Avondale have continued their perfect start to the season with an emphatic 4-0 thumping of South Melbourne at Avenger Park on Saturday.

The match loomed as the first real test of the season for the undefeated Avengers, with South having won their previous two games.

A large crowd filled Avenger Park and they didn’t have to wait long to see the game’s first goal. Yitay Towns flicked a header past South keeper Nikola Roganovic in the third minute to give Avondale the perfect start to the game.

The goal was just the start of what was a cracking first half, with plenty of end-to-end action and great chances for both teams.

Marafioti, Krousoratis and Schroen all had chances to draw South level, but couldn’t find the back of the net. At the other end of the pitch Matthew Reid’s header came close to doubling Avondale’s advantage, but it flew just over the crossbar.

As the clock ticked past the 30th minute the home side blew the game wide open, scoring two goals in four minutes.

Stefan Zinni’s superb solo effort doubled Avondale’s lead, the former South Melbourne player slalomed past two defenders before neatly tucking his shot in the bottom corner, a helpless Roganovic unable to do anything but watch the ball roll over his goal line.

Liam Boland made it 3-0 soon after. Avondale’s number nine left defenders in his wake as he found space and headed home Riccobene’s beautifully whipped in ball from a free kick.

South were rattled and Tasuku Sekiya almost inflicted more first-half pain on the visitors, a neat little flick on from Boland slipped him through on goal but his shot sizzled past the wrong side of the post.

Tensions flared at half time as some fiery words were exchanged in the tunnel as the two sides headed to the sheds, setting the stage for an intense second half.

The energy carried on into the second half, as scoring chances kept coming after the break. Zinni had a superb chance to snag his second goal of the game, a great run and pass put him one-on-one with the keeper but he lashed his shot well wide of the target.

Down the other end Howard came close to pegging one back for South, but he couldn’t get the finishing touch on a dangerous cross at the top of the six yard box.

South were soon made to pay dearly for the missed opportunity.  Zinni was brought down in the penalty area by a clumsy shoulder challenge, with Boland stepping up and slotting the penalty home.

Boland’s fifth goal of the season all but put the game to bed, but still Avondale pushed for more.

Stefan Valentini and Jonathan Germano both had gilt-edged opportunities, but Valentini’s one-on-one shot was saved and Germano’s effort crashed into the post.

The win was Avondale’s fourth in as many games, and thanks to losses by Bentleigh and Hume City, the Avengers have opened up a three-point lead at the top of the table.

Avondale play Pascoe Vale next Saturday at 3:15 at Avenger Park.

Article by Bransen Gibson

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