Vikings advance through play-off

Sebastopol Vikings is one step closer to moving into the Football Federation Victoria state league three competition after it defeated fellow contender Lalor United 3-2 in Saturday’s play-off.

The Vikings accounted for state league four north’s second side with its best performance of the season, according to coach Corey Smith.

Smith was elated with the side’s display given the enormity of the clash.

Vikings will now face Fawkner Soccer Club.

“It was our best performance for the season – by a long way,” Smith said.

“The players have done an amazing job all year so nothing changed really.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Sebastopol tinkered with some positional changes to its line-up and brought its usual intensity, amounting to an outstanding performance.

Vikings scored the opener after half an hour before a classy Lalor header levelled the scores going into half-time. 

Ibrahim Ghulami made it 2-1 after 50 minutes before captain Marcus Lynch gave his side a two-goal buffer 10 minutes later. Lalor scored its second goal in injury time.

Joris Kerstens

Joris Kerstens

Smith said his side had learnt how to deal with the pressure of expectation after falling just short of the league title earlier this month.

He felt there would be more of a sense of excitement rather than nervousness leading into “probably the biggest game in the club’s history”.

“I don’t think there will be any nerves, I think that game is as a big as it’s got for any of the players and they responded well.

“Because our league was so tight, pretty much the last five games have been like grand finals.

“I think we’ve learnt from the mistakes from the couple of games that we dropped when we were under pressure, I think we’ve learnt how to deal with that pressure a little bit better.

“As a player or a coach this is why you’re involved in sport, to play in the big moments, to coach in the big moments – this is as big as it gets this week.”

The Vikings held top position, which grants automatic promotion, for much of the FFV state league three west season before Point Cook overtook it late in the year.

It has had to go about promotion the tough way, but it is looking promising for the talented team.