North United came within 10 minutes of causing the upset of the Ballarat and District Soccer Association season, only to be overrun by the Forest Rangers.
Playing under lights at Morshead Park on Friday night, neither side was able to register a score in the first half despite the Rangers creating a number of promising opportunities.
Controversy ensued soon after the restart when the field referee overruled a linesman’s offside call to grant North United the opening score of the match.
From there the favourites had to fight hard, finally finding an equaliser in the 80th minute before Robert Esposito ensured the three points in the 89th minute.
Rangers coach Roger Taylor said he was encouraged by the grit shown by his charges.
“It was a frustrating night for the boys, but to their credit they dug deep and continued to press.”
While the Rangers will go in favourites against Bacchus Marsh next week, they face some stiff opposition in Warrnambool, Sebastopol and Ballarat on their run home.
Elsewhere in the division one competition, Warrnambool overpowered Creswick 5-1 while the Sebastopol Vikings consolidated second place with a thumping seven goal triumph on the road against Bacchus Marsh.
In the final match of the round, Ballarat had to wait until the dying minutes to find the winning goal against Vic Park, getting over the line 2-1 in a thriller.
In the women’s division one competition Vic Park Blue eased past Creswick 3-0, while the Vikings form slump continued with a 5-2 loss to Vic Park White.
North United and Forest Rangers were forced to postpone their round 15 clash due to Russell Square being deemed umplayable.
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