BALLARAT Red Devils seized an unexpected chance to play open, attacking soccer and nab a 4-1 win.
Reds playing manager Brian Shelley had thought the lowly-ranked Altona City might tie the Reds up defensively but when Altona came out fighting, the Reds bit back.
The victory takes the Haymes Red Devils’ unbeaten streak to six matches in Football Federation Victoria men’s state league two.
In a tight division ladder, this was a match the Reds just had to win – made tougher on an away pitch. Shelley was pleased with how emphatically that win played out.
“We didn’t expect such an open game and thought they would set up a little more defensively against us. To be fair they didn’t, they played a good game and we were able to capitalise,” Shelley said.
The Reds remain fifth on a tight division ladder and four points off second place and a chance for a play-off for promotion.
Shelley said it was important to keep building momentum because a loss or two could quickly send a team down the ladder. A convincing win against Altona City follows a massive 6-2 win against the highly-fancied Moreland City a week earlier.
Striker Simon Murphy booted two goals, taking his tally to six goals in two weeks.
Shelley said Murphy’s results were well-deserved.
“He’s been playing really well, putting in a lot of hard work to improve,” Shelley said.
“It’s great to see him kick those goals.”
Murphy formed a potent attack alongside key player Sean Harding, who Shelley said kept improving each week.
Harding claimed the first goal at the 26-minute mark with Josh Romein slamming home a second minutes later.
A goal to Murphy, 43 minutes in, had the Reds 3-0 up at half-time and offered a little breathing space when Altona City chipped back a goal in the second half. Murphy’s goal at 89 minutes sealed the win.
The Reds will host the 10th-ranked Preston next week at Trekardo Park in a pivotal match to launch them into the season’s second half.