Hoppers Crossing emerged with a 5-3 victory over Fitzroy City after a wild game on the road at Fairfield Park in the Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 2 on Saturday.
The Reds went behind on three occasions in the first half, but fought back each time to have the score 3-3 at half-time.
The first two equalisers were scored by striker Darryl Roach, a new recruit playing in his first game for the Reds. Roach, a former Montserrat international and Milton Keynes Dons player, struck two goals six minutes apart.
The next equaliser came just before the break through James Daley.
It did not take long in the second half for Hoppers Crossing to take a lead it preserved until the final whistle.
Daniel Sweeney, who scored a double a week earlier, found the back of the net again for the go-ahead goal in the 61st minute. Kwaku Dade gave the Reds an insurance goal a minute before stoppage time.
It was important win for Hoppers Crossing, as it keeps it a point clear of second-placed Altona City.
The Reds’ superior goal difference, however, was erased on Saturday when City slaughtered Diamond Valley United 8-0.
But holding top spot is in Hoppers Crossing’s hands ahead of a trip to lowly Moreland United, which has just one win for the campaign.
In state league 4, Point Cook Jets and Altona North were involved in a six-goal thriller, the game finishing 3-3 at Saltwater Reserve.
The Jets will be disappointed not to have secured all three points on home soil
– the loss cost them a share of top spot on the ladder.
Zac Osborne scored two goals for the Jets, taking his tally to six in 11 games, while Kyle Caruana scored the other.
Point Cook will host Surf Coast in a top-four blockbuster at Saltwater Reserve on Saturday.
Truganina Hornets had to settle for a 0-0 draw with Golden Plains at Bannockburn Recreation Precinct. The Hornets, sitting third last, will face another relegation-threatened side, Newmarket Phoenix, in a huge game at Newmarket Reserve on Saturday.
In women’s state league 3, Mylene Deschamps scored on debut for Hoppers Crossing in a 7-0 annihilation of Maribyrnong Swifts at Grange Reserve on Sunday.
Deschamps, a France futsal international, was the Reds’ major signing of the transfer window. The main star of the show, though, was striker Julia Budiongo-Batota, who finished with four goals to make it nine for her in seven games.
In men’s NPL2 west, Werribee City and Sunshine George Cross played out a 1-1 draw at Galvin Park on Sunday. Bees new recruit George Slefendorfas scored in the 34th minute, but that was cancelled out by Georgies new signing Yosuke Saito in the 63rd minute.