Ballarat North United clinched back the lead against Buninyong late in the game to win 3-2 at Russell Square on Sunday in Ballarat and District Soccer Association competition.
United coach Tim Beggs said the league bye had disrupted the players’ usual preparation and may have contributed to a slow start.
“Buninyong got a goal on the counter attack early on and that sparked us up, then we gained control for pretty much the rest of the game,” Beggs said.
Buninyong managed to level the scores at 2-2 after receiving a penalty in the second half, but United was quick to respond with a goal of its own to win the match.
“The players get very passionate about bad calls and goals and that,” Beggs said of the penalty. “But once the game starts back they get straight back onto the ball.”
Beggs said once United got on top of the physical battle, Buninyong began to struggle.
“Because they are a young and fit team like we are, I wanted the boys to make sure they won the physical battle and not let any part of the game go without pressure.”
Right back Jeremy Davis, one of United’s most improved players, missed the game due to injury.
Beggs said William Counsel came in to fill the void and played well, which would make selection more difficult when Davis returned to the side.
The top five positions on the ladder are hotly contested with only three points separating the teams, while only goal differential separates the top three.
“I was talking to a couple of people from other clubs who were saying how good it is to have such a tight league and that there is more glory in winning the home and away competition now,” Beggs said.
He noted United was moving forward at the right time and was yet to reach its peak.