An experienced and classy Goulburn Valley outfit had Ballarat City searching for answers in its National Premier League two west meeting.
The Suns delivered a 3-0 victory on its home deck courtesy of some cracking finishes.
City conceded a goal right before half-time – something that has become a frustrating pattern. A goal from a free-kick gave Goulburn Valley the advantage after City had matched it for much of the opening half.
The Suns then tightened their grip and asserted itself physically on the match, outstanding goals from two of its key playmakers helped it on its way to its third win in a row.
City coach Danny Gnjidic said while it was a gallant effort against a team him rated as the most match-hardened they had met, but some of his youngsters needed to lift and adjust to the level or else results like this will continue.
Gnjidic put the heat on his senior players earlier in the season in order to get the group out of a “rut”, the response came, and now he is asking for a similar response from his youth.
“We need the young boys to come on a little quicker, a couple of them are doing it, but we need it across the board,” Gnjidic told The Courier.
“It’s a fine line (in this competition). We need our players to learn from those moments in games and these types of results, but we’ve got to learn quickly.
“At times it was boys against men, they were a very physical team and a big team.
“The effort I can’t question, there’s a preparedness to do the hard work – but we’ve got to grow-up really quickly.
“I called out the senior players a few weeks back and for the most part they’re doing their bit.
“It’s competitive and it’s an even league and we can’t keep having these losses.”
Gnjidic felt his side gave a solid account of itself, but the difference in class in certain situations was evident.
“It probably wasn’t a true reflection of the game.
“They had some quality individuals up front that made a difference at the end of the day.
“They made a pretty significant difference.”
Ballarat City has three wins from its 12 outings this season, along with two draws.
It returns to Morshead Park on Saturday against a side it is evenly-placed with on the ladder – Brunswick City.
Ballarat’s form at home has been far more impressive than on the road.
It has registered two of its three wins at home, but has a +2 goal differential at home while its away record sees its goal difference at -7 with just one win and no draws.
Brunswick defeated Nunawading City on Saturday to skip ahead of Ballarat on the ladder.
“They are one of those teams in and around our position on the ladder, we’ve got to take the game to them and get a result at home.”
At times it was boys against men... there’s a preparedness to do the hard work – but we’ve got to grow-up really quickly.City coach Danny Gnjidic