The fifth round of the 2022 Steeline Bendigo Bank Limestone Coast Football League Premiership Cup Senior Men’s season will not go down in the history books as a classic.
Instead the big teams showed just how uncompromising they can be showing no mercy as it rained goals on Sunday.
One of the most anticipated contests took place at Malseed Park where Blue Lake hosted Centrals, but the reigning premiers ensured it was never going to be a tight battle.
The Rangers were keen to get stuck in and show they can take the fight up to the stronger teams on their home turf.
In blustery and cold conditions, the Lions made their mark early through Jake Blackwell and Christian Fleetwood, who dictated the midfield ball.
Their strong work produced a luxury of options for the forwards in front of goal and soon the goals started coming.
Cam Saint and Sam Shoemark took the most advantage with the former scoring a hat-trick, while the latter also kicked a double to build the scoreboard pressure.
Lewis March and Jake Blackwell also scored, while a tough day for the Blue Lake defence was completed with an own goal.
Despite conceding eight goals, Saw Nai gave the home crowd something to cheer about before the final whistle.
Gambier Centrals coach Brodey Koop said he was pleased with the response from his team after last week’s loss to Inter.
“The squad showed up wanting to get back on the winner’s list after the previous week’s setback and played to a high standard from the start,” he said.
“Young Richard Kinyabuguma impressed with his constant pressure on the Blue Lake defence, whilst Henry Shoemark and Steve Crowther marshalled the backline.
“It was just a good day for the boys.”
International made the long drive up the Riddoch Highway to meet a confident Naracoorte team.
With ladder positions one and three facing off, there would have been a sense of anticipation in the air around the pitch.
Especially amongst the home team, which steamed into the clash with lots of momentum having recorded confidence-boosting wins over Blue Lake and Millicent United.
But coach Qussay Ibrahim knew this game would be another challenge all together and that proved to be the case.
The hosts managed to keep up with their fancied rivals early as the game started at a hot pace and both goalkeepers were tested early.
However, International squashed all hopes of an intriguing battle at the 14-minute mark when Christian Cella opened the visitors account by completing a nice play set up by Sam Bueti.
The early breakthrough unlocked Inter and allowed Matt Bueti to assert his dominance by scoring two quick goals to leave the hosts reeling 3-0 down after 30 minutes of action.
Despite the disappointing start, the Naracoorte defence tightened to stop the visitors’ charge and ensure no more damage was done before half time.
After recharging at the break, International went on the charge once again and it had devastating results.
Inter lifted the intensity and Naracoorte could not keep up and the floodgates open at the 53-minute mark when Matt Ferguson found the back of the net.
Ferguson only needed another 11 minutes to double his tally and push the lead into unassailable territory.
Despite being 5-0 down, Naracoorte was still able to create the odd chance and a Ciaran Shouksmith header pierced through the Inter defensive structure from a corner.
The breakthrough gave the home crowd something to cheer about, but any hope of a miraculous comeback was silenced as International showcased its brutal best.
The scorers struggled to keep up as Inter slammed home six goals across a 16-minute blitz.
Leading the assault was of course Matt Bueti, who scored a crazy six-goal haul which was headlined by a long-range screamer as finishing touches the finishing touches were applied to the massive 11-1 win.
For the first time this season Apollo has stitched consecutive wins together after accounting for Millicent with relative ease.
Despite the 6-0 result, it was the closest result in the senior grade.
Having been the team to concede the most amount of goals all season, the Millicent defence held up well and repelled many counterattacks from the blue and white.
This even gave the boys in green the confidence to apply some pressure back on the home side with some runs of their own.
The likes of Webster Momanyi, Sam Adie and Ben Tran fought hard in the middle to cause a few headaches for Apollo.
The most threatening Millicent player was Abbas Ansari, who caught everyone’s attention as he made multiple runs through the hosts’ defence, but could not beat the goalkeeper.
However, Apollo’s class was soon being reflected on the scoreboard as James Stephenson’s men made regular calculated strikes.
Jack Donehue, Jakon Hahn, Hay Nay Say Ler, Robert Nagy, Skay Per and Shar Nay Than were the players who did the damage.