Photo: Mark Avellino
Round 21 of NPL Two Victoria West required the St Albans Saints to do a favour for the rest of the league as a rampant Moreland Zebras, looked to cash in on the opportunity to extend their lead at the top of the ladder. Matthew Cundari and Michael Grgic ensured that wasn’t the case in the two-nil victory.
It was a cold Friday night for football at CB Smith Reserve and it only took two minutes for the visitors to draw first-blood. A Joseph Monek corner was heading towards the front post when an oncoming Cundari squeezed a header into the back of the net.
It was the perfect start for the Saints who in just under ten minutes, doubled their lead. A gorgeous piece of attacking play saw Monek ensue his second assist with a whipped cross towards the back post, where captain Grgic netted his third in two matches.
The two-nil lead 12 minutes into the match, was the best possible start Kruni Razov could’ve asked for. The task then was to hold the lead and if possible, add to it.
After a couple of scares including a disallowed goal for the Zebra’s, the Saints managed to hold on and enter the halftime break with the two-nil lead intact.
The inclusions of David Stojic and Stefan Baricevic for the two goalscorers didn’t hinder the Saints’ chances of leaving with all three points, as both inclusions fitted well with the system.
Another scare came Saints’ way when the Zebras struck the crossbar with just over ten minutes to play. It was another reminder that even with the lead, complacency isn’t an option.
Ben Shaper was the third and final substitution, replacing Adam Hodor. The fifth defensive option helped the visitors see out the rest of the match and complete the task set prior to kick-off.
This win puts the Saints one-point away from the Zebras who are still leading the pack. With seven matches remaining however, there is a lot at stake and the possibilities are endless.
Round 22 will see the Saints on the road again as they travel to Dunstan Reserve to face Brunswick City on Saturday afternoon. Kick-off is set for 15:00.
Post-Match Interview with Kruni Razov
Q – Five scored and none conceded in the last two matches against two very difficult opponents, how did you see it and are you happy with the outcome?
A – Fantastic results the last 2 games considering the poor form we were in previously. Great to be scoring again but more importantly keeping clean sheets. Very happy for the boys as they have been working extremely hard, trying to turn the results around.
Q – Deji Omoboye has been confirmed to miss out on four matches total after his sending off against the Warriors. How much will this affect team selection, especially as the final match of the suspension will be away to Bulleen?
A – Deji will definitely be missed as he gives us a different dimension and versatility across the front third. But in saying that we haven’t really had him for the last two games (28 mins), while still executing two great results. It shows a little bit about our depth and the players desire to keep winning, regardless of who’s playing. We move on and it just gives someone else an opportunity.
Q – So far, the Saints have managed to secure 19-points at home and 20-points away from home. With three away matches and four home matches remaining, how confident is the team that they can go all the way?
A – With seven games left anything is possible. With the last two wins, it has put us back in the mix and given us the drive and confidence to finish the season off strongly. We will take it one game at a time as we have seen previously in our form slump, if you don’t turn up on any given day you can lose games very easily to anybody. Consistency is the key now.