Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Al-Sulaiman sets up United success

Ali Al-Sulaiman has weaved some magic passes with his boot to set up a Regional Premier League success for Shepparton United against Cobram Victory.

MATTHEW GALEA May 20, 2014 3:20am

Ali Al-Sulaiman might not have scored a goal himself, but it was the magic in his boots that allowed Shepparton United to beat Cobram Victory in Regional Premier League for the second time this season.

Al-Sulaiman was the man to break down the Victory defence with two ripping through balls in the space of five minutes midway through the first half to assist United’s two goals.

Carl Lamb showed his pace and power to get onto the first one, before Adam Morning latched on to another superb through-ball minutes later and dispatched his finish to put United two goals up.

The goals capped a positive first half for Blues coach Nick Kalafatis.

‘‘We looked a lot better in the first half, but Victory had a couple of chances from defensive mistakes,’’ Kalafatis said.

‘‘We just finished our chances, despite not having many — which isn’t pleasing.’’

United’s midfield dropped off in the second half and Victory revelled in the greater space.

They struggled to break down the United defence — which James Kalafatis, Kelvin Lomax and Clinton Hoxhallari marshalled superbly.

Thankfully for them, they had Charlie Romain in midfield.

The English import has made a habit already this season of scoring spectacular efforts and his latest long-range bullet did not disappoint.

His strike brought the score back to 2-1, but Victory could not snatch an equaliser, despite a sustained period of pressure.

Nick Kalafatis eventually reacted by moving an extra body into midfield, after which Victory struggled to create much through the middle.

‘‘Once we did that they looked for the long ball a bit more, which wasn’t a problem for Kelvin or Clinton,’’ Kalafatis said.

‘‘I’m very pleased with James, too. He’s really standing out.

‘‘He’s been solid in defence and been perfect with his positioning, but he’s a lot more confident on the ball now which is good to see.’’

The result moves United up to second on the table, having played a game more than Cobram.

Victory is three points off fourth-placed Tatura, which has a game in hand.

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