Eagles bitten by Sharks

Midfielder Mitch Szybkowski led Beaconsfield’s third-quarter revival against Park Orchards. 406516 Pictures: ROB CAREW

By David Nagel

Beaconsfield came out on the wrong side of a roller-coaster ride against undefeated Park Orchards on Saturday going down by 18 points in a wind-swept top-of-the-table contest at Holm Park Reserve.

The Sharks prevailed 10.11(71) to 7.11(53) in the Eastern Division One Match of the Day, with four goals in 11 minutes in the last quarter overcoming a slender Beaconsfield lead.

Mick Fogarty was forced to make four changes from last week’s win over Montrose, with Josh Mounter, Kade De La Rue, Trent Stokoe and Jafar Ocaa replaced with Jack Docherty, Mitch Szybkowski, Ryan Williamson and Ben Fogarty.

The earliest sign was a positive one for the home side.

Midfielder Tylah Stokoe drifted forward to kick the first of the afternoon after 60 seconds of play, before the Sharks bared their collective teeth and came back hard.

Five goals in 13 minutes rocked the Eagles, who found themselves 25-points adrift after Sam Heron put the finishing touches on a classic one-two handball receive after 15 minutes of play.

Josh Chappell was proving a formidable force in the ruck, while midfielders Tyler Prunty, Liam Jeffs and skipper Mick Prosenak were giving the Eagles the runaround.

A clever goal from Stokoe, out of congestion, cut the margin to 17 points after a highly-entertaining first stanza.

Both teams were inaccurate in a goalless second term, with Beaconsfield kicking five points to three points for the quarter.

The Eagles then made their move in the third.

Jake Bowd converted a holding-the-man free-kick to justify Fogarty’s decision to move him forward, before the Sharks answered via a clever right-foot snap from Tom Livingstone.

The Eagles then turned a 16-point deficit into a two-point lead at the final change with three goals in six minutes.

The undefeated Sharks were being outplayed for one of the few times this season as Brandon White, Declan Curran and Connor Muat tightened things up in the back-half, while Szybkowski and Damien Johnston lifted their rating through the midfield.

Szybkowski kick-started the revival with a long-goal from 40, before Myles Currie produced the bravest act of the day.

Currie kept his eyes on the ball and charged unflinchingly into a pack, marking a dangerous high-ball to cut the margin to four points at the 15-minute mark of the third quarter.

Two minutes later Currie was at it again, with quick hands to Bowd allowing the inspirational left-footer to put the Eagles in front for the first time since the early stages of the contest.

Sensing the moment, both teams lifted their defensive pressure either side of three-quarter time, with no goals being scored between the 17-minute-mark of the third quarter to the 12-minute mark of the last.

But the stoppage goal to Park Orchard’s Jacob Vippond triggered the ladder-leaders into action.

In the blink of an eye the Sharks were soon 25 points in front after a goal to Liam Webb, and two more to Alex Macrokanis put an end to the Eagles’ challenge.

A late goal to Bowd cut the margin back to 18.

The Eagles did well to stay in the game, with Ocaa not taking the field on Saturday and regular goal-kickers in Mackay Bateson, Hayden Brough and Charlie Muley not hitting the scoreboard at all.

Bowd’s three goals all came after half-time, while two first-quarter goals to Stokoe kept the Eagles in the hunt.

White was sensational for the Eagles across half back, taking intercept marks for fun, while the solid body of Docherty also had an impact.

The Eagles, now third on the ladder, hit the road this week to take on eighth-placed Doncaster.

BEACONSFIELD 2.3 2.8 6.9 7.11(53)

PARK ORCHARDS 5.2 5.5 6.7 10.11(71)

Beaconsfield Goals: Jake Bowd 3, Tylah Stokoe 2, Myles Currie, Mitch Szybkowski. Best: Brandon White, Declan Curran, Connor Mouat, Mitch Szybkowski, Jack Docherty, Damien Johnston.

Park Orchards Goals: Tom Livingstone 2, Alexander Macrokanis 2, Sam Heron, Kane Keppel, Alex Magnano, McLaren Spiteri, Jacob Vippond, Liam Webb. Best: Josh Chappell, Liam Webb, Tyler Prunty, Sam Heron, Alex Magnano, Ciaran Hickey.

Other Games: Bayswater 8.7(55) def by Montrose 9.11(65), Doncaster 6.11(47) def by Mitcham 15.4(94), North Ringwood 13.10(88) def Wantirna South 10.13(73), South Belgrave 9.17(71) def Mooroolbark 5.18(48).

Ladder: Park Orchards 24, Montrose, Beaconsfield, South Belgrave 16, Mitcham, Bayswater 12, North Ringwood, Doncaster, Mooroolbark 8, Wantirna South 0.

Fixture R7: Doncaster (8) v Beaconsfield (3), Mitcham (5) v North Ringwood (7), Mooroolbark (9) v Montrose (2), Park Orchards (1) v Bayswater (6), Wantirna South (10) v South Belgrave (4).