Box Hill United fell to a 3-0 derby defeat in the NPL2 against Eastern Lions SC at Wembley Park on Sunday afternoon.
Samuel Mack, Kostas Droutsas and Andrew Williams scored to seal the deal for Eastern Lions.
However, it was Box Hill who threatened first. On four minutes, frontman Todd Dekker sent a low cross for striker Andrew Le Page, who poked the ball just wide of the mark.
Playing in their trademark all-blue kit, United found space in the opposition D-box two minutes later through Darcy Hall, whose shot was saved by Kile Kennedy.
Eastern Lions recovered soon after to score on 11 minutes, with Mack sending a looping header home.
United roared back from the restart, but Dekker’s arcing effort missed the target narrowly. Philip Petreski’s attempt was deflected over the bar, and Dekker’s craning header crashed off the crossbar.
Being 1-0 down after the break, Box Hill desperately tried to regain their groove but in vain.
They were unfortunate on 67 minutes to not find a leveller, when a Lions’ defender almost conceded an own goal, but their keeper gathered it. While centre-back Thomas Lakic headed over the crossbar from a corner soon after.
The tables quickly turned again when Droutsas headed in the Lions’ second goal over the onrushing Luke Gavalas.
On 84 minutes, the hosts conceded a penalty after Adrian Del Monaco fouled Casey Thomas, and Andrew Williams duly converted from the spot.
Box Hill were left frustrated yet again after starting off the blocks quicker but having no points to show for it.
Box Hill starting XI: T Dekker (75’ D Tate), A Del Monaco, N Edwards (58’ A Schroen), L Gavalas, R Go, C Goulding, D Hall (64’ N Kokolakis), D Ilescu, T Lakic, A Le Page, P Petreski.
Unused substitutes: M Nemes, M Pochi.
Manager calls for improvement following derby loss
Box Hill United slumped to a 3-0 defeat against Eastern Lions SC in the NPL2, and head coach Brian Vanega has urged his team to switch on the ‘full-game’ mode.
This was the third straight defeat for United towards the business end of the season, and reviewing the match, Vanega sounded visibly disappointed.
He said, “It was a good first-half, we had the early chances, we didn’t put them in the back of the net. If we put the same performance in the second-half, and start taking your chances, then we could turn the game around; but we didn’t. The second-half was non-existent. We got completely outfought and outworked. They (Eastern Lions) took control of the second-half, fought well and treated it like a derby and were first to everything. So, they deserved the three points.”
The boss agreed that the team were not resilient enough to arrest the slump, and explained, “It’s not what the club expects in terms of the performance and effort, and when you put on any football jersey, you take on a responsibility to give one hundred per cent. In the second-half, we had far too many switch-offs, and conceded defeat; that’s not good enough at any club or any level.”
He feels improvement is needed to strike the right approach, and said, “We have to start to work for the whole entirety of the match and give a hundred per cent. That’s what we haven’t done today. We have worked only half a game.”