LIAM Harding will be the second Ballarat Red Devil to miss the club’s inaugural National Premier Leagues Victoria home game after being fouled out of Saturday’s draw to Pascoe Vale.
Harding received two yellow cards in the 2-2 match at the Hosken Reserve and will spend this week watching from the sidelines.
Shaun Romein will also miss the game at Morshead Park after pleading guilty to a striking charge against Heidelberg, but Harding’s absence will be a bitter blow for Red Devils player manager James Robinson.
Robinson labelled the incident, which saw Harding kick the ball out of bounds just after the umpire blew the whistle to halt play for offside play in the 78th minute, as a “misjudgement”.
“It’s going to be a lesson and it’s one that’s learnt the hard way,” Robinson said.
“That was the best I’ve seen
him play in the Red Devils shirt and there’s a lot of positives to come out of the match.”
Ballarat started the game superbly and looked a huge chance to return to the winners list with a first half that gifted the visitors a goal in the 35th minute,
with Dom Swinton jumping on Pascoe Vale’s shaky exit from defence.
The Red Devils went into half-time with a 1-0 lead and extended it late in the match with immense offensive ressure that yielded an own goal from Pascoe Vale’s Tomislav Milardovic in the 73rd minute.
From there the home side staged a remarkable comeback, with Michael Ferrante scoring a blinder in the 76th minute.
Tragedy struck in the dying stages for the Red Devils, with goal keeper Aaron Romein, who had performed so well for the majority of the match, kicking the ball into Nathen Megic for a freak goal.
Robinson had high praise for his team, despite the result.
“We were fantastic – it was a great performance and in the end it was the little things that make a big difference,” he said.
“We were fully in control of the game but the logistics just didn’t go our way and it was a great show of character to come back from two defeats and start with that kind of intent.
“It felt like a loss, I was disappointed for the boys but there’s a lot of positives to come out it.”