THE Ballarat Red Devils were taught a lesson on Saturday night when they made the trek to Dandenong to face the undefeated Thunder under lights.
Coming off the back of their first draw for the season, the Thunder were out to prove a point against their cross-conference opposition.
Boasting a star studded line-up which includes former Socceroo Simon Colosimo, Dandenong set to work early, controlling play in the opening minutes.
Goalkeeper Aaron Romein was under siege from early in the piece, and the breakthrough came for the home side in the 25th minute when Brandon Barnes navigated his way through the defence to comfortably slot the ball in the bottom left corner.
As the pressure began to build on the visitors, a cross from the Thunder was nervously bumped in for an own goal in the 34th to allow Dandenong to head into the break with a 2-0 buffer.
The Reds looked more positive in the early stages of the second half, with import Paul George creating chances for strikers Simon Murphy and Dejan Mitrovic. Murphy would go on to find the back of the net, however the goal was disallowed.
With the Reds working their way into the contest, Dandenong skipper Brendan Elmazovski managed to get behind the defence to slot the Thunder’s third.
With the result beyond doubt, the home side managed to convert a corner to finish the game resounding 4-0 victors.
Reds coach James Robinson said there was plenty of positives to take away from the fixture against the competition’s best.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge,” Robinson said. “Players of that calibre only need half a chance and they’ll take it.”
Seventeen-year-old Mitrovic was a positive for the Reds in his first start, looking for chances throughout the 90 minutes. Youngster Jake Francis also received a start in the senior squad.
“For a 17-year-old he was fantastic; he was a constant threat,” Robinson said of Mitrovic.
The Reds will now look ahead to their clash with Brunswick City away from home, in what looms as a must win for the Ballarat side who have now dropped four in a row.
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