spots, as good strikers do.”
In state league 1, Jason Hayne fired in a double as the Altona Magic beat Westgate 2-1 to make it six wins from six starts at Castley Reserve.
Yarraville Glory played out a 1-1 draw with Essendon Royals, while Altona East Phoenix suffered a 4-0 drubbing away to North Sunshine Eagles.
In state league 3, Melbourne City finally picked up its first point of the season in a 1-1 draw with FC Strathmore, which lifted them off the bottom of the ladder.
Williamstown had a comfortable 3-0 win over Fawkner, spearheaded by two-goal star Aleks Dimitrijevic, who has seven goals in five games.