BALLARAT Red Devils’ hopes of promotion into Football Federation Victoria state league one are hanging by a thread after a 3-1 loss to top of the table Moreland City on Saturday.
The defeat at Trekardo Park leaves the Haymes Red Devils two points behind second placed Fawkner Blues who have a game in hand, with just three rounds remaining in the FFV state league two season.
Moreland City, meanwhile, is all but locked itself into the mix for promotion after extending its lead over third placed Ballarat to five.
“It’s made the job harder for sure,” Red Devils veteran Josh Romein said.
“You cannot discount things in this league. There is a hot battle to avoid relegation and plenty of teams that will be desperate to pick up points.
“We can’t throw in the towel because there is always the chance of a different result.”
The match started poorly for the home team with the visitors scoring in just four minutes.The margin was doubled in the 23rd minute, leaving the Red Devils in a lot of trouble.
A Moreland City red card at 36 minutes offered some hope for a comeback.
On 86 minutes Kyran Taylor scored a shot from 20 metres to bring the Red Devils back within a goal of stealing a point.
However the visitors sealed the result minutes later with a late goal.
“The first goal came from a headed clearance from the corner.
“You have to take your hat off to the player when they score a goal like that.” Romein said.
“The second goal was a bit of a mix-up. It was a lapse in concentrate and when you play a very good team that can result in a goal.
“I suppose the third was all about pushing forward trying to get that extra goal. It was very competitive and a very physical game too. It was our finishing that was disappointing because in general play it was even. We got the upper hand when they had the player sent off.”
The top team at the end of the season will be promoted into state league one, along with the top team from FFV state league two’s south eastern division.
They will replace the bottom two teams in state league one.
The second team in each of the state league two competitions will then play off, the victor to play the third from bottom team in state league one for a place in the divison.
Ballarat has a catch-up game this week, against fourth placed Brunswick City.
Fawkner will also play Brunswick in a midweek catch-up fixture some time before the end of the season as well.