Two of the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League’s gladiators will be locked in colosseum McEwen Reserve tomorrow and only one can escape with the three points.
Second-placed Eaglehawk and third-placed Shepparton South will battle, each looking to show it is a genuine contender.
Goals are not predicted to be flowing when two of the best defences collide; Eaglehawk has only conceded eight goals in seven games, while South has copped just seven.
It will take a special player to change the game and the Southerners’ most dynamic weapon is proving to be Joel Aitken, who has scored seven goals in two weeks.
South has won three straight games since a 2-0 loss to Shepparton United, but Eaglehawk is looking just as good, particularly in last weekend’s 2-0 win against Tatura.
●Strathdale has been in brutal form this season — seven games, seven wins.
Travelling to Tatura, it will expect a stern test despite the Ibises’ inconsistent form.
Tatura promised the world in a strong start to the year, but with a two disappointing draws and a loss in its past month is outside the BASL top four looking in heading to round nine.
The woes started defensively, with 10 goals conceded in four games despite playing winnable games.
And though the Ibises pack the second-hardest punch in the league, it will need every bit of that to break through the Strathdale wall which has only been climbed over four times in seven games.
●Shepparton’s clash with Spring Gully United tomorrow can best be summed up in two words — must win.
The Reds season has stumbled twice in the past fortnight against the league’s top two sides, uncompetitive last weekend in a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Strathdale.
They will enjoy the step down in grade to face United, which has only won one game for the season.
●Shepparton United has cruised into fourth spot on the BASL table and has well and truly earned its bye this weekend.
Satisfied with fourth, coach Roven Shaholli was a touch frustrated his side was not even better placed.
‘‘There just could have been a couple more games where we were leading and could have taken three points,’’ he said.
‘‘The Colts United game (a 2-2 draw in round five), we were a bit disappointed with the soccer we played.’’
United had its colours lowered by league-leaders Strathdale a fortnight back, and Shaholli acknowledged that was the team to beat.
‘‘Strathdale is a very good side, they’re very even throughout the park and work together very well,’’ he said.
‘‘They work together very well and we’ve got a lot of respect for them, but having said that it was only a mistake that cost us against them and we had a lot more possession.’’