Veteran Tomas Jackson turned back the clock to score a hat-trick in the first 25 minutes as Steel United eased passed Croatia 3-0 on Saturday. The game was only 10 minutes old as Jackson put away a square ball from Watt to put the home side up 1-0 and then doubled their lead 5 minutes later as Tudhope failed to parry away Keegan Fay's low free kick and Jackson pounced at the back post to tap home for 2-0.
After 25 minutes, a cross from the right found Jackson and his header hit the crossbar and in to complete his hat-trick. The second half was a tame affair as Paterson stretched the keeper with a low shot and soon after Ben Longin hit the crossbar with a thunderous strike. With only minutes left Gill won a penalty for the away side but Welgraven saved his spot kick as Steel dragged themselves off the bottom with a backs to the wall win. In the reserves, Steel won 6-2 over Croatia.
Sunday's game saw Wanderers lucky to escape Jenkins Park with a 1-0 victory over Lions. Lions started well but Wanderers soon got on top as Joslyn had a goal called offside and soon after Fellah had a header creep just over the crossbar. After 35 minutes Wanderers won the ball in midfield and fed Joslyn and he coolly curled it around Welgraven who was well off his line for 1-0. In the second half Lions came back into it with some great chances but poor finishing and the crossbar saved the Blues. Near full time Mikic came close with a rebound that he put just wide. Wanderers held on but Lions will feel they deserved something from the game. In the reserves, Wanderers had a 4-1 win over Lions.
This weekend's games
Croatia hosts Lions at Croatia Park on Saturday in a crucial game at the bottom end of the ladder. Both sides sit 4th and 5th at the moment but a win here for Lions could condemn Croatia to the bottom with two games left. Croatia didn't look themselves last week against Steel and failed to score which normally hasn't been a problem for them this year. Lions had a heap of players out last week but they performed heroically and will feel they deserved something out of their 1-0 home loss to Wanderers. Nielsen, Jordy Kuchel, Kinnear and Colaruotolo should be available for this which will cause a nice headache for coach Murphy to ponder on selection. Going on last week's form Lions will be favourites here.
Sunday's game has Westland United tackling Steel United at Magill Park with the Red Devils looking to take all the points as they pursue Wanderers at the top. Westlands had the bye last week but in their previous match they swept Croatia aside to the tune of 6-2 and have been unbeaten since round 10. Since round 10 they've only conceded 4 goals with keeper Gibbs and the return of Barr at the back making them hard to break down. The young juniors at Steel have been thrust into the first recently and it hasn't been easy for them so a 3-0 win over Croatia last week would have been a great confidence booster. The last time these two met, Westlands gave Steel a pasting but the home side have improved since. Westlands should win comfortably though.