GOALKEEPER Josh Ellen’s match-winning moves were the key to Ballarat Red Devils’ premiership.
Ellen kept the Reds in game when under siege from a determined North United in Ballarat District Soccer Association division one men’s grand final at Morshead Park on Saturday night.
The Reds knew that once they got their goal, with 20 minutes to play, all they do was hold strong against North for a 1-0 victory.
North outplayed the Reds, particularly in the opening half, and could have been up at least two goals to nil by half-time.
But Ellen was relentless and lifted his stellar finals form up a notch for the title match.
Red coach Tony Clayworth said it was almost a relief to get to the break.
“We talked about changing a few things, working a little harder and creating our chances,” Clayworth said.
“We knew if we could get one (goal) our defensive efforts were good enough to protect a 1-0 lead.
“... To our team’s credit, all players were just superb.”
The goal was scored with solid play from Adam Swards when he worked the ball across to Nick Lavery, who finished with a shot, under pressure, across his body to the far post.
Play tightened and became tenser and North worked hard.
The Reds got hold of the midfield and Daryl Tauschke cleared from the backlines.
Again, Ellen worked key saves.
The Reds lifted when the retiring Rob Esposito came on in the 60th minute for his last game.
Clayworth said it was a fairytale finish.
BDSA GRAND FINAL RESULTS
Ballarat 1 (N. Lavery) d North United 0
Warrnambool Rangers d Ballarat Red (result not supplied).
Ballarat Red 3 (R. Davie, P. Frary) d Maryborough 1
WOMEN’S DIVISION 1
Sebas Vikings 3 (T. Van Gils, J. Steicke, D. Weinreich) d North Black 0
North United 3 (goals not supplied) d Vic Park 0
Vikings v Vic Park Red (result not supplied)
Result not supplied
Result not supplied.