The Oakleigh Cannons have sent an ominous warning to their rivals after defeating South Melbourne 4-1 at Jack Edwards Reserve.
Three goals in nine minutes saw the Cannons run away with the contest in a clinical display, as they move within striking distance of the top four.
There was plenty of tension and excitement in the air as South Melbourne came in their droves to Jack Edwards Reserve for a massive Friday night contest.
After a big win last week, South Melbourne came into this contest with a keen eye on sixth position, a spot the Cannons have occupied for the last few weeks.
Keen for revenge after going down to the Cannons earlier in the season, South found themselves ahead six minutes in after Marcus Schroen converted a penalty after Zac Bates was fouled inside the box.
Despite heavy protest from the Cannons defence the referee did not budge on his decision, albeit fortunately for the home side they were able to put their frustration to good use.
In maintaining their shape and composure, the Cannons responded swiftly as Harry White tapped in the easiest of goals after a kind bounce off the crossbar following Ryan Paczkowski’s header.
It was very much an arm-wrestle for the remainder of the half, as South looked forever dangerous on the counter while the likes of Joe Guest and Wade Dekker caused plenty of problems up front for the Cannons.
The break perhaps came at the worst possible time for the visitors as their momentum came to a screeching halt.
Oakleigh took full control right from the beginning of the second half – taking the lead in the 52nd minute through Dekker before captain Tom Matthews fired home his side’s third just three minutes later.
Matthews was rewarded with a goal from the very top-shelf – after about a dozen assists – to give the Cannons a two-goal cushion.
After letting a two-goal lead slip last week against Avondale, the Cannons were determined not to let this happen again as Dekker added a fourth and put the result beyond doubt.
But the Cannons did not stop here.
Guest had the ball in the back of the net, only to be flagged offside, before hitting the post with a long-ranged attempt.
While there is still plenty of football to be played, the ‘f’ word – finals – is starting to ring around Jack Edwards Reserve, a significant feat considering where the club was three months ago.