Royals Celebrate Alby Milestone In Style | MATCH REPORT
Essendon Royals 2 (Kelly 7', Yabio 67') Yarraville Glory FC 0
The Essendon Royals claimed back-to-back wins for the first time this season with an all-action performance against Yarraville Glory FC.
The Royals harassed and harried Yarraville from kick-off on the way to a 2-0 win, with goals courtesy of Graham Kelly and Tedros Yabio, with only Essendon's wasteful finishing stopping Vaughan Coveny's men from adding to the goal tally.
Essendon's fanatic pressing game caught Yarraville off-guard and penned the visitors well and truly into their half.
Albert Zorzanello led from the front on his 100th start for the club, following a pre-game presentation in which coach Coveny praised the forward for his commitment to the Royals shirt.
Tedros also impressed with his all-action performance, his endless running ensuring the Yarraville defenders never had a spare second to pick their pass.
In the midfield, Ryan McEvoy enjoyed a brilliant game, covering every blade of grass on the park as he controlled the tempo of the game from deep.
Phil Lloyd worked diligently alongside him, with the midfield duo providing the platform for Kelly ahead of them to poke and probe the Yarraville defence with increasing regularity.
Kelly linked up superbly with Tedros when the forward rose brilliantly to outjump his much taller opponent and flick on a long ball forward from left-back Liam O'Connell.
Kelly read the play beautifully to get on the end of the flick and finished coolly over the advancing goalkeeper to give the Royals the lead they thoroughly deserved after just seven minutes.
O'Connell impressed throughout the game with a series of raiding runs down the left which he backed up with a sterling defensive performance.
Alongside him in defence, Dale Thompson and Agneesh Iahiri were outstanding in the heart of the defence, while Jamie Gazelle was equally impressive at right-back, reading the play well to make crucial interceptions to prevent Yarraville from advancing down its left flank.
Yabio had the goal in the back of the net after 30 minutes but was ruled offside when perhaps he should have received the benefit of the doubt, and goalkeeper Andre Jannesse had to be on hand right at the end of the first half to deny a well-struck Yarraville free-kick to ensure the Royals maintained their deserved half-time lead.
Yarraville provided a strong response to start the second half, but impressive rearguard action from the Royals and the inspirational work in midfield from McEvoy ensured the Royals soon wrestled back control.
Yabio eventually got his goal when he got on the end of a Kelly free-kick to flick the ball on beyond Yarraville's goalkeeper who abandoned his goal line in a rash attempt to collect the ball.
The rest of the half was dominated by the Royals who really should have scored another two or three goals to give their goal difference a much-needed boost, not that coach Coveny could find too much to complain about after such an important win.
"I'm really happy with the performance," he said.
"We really showed our intent from the start and we thoroughly deserved the three points.
"I could be critical towards the end and say we should have scored more, but in saying that we kept getting into good positions and we should have put the game beyond reach.
"We'll continue to work on finishing and in weeks to come we can be even better."
Coveny was full of praise for the manner in which the whole team worked to press Yarraville and keep the visitors stuck in their half.
"That's how I want my teams to play and working hard for each other is the minimum requirement," he said.
"When we do that collectively, we have the quality to go with the hard work and hopefully bring a bit more consistency to start bringing in more positive results."
The clean sheet was Essendon's third in four matches.
"The exception is the Sydenham game and we all put our hands up, players and coaching staff, and accepted that wasn't good enough and committed to being better," he said.
"We've kept three clean sheets out of four and that's fantastic because it's not just the defensive unit that has achieved that, that's started from the front and everyone working hard."
Coveny praised the performances of Kelly and McEvoy and re-iterated his happiness for Zorzanello on his big day.
"We had a bit of a presentation before the game and I thought it was nice to acknowledge someone who has been at the cub for a long time," Coveny said.
"I like the kid, he's a great character and the sort of person we want at the club. He's a team player.
"Occasions like this shouldn't give you any more motivation to win, that should always be there, but I think it's important to acknowledge that contribution because you don't see too many players get to 100 starts and over 150 appearances for a single club in the state leagues."