Ballarat North United has set up a top two grand final showdown with Sebastopol Vikings in division one of the Ballarat and District Soccer Association competition.
Second-placed North United managed to get the job done in the preliminary final against a persistent Warrnambool Rangers, winning 3-2 in a game that ebbed and flowed.
The young North United squad kicked into gear after a poor opening five minutes, scoring three unanswered goals.
But a lapse in concentration allowed Rangers back into the game with two late goals before half time.
While North United coach Tim Beggs said the scoring-run from Warrnambool had dented the players confidence, they did well to defend their lead in the second half.
“We are bound to have a five or 10-minute period (lapse), because we go pretty hard and our intensity is really high,” Beggs said.
“We just have to work through it a bit smarter, defend for that period and then we can go again, which is what we did in the second half.”
Jack Gaffney was red-carded in the final 20 minutes of the match, which made the task more difficult for North United being a player down.
Beggs said the team played a good passing game in patches, went hard at the ball and won the physical battles.
Stand out performers for North United included Nicholas Richardson, who played what Beggs labelled a “captain’s game”, while Anthony Antonetti communicated well and drove the team, and Jeremy Beggs scored two of North’s three goals.