BALLARAT Red Devils have slumped to their second consecutive National Premier Leagues Victoria loss in four days.
The McDonalds Reds were humbled by Heidelberg 4-2 in a second-half shootout at Olympic Village yesterday.
Ballarat was forced to play with 10 players on the pitch for most of the match when midfielder Shaun Romein was red-carded for striking in the 33rd minute.
Heidelberg’s Les Doumbalis opened the scoring with a goal inside the opening 15 minutes after some frenetic play in the box and the Warriors spent the remainder of the half trying to capitalise on the Red Devils’ poor form and lack of manpower.
Ballarat’s defence held strong for the remainder of the half and ensured that Heidelberg entered the break with just a 1-0 lead.
Both sides sparked themselves into action after the break, sharing four goals in a see-sawing 40-minute period.
Jack Petrie and Dan Heffernan gave the Warriors a 3-0 lead with two goals in two minutes and the match teetered on becoming a rout before Danny O’Donnell scored his first goal for Ballarat 10 minutes later, courtesy of some excellent work from first-gamer Daniel Firth and Steven Thomson.
Simon Murphy had two good chances to put the Red Devils within touching distance minutes later before Heidelberg’s Kaine Sheppard put the result beyond doubt with a goal in the 71st minute.
Murphy gave the Red Devils a consolation goal in the 88th minute after a superb cross from Charlie King.
Red Devils chairman Duncan Smith said the result was disappointing for the club, given its strong start to the year.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t give ourselves the best chance of winning the game by getting red-carded,” Smith said.
“They scrambled for their first goal and we gifted them goals throughout the match.
“Our first half was as poor as we played but our second-half was encouraging for next week.”
Ballarat now sits ninth on the ladder while Heidelberg has rocketed into sixth spot.
SENIORS: Heidelberg 4 d Ballarat 2
20s: not supplied.