at Trekardo Park today, 3pm
BALLARAT Red Devils will have a dual farewell in their last home game of the Football Federation Victoria state league two season at Trekardo Park today.
As well as being the Haymes Red Devils’ last official outing on the pitch before relocating to the Ballarat Soccer Facility at Morshead Park next year, long-time player Luke Armstrong will hang up his boots after the encounter with Sydenham Park.
Armstrong is making his 265th appearance for the Reds.
The club stalwart began with Ballarat in 1999 and will take his senior games tally to 174.
He has scored 26 times, which ranks him equal 18th on the club’s all-time goalscorers’ list.
“It is going to be a sad day in some ways, to be honest,” Armstrong said.
“I didn’t play for the past couple of seasons and only decided to come back this year as quite a few players left and the team was struggling.
“It has been a difficult season, there is no getting away from that, but I see a bright light at the end of the tunnel,” he said.
Ballarat is hoping to today give itself a winning record at Trekardo Park by claiming maximum points today.
As it stands, the Reds have had 166 wins and 166 losses at ground, scored 681 goals and conceded 681 goals.
Armstrong knows what it is like to have special occasions against Sydenham Park.
He played his 200th game against it in Ballarat in 2007.
“I’m sure that we can say goodbye in a fitting way,” Armstrong said.
“Without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite memory is the final match of 2007 against Geelong (at Trekardo Park).
“We sat on top of the ladder, but knew if we lost and (second-placed) Lalor won then we would slip down to second or maybe even third,” he said.
“I don’t know if it was nerves, the big crowd or what but we just couldn’t get going.”
Ballarat went down 2-0 early before fighting back and claiming the league championship.
“It was just a great day and I wouldn’t change a thing,” he said.
Armstrong will start the match down back after missing the FFV Regional Cup final loss to Cobram.
Simon Murphy also returns after missing two games while overseas.
Goalkeeper: Henry Wines
Backs: Bolish Salvatore, Adrian Curtain, Luke Armstrong, Alex Antonelli
Midfielders: Liam Harding, Josh Romein, Will Georgiou, Stefan Nigro
Forwards: Dom Swinton, Simon Murphy
Substitutes: Kyran Taylor, Rio Kyoto, Lawrence Tombe