Crucial round for BASL finals hopefuls

SMOOTH OPERATOR: Strathdale midfielder Lukas Blom has been causing headaches for opposition defenders. Picture: ADAM BOURKE
SMOOTH OPERATOR: Strathdale midfielder Lukas Blom has been causing headaches for opposition defenders. Picture: ADAM BOURKE

The focus of round 18 of the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League season centres on the race for third and fourth.

Division one leader Eaglehawk plays bottom side Colts United and looks certain to collect the three points, while the Hawks’ closest rival Shepparton South should have too much polish for a Golden City side that is without star striker Godwill Basha.

Two points separates third-placed Strathdale, fourth-placed Shepparton United and fifth-placed Epsom.

The in-form Strathdale faces a danger game on the road against Shepparton, Shepparton United faces a tough test against sixth-placed Tatura, while Epsom should get the three points against Moama-Echuca.

Strathdale needed an injury-time goal to defeat Shepparton when the two teams met earlier this season, but the Blues have improved dramatically since then.

They’ve collected points in eight of their nine games since that Shepparton clash, including a stunning 2-0 win over Eaglehawk.

Shepparton has showed flashes of good play all season, but consistency over 90 minutes is its biggest problem.

Shepparton United is coming off a 5-4 loss to Epsom and will be without suspended skipper Kadhim Alhilfi for its home clash with Tatura.

Last time these two sides met they played out a fiery 2-2 draw. United desperately needs the three points this time around.

Epsom should post its seventh win from its past eight games when it hosts Moama-Echuca Border Raiders.

Liz Watkins

Liz Watkins

Meanwhile, the highlight of the women’s championship will be at Epsom where the second-placed Scorpions have the chance to move back to the top of the ladder if they defeat third-placed Moama-Echuca.

With top team Shepparton United having the bye, the Scorpions can move into first place and then hope the championship favourites drop a game in the final month of the season.

Seventh-placed Colts United must beat fifth-placed Eaglehawk at Strathfieldsaye to keep its fading finals hopes alive.

Colts are three points and significant goal difference behind fourth.

After a mid-season slump, the Hawks have regained their mojo. The return of Maika Ruyter-Hooley has given the Hawks some more firepower up front and they should collect another three points on Sunday.

In the remaining games, fourth-placed Shepparton South will have too much class for Golden City, while eighth-placed Spring Gully and ninth-placed Swan Hill will play for pride at Swan Hill.