The scenes were quite incredible as Bulleen Lions produced one of the biggest results of the season, thrashing Melbourne Knights 5-0 at Somers Street courtesy of a nine-minute blitz in the second half.
Another surprising result saw Pascoe Vale put on a professional performance against Bentleigh Greens in a 1-0 victory.
Having earned a point on the road to Kingston on Monday, the short turnaround in hindsight looked to have sapped Eric Vassiliadis’ side, but it wasn’t until the second half when that manifested itself.
The fixture was a significant one on paper given a win would’ve put the 12th placed Knights in 10th and just one point off the Lions.
Having struggled for goals earlier in the season, Oliver White has now well and truly found his feet in the league, netting a brace and three in two weeks now and was instrumental in the victory.
They say when it rains it pours, and the floodgates were opened in the 50th minute when White found Jordan Templin through on the right, his low cross then played back to White for the tap in.
Four minutes later White turned provider, waltzing through with a solo run before slipping Templin through for a finish into the open net.
The third goal was the result of the Lions now on the hunt and pinning the hosts back before forcing a turnover. Ben Surey had escaped two penalty calls last week against Kingston City but threre’d be no reprieve this time as the referee called for an infringement on Lewis Hawke, who stepped up to the mark and put away the penalty.
By 58 minutes White sprung through the hosts’ defensive line to put away a clinical low finish, and just a minute later his shot spilled into the path of Hawke, who made it five in nine minutes and game was well and truly a rout.
Hawke has been a key acquisition for the side so far, providing an additional attacking outlet for Bulleen and has been a significant inclusion in the side’s four-game unbeaten run at the moment, their last defeat coming in round 13 at Lakeside against South Melbourne.
The win puts the Lions on 24 points now, which would be close to all but guaranteeing their 2017 survival, but now they’re also on equal seventh place with Hume City momentarily and knocking on the door of a top six berth. Incredible.
As for the Knights, their battle becomes bigger to avoid 12th place, though there’s still ample time to achieve that.
Pascoe Vale were on a four-match unbeaten streak since arguably their lowest point of the season in being the only team to lose to North Geelong this season, and were looking to continue that streak at home, though the assignment was a tough one against Bentleigh Greens.
Yet just 18 minutes into the contest their recent resurgence took another positive turn.
In an end-to-end sequence, there were penalty shouts when Tyson Holmes went down in the area, but his opposite number 10 in Davey van’t Schip played a raking long diagonal ball which cleaned through Bentleigh’s defence, allowing Phillipe Bernabo-Madrid to apply the finish on his starting debut for his new club.
Paco had to be alert from the restart, with Alex Pavlidis on hand to deny Matt Thurtell’s long shot, with the hosts taking the 1-0 lead into the break.
There were a few more significant flashpoints in the second half despite the scoreline staying 1-0.
The first came when Matt Hennessey came close to doubling the lead when his header from Luka Prelevic’s free kick struck the woodwork, with Bentleigh eventually getting the ball away in the scramble.
The second came in the 65th minute when a late and fairly reckless challenge by Tomislav Milardovic on Thurtell led to a major scuffle. Jack Webster, having recently served a suspension for a red card against Melbourne Knights, was again sent off with a straight red, and Milardovic and Prelevic were also shown yellows in the process.
Webster’s dismissal made the task all the more difficult, with Paco holding on for the 1-0 win and a massive three points. It’s been a season of momentum for the CB Smith outfit, whose form now is replicating their early season exploits and erasing their mid-season slump.
Bentleigh now on the other hand have to regroup and look towards keeping the pressure on in the race for top spot despite last night’s setback.