BALLARAT Red Devils have secured their best finish to a season despite slumping to a 3-0 defeat on Saturday.
The Reds ended the 2012 campaign fourth on the Football Federation Victoria men’s state league two table following the loss to Preston Lions away from home.
Described as the team’s worst performance of the past two years by Ballarat playing manager Brian Shelley, the result cost the Reds third spot following Brunswick City’s surprise defeat to lowly La Trobe University. It’s the first time everyone has under performed, including myself.
“It’s hard to put your finger on it and maybe we weren’t mentally prepared. (Preston) was hungrier and wanted to win game more than us,” Shelley said.
Despite the final-round disappointment, Shelley said the club had to reflect on what had been a standout season.
The Haymes Red Devils, in the hunt for the championship until the final few weeks, finished 11 points behind winners Fawkner Blues, seven adrift of runners-up Moreland City and two behind third-placed Brunswick City.
Shelley said fourth was the best the club had finished in the highest league it had competed in. Preston, which had entered the clash needing a win to ensure its safety from relegation, took a 1-0 lead into half time on Saturday and put the result beyond doubt with two goals after the break.
Shelley said his side, despite playing poorly, had a few golden chances on goal but wasted them all in a tough day at the office. Meanwhile, Ballarat’s reserves side won 2-1 to finish the year second behind Moreland City.