RECAP: MONDAY FINNISH ACTION
Greg Eckhardt and VPS were on the short end of the stick versus Lahti while Mariehamn's American trio pulled out a gutty win over pesky JJK.
FC Lahti 2 - 1 VPS
Greg Eckhardt was a 90 minute man in defense, but VPS let Lahti get the best of them in a Monday evening Veikkausliiga contest at Lahden Stadion in Lahti.
Eero Korte put the home team in front in just the fifth minute when he barely managed to stab at a ball right at the six yard line in front of two VPS defenders.
The visitors from Vaasa dusted themselves off and started playing with a purpose and snagged the equalizer 13 minutes later when Antonio Inutile took advantage of a horrific error from Lahti goalkeeper Janne Leino.
Leino had come out to field a harmless lobbed shot into the area but instead fumbled the ball right to the feet of Inutile who then used some nifty footwork to break free and sent a rolling shot past two Lahti defenders and into the net.
However a happy ending was not in the cards for Eckhardt and company who saw Lahti score the gamewinner in the 71st minute.
Jarkko Värttö found Berat Sadik with a pass on the left side of the area and Sadik managed to redirect it into the back of the net.
Värttö's pass had plenty of topspin on it and it was an easy flick for Sadik to score the deciding goal.
The defeat to the league bottom feeders drops VPS down to 12th in the standings as they now sit perilously close to the relegation playoff position, just two points above JJK.
IFK Mariehamn 3 - 2 JJK
Mason Trafford helped spearhead Mariehman's comeback win over JJK with his first ever Veikkausliiga goal in Monday night action at Wiklöf Holding Arena in Mariehamn.
Both Trafford and Giuseppe Funicello went the distance in the victory, while striker Lamar Neagle was an 86th minute sub.
The islanders got things started in the 11th minute when the JJK defense failed to clear a loose ball deep in their own area and Wilhelm Ingves stepped forward and slammed a shot home.
JJK, yet another team in the fight to stave off relegation, answered Ingves' strike in the 25th minute when Jukka-Pekka Tuomanen rifled home a volley that took an advantageous deflection towards goal.
The visitors added a second two minutes before the break courtesy of Mikko Hyyrynen who outraced the Mariehamn defense to chase down a long ball and poked a shot over the head of goalkeeper Willis Ochieng.
The home faithful in the Aland Islands were hoping for a second half comeback and that is what they got with Trafford sparking the effort.
Somehow the JJK defense left Trafford all alone on a corner kick in the 62nd minute and the American perfectly placed his header just inside the right post to even things up.
A mere 11 minutes later Tamas Gruborovics scored the deciding goal but not without some controversey.
A cross from the right corner looked as if it would be corraled by JJK goalkeeper Janne Korhonen.
As the ball floated high into the night with the Baltic Sea winds swirling, visiting netminder collided with a Mariehamn player setting the ball free and Gruborovics was there to take advantage with a volley into the roof of the net.
JJK screamed for a foul but the referee saw it different which sent Mariehamn on their way to claiming all three points.
Mariehamn now are eighth with 27 points and next week will be at MyPa.