By Lance Jenkinson
Green Gully was at its damaging best in a 4-0 thrashing of Pascoe Vale in National Premier League soccer at Green Gully Reserve on Saturday.
The Cavaliers scored three second-half goals to get back into the winners’ circle for the first time in three weeks.
Striker Alex Salmon moved into the golden boot lead, scoring a hat-trick to take his season tally to 10 goals in eight games.
Cavaliers right back Jeremy Walker said it was his side’s most complete performance of the season so far.
“Everyone on the pitch was at it today,” he said. “We were a bit more clinical and capitalised on everything, which is what we’ve been pushing for.”
The opening eight rounds of the season have been a mixed bag for Green Gully.
The Cavaliers are yet to truly indicate whether they are destined to contend for the title or settle on a mid-table finish, but their early form suggests last year’s relegation near miss was a scary once off.
The Cavs’ best is as good as most in the competition, but that sort of form has found a way of eluding them in certain games.
Walker is hopeful the strong showing against Pascoe Vale will see his side take strides towards more consistency.
“That’s a start for us now,” he said. “Hopefully, we can push on with some winnable games in the near future.”
Salmon was the talk of the Green Gully changerooms on Saturday night.
The 24-year-old scored a wonderful headed goal on the back of a Jay Davies cross that put the Cavaliers in the lead midway through the first half.
Salmon proceeded to knock in two more goals – both more elementary than his first goal – in the second half.
Jordan Hall scored the Cavs’ other goal early in the second half.
Walker said Salmon worked hard on his finishing – but there was more to his game than that.
“He pops up and scores goals, but he also works hard for the team defensively,” he said.
Walker has been one of Green Gully’s standout players in the opening two months.
The 25-year-old school teacher is one of the Cavaliers’ hardest workers, using his defensive nous to detonate opposition attacks one minute and putting his speed and endurance to work to offer support to the attack the next.
The Tasmanian is able to sustain his high-energy running for the full 90 minutes – a big reason why he enjoyed A-League time with Melbourne Heart and Perth Glory.
Walker leads by example as vice captain of Green Gully.
He said it was a “privilege” to be offered such an important leadership role in his return to the Cavaliers.
A player in demand, Walker could have named his destination, but had no hesitation about returning to Green Gully after his stint with the Glory.
“I’ve liked the club ever since I walked in,” Walker said.
“The backroom staff are really good and I’ve got good relationships with the people there.
“Coaches have been coming and going and the players have been turning over a bit, but the club has always been good to me, so I’m happy to stay there and I enjoy the place.”
Green Gully is up to fifth place on the ladder with 13 points from eight games.
The Cavaliers’ next challenge is a Monday night game against second-bottom Kingston City.
“It will be another good test, so we’re looking forward to it,” Walker said.