Tuesday, 5 April 2016

A Peninsula Derby Day

Saturday saw Langwarrin host local rivals Frankston Pines on the opening day of the Zagames State League Division One South East season.

Glorious sunshine provided great conditions for football, and though a little yellow in appearance the surface at Lawton Reserve was in excellent shape.

Langwarrin keeper Robert Acs about to take a goal kick.

An aerial duel in the middle of the park.

Caleb Nicholes prepares to take a penalty kick.

It's 1-0 as Nicholes' penalty hits the back of the net.

The players head back for the kick-off after the penalty conversion. Farmhouses in the background, and beyond that smoke from a controlled burn off on Arthur's Seat.

A good crowd was in attendance, mainly in front of the clubrooms.

During the second half some horses wandered down from the top paddock, always a hit with the kids.

Andy McIntyre is about to head a corner to where Nicholes will flick it past the keeper to make it 6-2.

Plenty of celebrations for Langy on the day as they got their season off to a great start.

Langwarrin have probably been the most stable club on the Mornington Peninsula, as evidenced by coach Gus Macleod entering his seventeenth season at the helm. Since climbing the leagues at the turn of the century Langwarrin has generally competed in the top league in the South East leagues.

Frankston Pines have scaled greater heights however, including several spells in the state's top flight. 2003 saw them reach the VPL Grand Final, beaten 1-0 by Green Gully at Knights Stadium. With these highs have also come several relegations, falling back as far as the Provisional League in 2012.

The game got off to a scrappy start, neither side able to muster much good football in the opening fifteen minutes. Dangerous spearhead Caleb Nicholes, a multiple former League Top Goalscorer and League Best and Fairest Award winner, was brought down for a penalty which he converted to gain Langy the ascendancy. The goal settled the home side who started to string some passes together and were soon to 2-0 up, the lead the would take into the break.

Momentum was all with the men in their blue home kit, and a third goal came in the opening minute of the second half. Johnny Guthrie then made it 4-0, striking well from outside of the penalty area after a corner was cleared out from it.

It was a penalty which saw Pines open their scoring account for the season, and their revival continued with another goal pulling the score back to 4-2. Langwarrin would re-assert their superiority in the latter stages, three more goals including two from Nicholes to notch his hat-trick.

The wide margin saw Langwarrin head the table after the opening day, with the other Peninsula club Mornington sitting in second place after a 5-1 defeat of FC Clifton Hill.

Video footage can be found via the excellent Langwarrin Soccer Club website.

                                                       (Click on images to enlarge)

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