BALLARAT Red Devils have pulled off a clutch win over Hume City to remain well and truly in the hunt to avoid the relegation zone.
The 1-0 victory at Hume’s home of Broadmeadows Valley Park on Sunday was set up by a quality strike from Paul Harvey just 18 minutes in.
Harvey’s goal was to be the only one of the match dominated by a tight midfield battle.
The possibility of an unlikely win for Ballarat appeared grim early in the match, with Dom Swinton a late withdrawal after aggravating his ankle in the warm up, while David King was stretchered off with a serious ankle injury just 12 minutes in.
Harvey, who could have goaled inside the first two minutes of play, finally broke through for possibly his best goal of the season courtesy of a raking Danny O’Donnell pass.
After controlling the ball before cutting back onto his left foot, the boom recruit slotted it past the Hume keeper from the edge
of the box to hand Ballarat an unlikely lead which it never relinquished.
The visitors held strong for the remainder of the match, despite Hume pressing hard inside the final 20 minutes.
Both sides had opportunists in the second half, with Harvey and Simon Murphy cleared off the line, while Red Devil keeper Aaron Romein again proved his worth with a superb one-on-one save in the dying stages.
The Red Devils’ win marks their biggest scalp of the season, and the first clean sheet away from home in the National Premier Leagues Victoria season.
Red Devils player manager James Robinson declared it a “fantastic” victory set up by a quality team performance.
“We were very clinical with our chance and stuck to our plan,” Robinson said.
“We’ve always identified that if we keep a clean sheet then we’re going to create chances.
“Aaron had a fantastic one-one save a the end and you look for your keeper to stand up in those moments.
O’Donnell was influential at centre back, while Shaun Romein was dominant through the midfield.
Robinson said King had received scans on his ankle, but couldn’t confirm the extent of the injury.
The win leaves the Red Devils with a massive clash against Werribee City at home on Saturday.
Ballarat, sitting at 13th, remains just three points behind City and Port Melbourne on the ladder, with two games in hand.
“You drive you’re success from your failures,” Robinson said.
“Every game’s a big game at the end of the season.”