“THE best win in 40 years.”
That was the catch cry in the victorious Darley rooms yesterday after the Devils pulled off an unbelievable comeback against East Point to keep its Ballarat Football League premiership hopes alive.
Having looked down and out at half-time, 35 points in arrears of the Kangaroos, it was a different Darley side that took to Eastern Oval in the second half.
A blistering four goals in the first six minutes of the quarter saw the buffer eradicated almost immediately, as East Point stood shell-shocked as to what was unfolding in front of its eyes.
A steadying goal from Brent Fitzpatrick helped curb the flood of goals, but when a would-be 50 metre penalty to East Point was reversed on the spot, Jake Edwards took every opportunity and goaled for the black and white in what proved to be a defining moment.
The visitors entered the final break just two points in front, with Dane Grenfell kicking his fourth of five eventual goals late in the last quarter.
East Point’s Alex Bartlett was gifted a goal to put his side back in front at the eight minute mark of the last after his side was awarded a 50-metre penalty against the Darley coaching box.
Uncharacteristic lapses, however, would come back to hurt the Roos in the end.
Coach Dan Jordan kicked into the man on the mark from 30 metres out in the last term, before snapping another ball out of bounds on the full.
As the clock clicked into time on, Grenfell appeared to wrap up the match when he snapped his fifth goal to put his side 14 points up.
However East responded almost immediately with a goal from Brad Whittaker after a strong pack mark.
But when Jake Edwards again goaled at the 28-minute mark, the result was all but secure.
Speaking after the match, Darley coach Rod MacPherson said the win showed enormous character within his group.
“I haven’t been around the club that long but Peter Leonard, who is a former president, said it was the best win he’s seen in 40 years,” MacPherson said.
“We made a pact to each other before the game and we knew this group had only played one bad quarter for the year.
“This group has got a lot of passion in the way it plays. We made a pact that the season was not going to end today and to the boys’ credit they fought right to the end.”
Earlier in the match, it seemed as though East Point was in cruise control towards a meeting with North Ballarat City next week.
Five of the first six goals went the way of the red, white and blue and Jordan had booted three goals at half time, looking in dangerous form.
However he would not slot another major for the rest of the match and East Point would only kick another four goals in total.
“A few guys were pretty shell-shocked I think. It’s a really disappointing end to the year,” Jordan said after the game.
Darley will now face North Ballarat City next week, which is certain to come out firing to prevent a straight sets exit from the premiership race.