MELROSE FC has staked its claim on finals action with a dominant 2-0 win over Twin City.
Last year’s grand finalist found the back of the net twice in a matter of minutes late in the first half through Evan Rawluk and Sean Pye against an under-manned Wanderers.
But it was 15-year-old debutant Liam Mackay who caught the eye of keeper and coach Josh Fluss.
“He had been playing so well in the reserves that he deserved his chance today, he ended up getting a vote in the man of the match and may have kept his spot for next week,” he said.
“Michael Jessup in the middle of the park was another strong performer — to work hard all day on a big park like that was a huge effort.
“That means we are now equal third with Twin City and coming right at the right end of the season.
“But we know they too had a few of their best players on the sideline and will be a very different proposition when we get into the cup knockout.”
Melrose went into the clash at Kelly Park with a change of personnel in key positions.
Playmaker Sean Pye slotted into a sweeper role, controlling much of the play from the back and organising the defence.
Former Myrtleford player Steve Perkins, went forward rather than back and also proved a handful.
“Both had a change of role and they are happy to do what is best for the team,” Fluss said.
At Jelbart Park, last year’s league champions Boomers showed they too will be a force to be reckoned with.
Andrew Grove made it his third brace in the past four games with two goals in the second half, finished by a Peter Noordewier goal to make it a 3-0 win over Albury United.
Coach and playmaker Grove said gusty winds in the first half affected the game.
“We just couldn’t get those through balls right, the wind just carried them away from us,” he said.
“But in the second half we controlled the ball better and took our chances.”