BALLARAT Red Devils have pulled off one of the great escapes.
The McDonalds Reds scored a thrilling 3-2 victory over Green Gully courtesy of a Dane Milovanovic penalty in the 92nd minute at Morshead Park on Saturday.
Ballarat looked to have the match sewn up midway through the second-half when Liam Harding found the bottom of the net to make the score 2-0, only to have Green Gully draw level with seven minutes remaining.
Goals to Stephen Downes and Katip Cileli within 10 minutes of each other had most onlookers pencilling in a draw, but the character of the Red Devils shone through for a stunning final passage of play.
The 92nd minute saw Dom Swinton break hard down the wing and draw a second, albeit controversial, penalty when he was tripped at least one metre outside of the box.
After a brief discussion the match referees signaled for a penalty and Milovanovic calmly slotted through his second for the historic win.
The visitors had a golden opportunity to goal just moments after the Cileli equaliser but some defensive brilliance from Danny O'Donnell started the charge for the maiden home win.
Swinton played a key role in the opening score at the 13-minute mark, drawing his first penalty after an illegal tackle in the box that lead to Milovanovic's first strike.
Red Devils player manager James Robinson was ecstatic for his charges, but conceded the team had to address its second-half lapse.
"It was hands on heart at the end," Robinson said.
"To let them back in the game (was disappointing) but then to push on was the really pleasing thing."
"The last couple of minutes could have been a settle for the draw, but the mentality of that group was fantastic.
"You look at what we wanted to do and we've done it to a tee - I'm not going to ask for any more than that."
Robinson also lauded the impact of the best-on-ground Swinton.
"He's a livewire - you give him and space and time and he'll beat you (one v one)," he said.