With a fantastic start to the season for the Avondale Football Club, it was off to Port Melbourne Sharks Soccer Club to continue in the club’s winning ways.
There was one change in the squad to face the Sharks with Anthony Strano coming in for James Alvarez who moved back down to the U20s. The starting line up unchanged from last week’s 5:2 victory over Hume City FC.
With the focus on stopping complacency, the squad knew not to underestimate a determined Port Melbourne who was coming off their first win of the season over Kingston City FC.
The match started with a bang, with league in-form striker Kaine Sheppard being able to get onto the end of James Riccobene’s ball in behind the defence, and a sweetly timed volley on the bounce saw the ball past the keeper’s near side post. This meant that Sheppard has scored in every game so far this season.
After, the quick-fire start, a battle was operating for ascendancy with possession. With this battle came opportunities at either end as both attacking units were able to get in behind their defensive counterparts. Something that both Avondale coaches Anthony Barbieri and Zoran Markovski would address at halftime with the score 1:0. It could have been more with two goals being disallowed, both dubious decisions with a very tight offside call and a questionable call for a push in the box when reaching for a header that hit the back of the net.
The second half started brightly for Avondale FC as the chances started to mount, with both balls into the opposition box and shots on target. The Sharks keeper continued to keep them in the game and in with a chance.
But the Avondale FC pressure became too much, and a turnover outside the Avondale box, saw that man again Kaine Sheppard make no mistake and ruthlessly smash the ball past the Sharks keeper to take the margin out to 2:0.
The two-goal lead, nearly made it to three as another disallowed goal was called with Liam Boland tapping the ball home from a Ramazan Tavsancioglu header, again being judged offside.
In the 77th minute, there would be no questions of making it three goals as speedster Stefan Zinni was brought down in the box and the defender receiving a red card to go with it. It was the player of the match Kaine Sheppard who stepped up to take the spot-kick and score his first NPL Victoria hattrick. With no mistake and an expertly taken penalty, Avondale took a 3:0 scoreline and Sheppard would be taking home the match ball.
There was a little consolation as Port Melbourne managed to sneak a goal in before the final whistle which finished the game with a 3:1 scoreline.
The win takes Avondale back to the top of the table sitting with Bentleigh Greens SC after winning all four games so far.