IT WAS not pretty, but Ballarat North United did all it had to do to claim a victory over Vic Park in the Ballarat District Soccer Association's men's division one league on Sunday.
In a scrappy match in which errors proved almost as telling as effective passages of play, it was North that triumphed 3-2 in a tense, and at times heated, encounter.
Vic Park's Benjamin Lembo will also have to face the BDSA tribunal after he received a straight red card from an incident with his North opponent in the opening half, forcing the away side to play with 10 men for most of the match.
After conceding the opening goal, North piled on the next three to hold a 3-1 lead, courtesy of Oliver Richardson, Eamon Nuttall and Tim Beggs.
Despite being a man down in the second half, Vic Park actually reduced the margin and cut it back to one goal, but failed to find an equaliser.
North United coach Ash Morris said he was glad to walk away with the win but conceded his side was far from where it needed to be.
"We probably should have been 4-1 up at half-time. We're just not taking our chances at the moment," he said.
"We're probably about two to three weeks off where we need to be at the moment. If we play like that, it's not going to be good enough against the top sides."
The result sees North climb to third spot on the table with Ballarat still undefeated in top spot.
The remaining two matches in the open men's division in round three were extremely one-sided, with Ballarat thumping Forest Rangers 8-0 on the back of four goals from Daryl Tauschke, while Dechlan Picken kicked four to see Warrnambool to a 6-0 win over Castlemaine.
IN THE division one women, Forest Rangers secured a 4-3 win in a thrilling clash with North United Black to remain in touch with table toppers Sebastopol.
In other matches, Sebastopol came away with a victory against a travelling Warrnambool side, increasing a 2-1 half-time lead to win 3-1, courtesy of a brace from Jessica Steicke.
In the final match for the round, Vic Park did it easily over North United White, winning 5-1.