By RORY FLANAGNA (@RoryFlanagan)
Arthur Papas made a triumphant return to Jack Edwards Reserve as his Cannons outgunned Dandenong Thunder 4-2 on Friday night. Dean Piemonte and Goran Zoric delivered a second-half, seven-minute triple salvo to bag all three points.
In a beautiful evening weather, the hosts kicked off proceedings in the best possible manner when Dom D'Angelo's deflected effort from distance left Zaim Zeneli wrong-footed and bounced into the back of the net.
Spirits in the Cannons camp were high, as a much more intense pressing structure and sharper transition prevented Dandenong from running riot as they did over Northcote 6-1 last week.
Stars of that show were Jarod Blackbourn and Yusuf Ahmed, and the two talented teenagers looked full of confidence.
The latter put Dandy back on level terms in the 33rd minute, sending Honos the wrong way with a thumping finish to give both coaches plenty to think about at the interval.
With talisman Dusan Bosnjak forced off toward the end of the first period, much of the half time discourse pertained to where Oakleigh's attacking impetus would come from. Enter Dean Piemonte and Goran Zoric.
The pint-sized dynamic duo took proceedings into their own hands and delivered three second half goals in the space of seven minutes. The first of the three came from Zoric - a sublimely controlled volley reminiscent of Paolo Di Canio's famous strike - into the bottom corner.
Oakleigh's goal that doubled the advantage was the product of some tidy passing in the final third, finished off by Piemonte slotting the rebound from Ben Clarke's one-on-one with Zeneli.
Piemonte then decided to turn on the style as Papas looked to substitute him. Weaving his way through traffic before his markers backed off, the number ten to curled perfectly placed effort into the far corner of Zeneli's goal from the edge of the box to seal the points at 4-1.
Five minutes later Yusuf Ahmed decided it was his turn to stake his claim for goal of the season and stormed down the flank at breakneck speed. The 18-year old raced into the box and then stunned everyone by effortlessly chipping Honos for his eighth goal of the campaign, with seven of those coming in his last five matches.
Dandy push hard to add more respectability to the scoreline late on, but Aron Wilford marshalled his back four to see the game out despite the threat of Ahmed who has now highlighted himself as one of the competition's most in-form players.
Oakleigh Cannons 4 (D'Angelo 1', Zoric 53', Piemonte 56', 60') defeated Dandenong Thunder 2 (Ahmed 33', 65') at Jack Edwards Reserve
OC: John Honos, Aron Wilford, John Black, Adam Le Cornu, Tremayne Sadler, Dom D'Angelo, Dean Piemonte, Jake McLean, Goran Zoric, Dusan Bosnjak (Ben Clarke 41'), Kris Kioussis (Lambros Honos 72')
Unused: Lajos Hun, George Krommidas.
Yellow cards: D'Angelo 25' (tackle), Piemonte 90' (tackle)
DT: Zaim Zeneli, Brendan Elmazovski, Faisal SahkiZada, Adam Petko (Lewis Foster 75'), Gideon Sweet, Alan Mulcahy, Ramazan Tavsancioglu, Michael Gerace (Ari Ritz 78'), Yusuf Ahmed, Abdirahman Ahmed (Jarryd Barnes 75')
Unused: Chris England, Fitim Ibraimi.
Yellow cards: Petko 55' (tackle)
Last Modified on 02/05/2015 15:29