NPLV: Red Devils etch out thrilling draw

BALLARAT Red Devils have shared the spoils against Heidelberg United in arguably the greatest National Premier Leagues Victoria match of this season.

The McDonalds Reds etched out a phenomenal 5-5 draw in a scintillating affair at Morshead Park on Saturday.

Freezing and windy conditions did little to deter the two teams, with new Red Devil Paul Harvey opening the scoring account nine minutes in with a delicate header.

The Warriors drew level when Jakob Williams headed through a Mark McGough pass shortly after, setting a quick-fire trend that would be followed almost religiously for the remainder of the match.

Heidelberg edged in front through a low curler from Daniel Vasiliveski at the 39-minute mark, only for Danny O'Donnell to square the ledger once again with a simple tap in after his teammates peppered the goals moments later.

Both sides left the opening stanza at 2-2.

If onlookers thought they had been treated to a match thus far, they would be left eating their words as a monumental second-half played out in seven-degree temperatures.

A miracle free kick from Sean Harding shot through three pairs of legs and skimmed off Simon Murphy to give the Red Devils the advantage just after half-time before Williams replied with some magic of his own to make the score 3-3 in the very next minute.

Harvey's second, another deft header, gave Ballarat a chance at victory that was almost immediately snuffed out by Heidelberg's Daniel Heffernan.

Heffernan proceeded to put his team in front with a blistering strike before, fittingly, the final goal of the day came to Red Devil Liam Harding in the most dramatic of circumstances.

Harding converted 71 minutes in through a solid strike after a series of shots eventually broke down the defiant United backline.

Red Devils player manager James Robinson was flippant post-match, comparing the scoreline to that of one more often achieved in a FIFA video game.

When asked if he had ever been involved in a match of that nature he replied, "yeah, when I was under-10s on a street corner and it was five versus five".

"I've been involved as a player in a high scoring game, but as a coach on the sidelines, no," he said.

"When you score five at home you expect to come away with three points, but we come away with a point, which is better than nothing."

The Red Devils sit four points behind Port Melbourne on the NPLV ladder, but have a chance to apply more pressure on the middle ranked teams when they next face off against Pascoe Vale in round 18 action at Morshead Park on Saturday, July 19.

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