IT was a week of blown out scores in the senior Limestone Coast soccer competition on Sunday, as teams contested Round 10 of the premiership cup.
The expected match of the round was played at Malseed Park, where Blue Lake hosted International in a battle between third and first on the ladder.
However, despite a close opening half which saw Inter one-nil up at the break, the second term was owned by the black and blue.
The guests extended their lead by a further five goals to finish with an eventual six-nil victory.
Of these, three second-half goals from Matt Bueti saw him top the scorer’s list, while captain Christian Cella began the onslaught with the breakout goal from the 18-yard box before half time.
He backed that up with another goal early in the second half, while Dan Bronca also scored a single before full time.
Blue Lake was eager to put on a show, as it welcomed the “blobs” – a group of past players, presidents, coaches and committee members – for the event, to celebrate the history of the club.
And the first half certainly lived up to expectations, with both teams controlling the play at times.
But in the end the Inter defence proved too strong and its efforts in moving the ball back down the ground and towards goals were first class.
With Lachlan Charlton making his return to the senior side, his work in the backline saved many attempts at goal in the opening term.
He was joined by Josh Grubb, who had a standout game in defence and provided a brick wall for Blue Lake attackers.
Inter coach Travis McDonald could not have been happier with the result, as his team went into the clash understaffed.
“Honestly, I really did not expect a six-nil result,” he said.
“But it’s a credit to the guys because I had six players out on Sunday, through injury or being away.
“To get the results with a couple of reserves players stepping up into seniors it was fantastic.”
The first half was an arm wrestle, but in the end Inter’s depth came through.
“Blue Lake come at us in the first half like I knew they would and only being one-nil up at half time was a little bit frustrating, because we did have a lot of the play,” McDonald said.
“In saying that, they created chances as well and got in behind us a few times.
“At half time we talked about a few things and made a few little changes and moved the ball around a lot better.”
Nick Morony took to the pitch at half time, as he made the journey back from Adelaide in time to lend his services, while the combination of Cella, Bronca and Bueti continued to wreak havoc as they worked together to batter the Blue Lake goals.
“Some of the team goals were fantastic,” McDonald said.
“Just the build up from the back, through the midfield and up the front was excellent to watch.”
To his credit, Leon De Cesaris – who stepped into goals to replace an absent Andy Armandi – was impressive as the Rangers’ last line of defence.
He saved many shots which could have seen the result blow out to a greater margin, while Bryce Strachan and Jacob Ellis both provided headaches for Inter in Blue Lake’s defence.
Si Pler was also strong through the Rangers’ midfield, while Tristan Guess and Sam Richards also found plenty of the ball.
When asked about Inter’s best players on the day, McDonald could not go past the work of Grubb in the backline.
“Josh Grubb across the back was probably our best player, he was just outstanding,” he said.
“And having Lachie Charlton back in the team was a big plus.
“He was not going to play this year, but the boys have talked him around.
“He played half a game of reserves and then stepped up and played a full game of seniors and he was really good.
“Daniel Bronca was good through the midfield, Christian Cella always has a great game and Matty (Bueti) managed to hit the target a few times as well.
“There were no passengers.”
Some of the youngsters among the squad also played well, with Skayper Johnson solid in the midfield, while Tyler Michielan served well down the wing in the first half and Sar Hey Moo returned to the team after overcoming an injury.
With Inter comfortable at the top of the ladder, McDonald hopes to get some players back ready for this week’s clash against Apollo for the Peter Thomas Cup.
And Apollo will be full of confidence as it comes off the back of a massive 10-nil win at Naracoorte.
Despite a strong start to the season, the hosts were unable to contest with the in-form Apollo and a two-nil half time score was quickly extended before the final whistle.
Apollo has found form at the right time of the season, after a slow start due to player unavailability and an inconsistent lineup.
Erike Irakoze was again a dominant force up front and he bagged three goals for his efforts.
Adam Hodge and young recruit Bailey Musci scored two for the match, while Tom Inglis returned to the side this week to hit the scoreboard with a single, as did Stewart Wallace and youngster Harry Wilson.
The final match of the round saw Gambier Centrals with a similar nine-nil triumph over Millicent at Bishop Road.
With a four-goal lead at half time, Centrals continued to hit hard after the break and allowed Millicent no chances to recover.
Jake Blackwell led the way in front of goals and finished with three for the match, while the consistent Lewis March and Cameron Saint slotted two each and Mitch Thomson bagged one.
This week will see Apollo host Inter for the Peter Thomas Cup, and the clash between Blue Lake and Centrals will be one to watch, while Millicent hosts Portland.