BALLARAT Red Devils have suffered their second National Premier Leagues Victoria defeat to South Melbourne in three weeks.
The McDonalds Reds slumped to a 2-1 defeat in round seven action at Morshead Park on Saturday afternoon.
A bumper crowd of more than 1000 braved the horrendous conditions to watch the Red Devils exact revenge on the league heavyweight.
Instead the onlookers were treated to a clinic of attacking football, with the visitors scoring twice in the first 20 minutes.
Milos Lujic broke through for the first goal after a Ballarat defensive blunder at the 10-minute mark and star striker Jamie Reed followed suit when he goaled after a scrabble in the goal square 20 minutes in.
Red Devils struggled to win the one on one contests early in the game and it wasn't until Daniel Firth was subbed off with a serious leg injury that the home side sparked itself into action.
Ballarat slowly started to wrestle back some control of its own and dominated the remainder of the half, culminating in a monumental goal to Dane Milovanovic after a free kick on the half-time whistle.
Neither side was able to break through for a score in the second half, despite each having a multitude of opportunities.
The Red Devils appeared to handle the torrential conditions better than South Melbourne and took big steps to making the facility its fortress for the rest of the season.
Ballarat used the match to blood two gun juniors, with Ibrahim Ghulami subbed on for Firth while Miles Baker also made his senior debut after impressing in the under-20 team.
Red Devils player manager James Robinson was disappointed with the result but said the side could take plenty of positives from the match.
"It was a much improved display in the second half," Robinson said.
"It (the slow start) was nothing to do with nerves, the occasion builds itself up and we just need to start reacting to it a lot quicker and not waiting until half-time."
The Red Devils will now host their next four matches at Morshead Park, starting with a night game against Port Melbourne next Saturday.