By Roanna Sanelli
Photo: Dion Fountas Photography
The St Albans Saints have defeated the Port Melbourne Sharks one nil at Churchill Reserve on Sunday afternoon.
Dinamo were keen to highlight their strengths as a playing group despite their relegation fate being already sealed.
Indeed, the Saints hoped to incite intimidation within their opponents with their attack including the lone forward, Rodrigo Covarrubias, and Joseph Monek and Christopher Cristaldo on the wings.
The hosts had settled early in the match and had excellent pressure as well as having demonstrated their good pitch awareness.
However, play was very much contested in the midfield with no scoring opportunities taken from either side.
In fact, it was Francesco Stella whom had the opening opportunity of the match after fifteen minutes of play when his strike travelled over the crossbar.
Despite a consistent Dinamo defence, it was the visitors who gave the hosts another scare when their shot flashed wide of the goals.
Luck did not appear to be with Dinamo, when moments later Nana Yaw succumbed to injury and was eventually replaced by Matthew Cundari.
The latter’s introduction proved to be a positive momentum boost for the squad and it was not long before the Saints gained the advantage.
A Dinamo ball found Covarrubias who passed onto an un-marked Hernan Espindola, whose shot into the bottom left-hand corner not only rendered the opposition goalkeeper helpless but earned the lead prior to the break.
The second term was also characterised by a continual midfield battle with the hosts aiming to play in a simple yet consistent manner.
Captain Ryan McGuffie very nearly doubled the lead for the hosts with a header from a corner which forced a stretching save from the goalkeeper.
Port Melbourne also created a few sporadic shots on goal from outside the area but nothing more thanks to the compact and persistent nature of the host defence.
Despite some last gasp scoring efforts, the sole goal was enough to secure the victory for the Saints ahead of their final clash of the season against the Melbourne Knights on Sunday afternoon.