TWIN City has stamped its authority on the AWFA competition with an emphatic 6-1 away win against Melrose FC yesterday.
Wanderers scored three in both halves in a battle that was expected to be a heavyweight clash between two of the title contenders.
Englishman Matt Gray was the standout for the away team, converting from a free kick to open the scoring and then controlling the midfield.
It took until 20 minutes into the second half for Melrose to get on the scoresheet, with a well weighted cross finding Evan Rawluk rising above the pack inside the six-yard box.
Wanderers replied almost immediately and a hand ball in the box saw Melrose reduced to 10 men with 15 minutes to go and it was Gray who converted from the penalty spot to bookend his contributions.
Twin City coach David Afonso said they came to Melrose Park wanting to make a statement.
“We believe they will be one of the teams to beat this year, perhaps the second best side with Albury United, so we needed to assert ourselves,” he said.
“And the boys were switched on from the start.
“Gray was terrific in the midfield and Zac Walker doesn’t need an invite to score and in some ways to just expect his quality finishes in front of goal.
“We took our chances and Josh Fluss (Melrose keeper) in the second half made some pretty special saves.
“We are confident in every game we play but we need to be ruthless each week and not be complacent.”
Both sides suffered key injuries — Melrose playmaker Sean Pye forced from the field at half-time, while Wanderers English import James Coutts was rested with a hamstring strain.
At Glen Park, Boomers and Albury United went to the break at 0-0 after both had hit the woodwork with limited chances in the first half.
In a physical encounter, the Greens’ Josh Mulcahy hit the upright from a free kick, while at the other end Peter Noordewier’s turning effort glanced off the cross bar.
But it was United’s prolific striker Mitch Jones who broke the deadlock with 20 minutes to go.
Coach Adam Carty said they ran out of match condition as Boomers pushed for the equaliser.
“They came at us pretty hard at the end and Marty Chambers pulled off some great saves to keep us in front,” he said.