THE Ballarat Red Devils were left to rue a missed opportunity on Saturday night after falling a goal short of the St Albans Saints, going down 3-2.
The in-form visitors wasted no time getting on the scoreboard at Morshead Park, firing the ball into the back of the net in the third minute after a cross was punched away by Reds goalkeeper Aaron Romein.
From there the boys in red managed to wrestle back control of the ball and begin to play a more open, aggressive brand of soccer. Paul George continued to pose a threat to the Saints’ defence, while a Simon Murphy header narrowly missed the target in the 10th minute.
Stand-in captain Daniel Tinker would prove to be a workhorse throughout the contest, refusing to give the St Albans strikers an inch while making offensive runs of his own down the wing.
But despite the Reds’ efforts, it would again be the visitors who would find the goals, with danger man Yaw Otuo Acheampong breaking free of the Ballarat defence before beating the keeper from a distance.
While the play was with the Reds after the restart, however an exceptional lobbed through-ball in the 69th minute again allowed Otuo Acheampong to break free of the Ballarat defence to give the visitors a comfortable three goal lead with 20 minutes remaining.
However the Red Devils refused to go away, and their hard work paid off in the 76th minute when George managed to weave his way through multiple defenders before outfoxing the St Albans keeper.
With the wind in their sails, the hosts continued on the offensive, and managed to cut the lead to just one goal in the 80th minute when the head of David King got on the end of a curling corner kick.
The St Albans defence was under intense scrutiny in the final 10 minutes as the Red Devils fought hard to find an equaliser. However the deficit prove too great, with St Albans taking the points and reaffirming its promotion credentials.
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