Sport

United win absolutely Fab

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April 17, 2018

Shepparton United's Andrew Kyriakou (right) looks to get around Shepparton's Abdal Rahman Alhashoush.

Shepparton's Frank Mariner gets through a Shepparton United challenge.

Former Goulburn Valley Suns coach Nick Kalafatis is settling in well at Shepparton United.

Shepparton United's Ghulam Hassani and Shepparton's Haider Al-Hamzah compete for the ball.

It all clicked for Shepparton United on Sunday, but it took until after half-time for Roven Shaholli’s charges to reap full reward for their efforts.

After spurning a wealth of chances in last week’s Bendigo Amateur Soccer League season-opener — costing themselves the full three points in the process — United seemed to be on the same path when it went in 1-0 down to Shepparton at half-time in round two.

But Shaholli rallied his troops at the break and the floodgates opened thanks to some great work from the coach and one of his stars, Fabrice Ebe.

‘‘The score doesn’t show the game at all,’’ Shaholli said.

‘‘I thought we were impressive all game, but in the first half we were against the wind and it was really hard to settle on the ball.

‘‘We still had plenty of chances like last week though and we have to finish them off.

‘‘Once we started scoring it really opened up, so I was really proud of the boys for sticking to the game plan, being patient and believing in the structures we have in place.’’

Shaholli put it on the likes of Ebe at the break to make the most of their opportunities in front of goal, and that was certainly what the former Goulburn Valley Suns star did — scoring in the 50th, 55th and 90th minutes to complete a stirring hat-trick.

‘‘Fabrice was brilliant, he scored some really quality goals with some help from three assists from his coach,’’ Shaholli said.

‘‘He had plenty of chances in the first half, but didn’t finish them, so we had a chat at half-time and it was just about sticking to the game plan and finishing those opportunities, and he did that in the second half.’’

Ermal Marku found the back of the net for the second time in as many games in the 72nd minute, while Shaholli scored a pearler in the 75th in the 5-1 triumph.

‘‘It’s a good confidence boost for the boys,’’ Shaholli said.

‘‘It’s a long season and there are a lot of good teams fighting for those top four spots, so every point counts, especially at the start of the season.

‘‘I believe we’re one of those good sides, and we’ve got four or five players to come back in, so it’s going to be a good problem to have.’’

Andrew Kyriakou was also exceptional for United in his first full game in almost seven years, while Omran Alhamzah was the only scorer for the Reds after finding the net in the third minute of the fixture.

●Tatura has stormed further ahead at the top of the men’s division one table after yet another impressive performance on Sunday.

The Ibises struck truly six times in a dominant romp against Golden City, netting three goals in the first half and as many after the break in the 6-0 victory.

Coach Sean Grant (13th minute), Tom Leech (17th) and Tristan Zito (29th) gave the home side the ascendancy at Howley Oval early in the piece before Lewis Coyle put on a one-man show for spectators late in the contest.

The former Goulburn Valley Suns import pounced on a City goalkeeper mistake in the 73rd minute to ink his name onto the scoresheet before punctuating the Ibises’ victory with 83rd minute and 87th minute goals to complete a 14-minute hat-trick.

●Shepparton South did not miss out on the round two fun, putting three goals past Epsom in a 3-0 triumph.

Willie Sauiluma (first minute), Ashish Sahayam (38th) and Hussein Sumaili (57th) were the players who did the damage for South, with the side bouncing back well from a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Tatura last week.

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