Heidelberg signals title intentions with big win
By Matthew Conversano
Heidelberg United was simply too strong for mid-table Oakleigh Cannons as it ran out a 4-1 winner on Sunday evening at Olympic Park.
Despite going behind early thanks to a Mirjan Pavlovic goal, a brace from Reuben Way and goals from Kenny Athiu and Dan Heffernan were enough to see Heidelberg earn the three points.
The opening quarter of the match saw very little in terms of goalmouth action as both teams looked to implement their respective styles of football on the match, with the condition of the pitch making it difficult for both sides to do so.
The only real chance on goal in the first half hour of football fell to Oakleigh as a skillful run through the middle of midfield from Lambros Honos was capped of with a perfect through ball to front man Pavlovic just on 13 minutes.
However his strike towards the bottom corner was well saved by the outstretched leg of Heidelberg custodian Griffin McMaster.
With goalmouth action at a premium for the first half, Oakleigh’s opener came with just its second attack as a brilliant burst of pace from Kofi Danning left him with plenty of time to slide the ball across the face of goal to Pavlovic, whose flick on found the bottom corner.
The first goal seemed to bring the match to life as Heidelberg’s response took all but two minutes to come to pass in the form of a brilliant cross from Kaine Sheppard who found Dan Heffernan free between the two Cannons centre halves.
Heffernan mad no mistake from six yards as his powerful header squared things up just before half time.
The second half saw a much more attacking display as both sides looked to be pushing for the advantage.
Oakleigh took no more than a minute to show its intent after the restart as a ripping volley from Jake Mclean flew just across the face of goal.
However it was Heidelberg who took the lead just on 56 minutes after a Reuben Way screamer from 30 yards found the top corner, leaving Oakleigh custodian Lajos Hun helpless.
Seemingly fueled by a rush of confidence from his earlier strike, Way scored his second in as many minutes as he weaved through several Oakleigh defenders and slotted the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.
Just on 71 minutes, a visibly depleted Oakleigh side conceded its fourth and final goal of the evening as a through ball from Heffernan deep in midfield found Kenny Athiu who chipped the ball over a hapless Hun.
Despite a slow start, Heidelberg proved too strong for a struggling Oakleigh side in a match that is sure to make a statement in its push for the minor premiership.
Heidelberg United 4 (Heffernan 42’, Way 56’, 58’, Athiu 71’) defeated Oakleigh Cannons 1 (Pavlovic 41’) at Olympic Park, Heidelberg West
Heidelberg United: 23. Griffin McMaster (GK), 3. Leslie Doumbalis, 7. Reuben Way (24. Andrew Cartanos 81’), 4. Johnny Lazaridis, 15. Milos Ilic, 10. Jack Petrie, 13. Luke Byles, 14. Dan Heffernan, 17. Steven Pace, 20. Nejc Kolman (8. Mitchell Walsh 84’), 5. Daniel Vasilevski, 22. Kaine Sheppard (12. Ken Athiu 62’)
Unused Subs: 1. Jason Koutsadoutis, 6. Phillip Vaiopolous
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Oakleigh Cannons: 35. Lajos Hun (GK), 3. John Black, 18. Adam Le cornu, 5. Aron Wilford, 21. Jakob Williams, 15. Jake McLean (6. Steve Pantelidis 63’), 26. Lampros Honos (2. Rowan McNamee 73’), 10. Dean Piemonte (16. Sean Rooney 57’), 12. Tremayne Sadler, 11. Kofi Danning, 14. Mirjan Pavlovic
Unused Subs: 76. John Honos, 23. Julian De Thomasis
Yellow Cards: Le Cornu 10’, Honos 33’, McLean 35’
Red Cards: Nil