BALLARAT Lady Devils are daring to dream.
The Ballarat girls are within striking distance of promotion from Football Federation Victoria women’s state league one and can also win the league title heading into the final round of the home-and -away season.
Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Doncaster Rovers, and Monbulk’s loss to Melbourne University, means that there is a point separating the top three sides going into the final week of games.
In the final round Ballarat plays Albert Park at home, while Monbulk faces second-placed Boroondara.
If the Lady Devils win they are guaranteed promotion and a home final, and can also win the league if Monbulk and Boroondara draw.
On the weekend, the Blockbuster Lady Devils sought to control the tempo of the game from the first whistle, and were rewarded early when Chelsea Bickerton opened the scoring in the 12th minute.
Throughout the rest of the half, Ballarat continued to have control of the game, but was unable to extend.
The girls continued their dominance at the start of the second half, and Jasmine Emselle netted the second goal in the 53rd minute.
There was some drama in the last 20 minutes of the game when, first, Jasmina Zdelar was judged to have brought down Doncaster Rovers’ striker and the referee awarded a penalty.
Doncaster’s Natasha Lusi, who had netted from the spot last time the two sides met, stepped up to take it but blasted wide.
Minutes later, Doncaster hit the bar from a corner, and Ballarat broke quickly and Lulu Al-Huneidi had a one-on-one with the Doncaster goalkeeper. She passed the ball off to Oliva Ortiz, who hit the post despite the open goal.
With the exception of this five-minute spell, the Lady Devils were in control throughout, remaining calm despite Doncaster’s rising frustration.
Zdelar was a standout, pulling off a string of saves. The back line of Millie Martin, Holly Williamson, Amanda Kovacev and Delaney Martin played cleverly; dominating the defensive third and setting up numerous attacks.
They were well-supported by Miff Jennings and Chelsea Bickerton, with Bickerton having one of her best games since her elevation to the senior squad.
Earlier in the day, the under-18s won 1-0 against Kensington, with Sophie Emota netting one goal, while the development squad continued its fine run of form with Courtney Farrell scoring in a 1-0 victory.