By David Nagel
Pakenham United’s winless streak has stretched out to four games after going down 3-2 to Mentone at IYU Reserve on Saturday.
Pakenham last tasted success in rounds 10 and 11, when 5-0 and 4-0 victories over Hampton Park and Mount Martha appeared to have United’s season back on track.
But United has since struggled to bank points, with draws with Rosebud (2-2) and Bunyip (1-1) the only forms of deposit over the last four rounds of the season.
But United is certainly not parking the bus and playing boring football, scoring eight goals over that four-game journey.
Those draws with Rosebud and Bunyip were split by a 3-4 loss to ladder-leaders White Star Dandenong in one of the games of the year.
Mentone struck first on the weekend with Max Dunn opening the scoring after 26 minutes of play.
United was back in the contest when Micah McGill struck in the 35th minute for the home side, before the visitors answered in an instant.
James Bingham slotted a second for Mentone just seven minutes prior to the break to see the fourth-ranked team in the competition lead 2-1 at half time.
Dunn then almost closed the door after 15 minutes of the second half, kicking his second to effectively seal the deal with a 3-1 lead.
Toby Ryan then gave United a glimmer of hope, scoring a goal one minute before injury time in his first senior game for the club.
But Mentone held on, securing its first win since round 11 against Rosebud.
Pakenham head to Aspendale this week in a winnable game against a team that currently sits below United on the table.
Bunyip is going along steadily after the Strikers fought back with a second-half goal to finish 1-1 with second-placed Barton United.
The Lions struck first through Arif Askari to take a 1-0 lead to half time.
But the Strikers have played some really competitive football of late and wouldn’t go down without a fight.
Spencer Nebel nailed the equaliser in the second half to see the Strikers bank their 19th point of the season to sit in sixth place on the ladder.
The Strikers face a tough assignment this week, hitting the road to take on third-placed Casey Panthers.
The Panthers had an impressive six-game winning streak ended by top-of-the table White Star Dandenong on Saturday.
White Star won 1-0 to remain undefeated since round one.
White Star has now won 10 consecutive games to sit six points clear on top.
MEN’S STATE LEAGUE 5 SOUTH
RESULTS – ROUND 16
Pakenham United 2 v Mentone 3, White Star Dandenong 1 v Casey Panthers 0, Bunyip 1 v Barton United 1, Mount Martha 1 v Aspendale 1, Hampton Park 4 v Rosebud 4, South East United – Bye.
White Star Dandenong 38, Barton United 32, Casey Panthers 27, Mentone 25, Hampton Park 23, Bunyip Strikers 19, South East United 17, Pakenham 13, Aspendale 9, Rosebud 9, Mount Martha 8.
FIXTURE – ROUND 17
Aspendale v Pakenham United, White Star Dandenong v Hampton Park, Mount Martha v Rosebud, Casey Panthers v Bunyip Strikers, South East United v Mentone, Barton United – Bye.