POSITIVE signs have emerged from the Ballarat-hosted FFA Cup clash between Melbourne City and Sydney FC.
Sydney’s thrilling 3-1 round of 32 win in extra time brought more than 2801 fans to Morshead Park on a wintry Tuesday night.
Ballarat Red Devils chairman Duncan Smith, who was also the chairman of the ‘Back the Bid’ campaign – an initiative targeted to land an international team (Bahrain) in Ballarat for the 2015 Asian Cup – says the FFA Cup clash was positive for soccer in the region.
“There were around 3000 people on a cold Ballarat midweek night. To have that many people here is a fantastic achievement for everybody concerned,” he said.
“It think it holds well for us pushing to get a real A-League game here in the not too distant future. It’s important because it shows that football has a real footprint in Ballarat.”
Smith believes Football Federation Victoria officials could use the clash as a gauge to see if the facility is capable of hosting an A-League matches in the coming years.
However, he conceded the attendance rate was “slightly” down on early expectations.
Melbourne City manager John van ’t Schip heaped praise on Morshead Park post-match.
“The pitch was good, it was fast,” he said.
“We had a good experience a little bit more than a month ago and we’re happy to come here and play the game.
“Everything was organised well. There was no problems for us to say. That’s why we came back here.”