Barkers’ men run riot with a hat-trick success

Geordie Scott scored the first goal for Barkers in a spectacular display for the club in the second round of the season. Pictures: MICK ASHWORTH.

By Peter Stephenson

It was a beautiful sunny day at Esther Park as Barkers Soccer Club (third) hosted Brandon Park (sixth) in round two of Men’s State 2 South-East competition.

Barkers were seeking to build on the previous week’s 3-1 win over Old Scotch, while Brandon Park had surprisingly dropped points at Monbulk Rangers in a come-from-behind 2-2 draw.

Barkers had last beaten BP in 2013, which was the same year Brechan Adams scored a hat-trick against Croydon. No male Barker had done so since.

BP had the first chance after four minutes when a Barkers clearance fell to a forward, but he shot wide. Then in a sign of things to come, Sean Perrin sent the ball out to Maxim Solovyev on the left wing. He crossed for Geordie Scott, who deftly touched the ball into the corner of the net for the opening goal – a lovely move with an equally tasty finish.

On seven minutes, Nick Andrejic crossed low from the left. Liam Seaye latched onto the ball but hit his shot at Christian Morales in the visitors’ goal. Then Barkers took a short corner on the left, which was crossed to the far post. Perrin headed wide, but was flagged offside in any case. This was almost one-way traffic, and soon Steve Nittoli robbed a defender, passed the ball out to Solovyev on the left, and received the ball back. He had two bites of the cherry but Morales was equal to them both.

Inevitably, Barkers’ pressure told once more. On the quarter hour, the lively Seaye again robbed his opponent, and under pressure on the right, managed to find Solovyev in the centre. Solovyev managed to squeeze the ball past the onrushing Morales into the net. There was some consultation between the officials as to whether there was a foul, but the goal was given and, as with last week, Barkers had an early 2-0 lead.

BP eventually found their rhythm and on 23 minutes, Jordan Carlse Horn played a one-two with a teammate which left him with only keeper Mark Naumowicz to beat, and he slotted the ball into the far corner of the net to make it 2-1 Barkers.

This emboldened the visitors, and they sent a free-kick from the right side of midfield to the far post. A forward headed towards goal, but Naumowicz turned the ball round his post. Just after the half hour, BP had a throw-in on the left which was worked to the six-yard box, where a forward swivelled and shot wide. Having survived this 15 minute spell, Barkers now took complete control of the game.

Eight minutes before the break, Solovyev burst through a square BP defence and slid the ball to Scott who was in support. Scott had a relatively easy task to stroke the ball home for 3-1. Then five minutes before half-time, Perrin again found Solovyev on the left. He crossed, but the ensuing shot was blocked. Half-time – Mooroolbark 3 Brandon Park 1.

Barkers began the second half where they had left off. On 51 minutes Seaye hit a free-kick on the left to Scott. He floated the ball over for Brett Tronconi, who headed over. Two minutes later the ball was passed to Solovyev on the right. He crossed for Scott, who headed home for 4-1. This was the first Barker men’s hat-trick for nearly nine years and richly deserved.

Eleven minutes later, a ball in for the left found Scott, who tucked the ball home for 5-1. This was the first time a male Barker had scored four in a game since 2012, also against Brandon Park. There were still 25 minutes left for Scott to become the first man to score five in a game since 1967. However, Barkers’ coach Paul Burrows substituted Scott on 73 minutes to avoid aggravating a niggle.

With five minutes to go and BP in disarray, Solovyev scored Barkers’ sixth goal. Then with a minute to go, a cross from the right found Solovyev at the far post, who scored his own hat-trick. Full time – Mooroolbark 7 Brandon Park 1.

This was heady stuff from the Barkers. Pre-season results were abysmal, but the season proper is often the opposite. Scott and Solovyev worked extremely well together, as did the rest of the side in this remarkable display. Remarkable, because in some quarters, BP were touted as favourites for this league before a ball was kicked. Barkers go top while BP drops to nineth. Next week the Barkers have their first away game, at third placed Knox City.