The Oakleigh Cannons have booked their place in the NPL Victoria semi-finals after a 2-0 win at home against Hume City in their Elimination Final at Jack Edwards Reserve.
A date with Avondale in the semi-final awaits the Cannons after yet another impressive performance at home – extending their unbeaten streak to 18.
Goals either side of the break to Wade Dekker and Matt Foschini booked Oakleigh’s place in the semi-final, with the big story of the match being the injury to Hume goalkeeper Michael Weier in the build up to Foschini’s sealer.
This was the fourth meeting between the two sides this season – with Hume having beaten the Cannons twice, once in the league and in the FFA Cup.
Despite a shaky start to the match, the Cannons carried their impressive league form into the first week of the finals – defeating a Hume City side they had not beaten during the season.
Hume had the best of early chances as John Honos’ reflexive save kept out a bullet header from James Brown in the 19th minute.
The deadlock was broken moments before the referee concluded what had been a frustrating opening half for both sides.
A smooth transition from left-to-right saw Dekker played through in space, with the Cannons winger beating Weier with a low strike across his body.
It did not take long for the home side to double their lead after the break.
A free-kick swung in by Ryan Paczkowski spilled at the back post for Foschini who – on his second attempt – struck the ball into the open net.
Hume’s woes were exacerbated with goalkeeper Weier injuring his shoulder in the build-up and was forced to be substituted.
Determined to take advantage of the inexperienced James Kapuranovski in goals, Foschini came inches away to kill the game completely as his low shot struck the post.
A lifeline for Hume – the visitors began to worry the Cannons as they found themselves deep into attack as the half wore on.
A long-ranged attempt from Brown nearly sent the busload of Hume supporters into raptures – hitting the crossbar and going out for a goal-kick.
As the clock ticked over into stoppage time, Joe Guest - who had been tightly marked all game - had the opportunity to add a third, but was unable to direct his header on target.
The win sees Oakleigh in yet another semi-final, this time away to Avondale witht he match set to be played on Saturday September 7 at 2:30pm.