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Sunday, 27 March 2011 23:30

Vlado Vanis set for Saints?

Written by  James Watson
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    Greens celebrate after Hayden Doyle’s opener. Photo: STEVE STAREK Greens celebrate after Hayden Doyle’s opener. Photo: STEVE STAREK

    RUMOUR was rife yesterday that former Melbourne Croatia championship-winning player and coach Vlado Vanis was poised to take over at St Albans Saints.

    The Croatian-backed club went down 2-0 to Bentleigh Greens at Kingston Heath on Friday night and club powerbrokers acted the very next day by axing Kruni Razov as head coach.
    Razov had taken the club to the State One title last season but just six games into the current season was shown the door.
    GW spoke to Vanis late last night and although he claimed he had not been approached by St Albans he made it clear that he would consider an approach carefully.
    “No, no-one from Dinamo has contacted me but if things change in the next few days then we definitely will see what happens,” said Vanis.
    Saints failed to flatter against a Greens side that had lost three on the trot and although the home team lost Steve Laurie after just half an hour the ledger was squared before the break when Liam Cannell received a second yellow and an automatic send-off.
    Laurie was sent off in controversial circumstances given that the referee had to consult one of his assistants before brandishing the red card. Laurie had shoved an opponent in the chest and the St Albans player had gone to ground dramatically.
    The best chances of the first period had gone to the home side while Peter Gavalas was rarely troubled.
    Bentleigh’s best chances fell to Stuart Nicholson who found himself twice in one-on-one situation with Saints custodian Ante Locaric but failed to convert on both occasions.
    Nicholson’s teammate Wayne Wallace also went close with a header from the six yard box but the scores remained deadlocked at half time.
    As the second half unfolded it increasingly looked like it would take something special to break the ice and up stepped Hayden Doyle in the 65th minute to deliver in style with a stunning free kick from well outside the area that gave Loncaric no chance.
    Saints got back into the game and pressed for an equaliser but they failed to create enough clearcut chances and it was their lack of bite up front that was to prove costly.
    In the 90th minute the three points were sealed when Sean McIlroy set up James McGarry for a tap in. It was McGarry’s first goal for the Greens and no doubt their fans will be hoping that it’s the first of many.
    The winners were best served by Tom Mathews, Aron Wilford and McIlroy and Mathews’ performance caught the eye of an interested spectator who had flown down from the Gold Coast for the weekend.
    GW can confirm that Miron Bleiberg approached Greens boss Andy O’Dell after the match and enquired about Mathews. Bleiberg has been casting an eye over the VPL this weekend and don’t be surprised to see some firm bids emerge for some of the top players in Victoria’s elite competition.
    It was a delighted O’Dell who spoke to GW at game’s end.
    “We’ve had a horror stretch lately so it was really, really important for the club to get back into winning ways,” he said.
    “To be honest we had a disaster against Melbourne Knights but the way the players responded was excellent and let’s see if we can keep it going. We’ve got a big game against Richmond this week and it’s a very, very important game for both clubs.”

    Bentleigh Greens 2
    St Albans Saints 0

    Venue: Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
    Crowd: 600
    Scorers: Doyle (65th), McGarry (90th).
    Cautions: McIlroy, Bulloch (BG), Cannell, Visevic (StA).
    Send offs: Laurie (BG), Cannell (StA).

    BENTLEIGH: Gavalas, Mathews, Laurie, Wallace, McIlroy, Doyle, Bulloch (Fadljevic 46th), Wilford, Davidson, Webster, Nicholson (McGarry 80th).

    ST ALBANS: A. Loncaric, Kuze, A. Paleka, Grgic, Milardovic, M. Paleka, Jozeljic (Hana 71st), Cannell, J. Locaric (Alibeyi 71st), Visevic, Piorkowski (Jesensek 84th).

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