Sebastopol Vikings youngster Cody Gale has produced a standout performance in his first senior game for the club in the Football Victoria state league three north-west competition.
Gale made the most of his opportunity on the right hand side of the field in the side's 4-0 loss to top-placed Strathmore on Saturday at Morshead Park.
His performance marked a bright spot in an otherwise dreary day for the embattled club which entered the match with seven of its starting 11 injured or suspended.
"We were on top for the first 15 minutes but not for much longer after that," interim head coach Dan Hollingworth said.
"We had a couple of opportunities early on, and if we'd scored one, things might have been different."
Things began on a positive note for the Vikings after creating a number of opportunities in the opening minutes. But Strathmore was the first to break the deadlock after a beautifully placed corner yielded a goal for the table-leaders.
A second goal before half-time saw Strathmore take a 2-0 lead into the break, before a well-timed header tripled its advantage. A fourth just before full-time put the icing on the cake in what was an easy win.
Fellow Vikings youngster Jordan Armstrong also gave a good account of himself, making his second start for the club on his 18th birthday. Mitch Ralston also returned to the side.
Joshua Brekalo finished with two goals for Strathmore.
"It probably played out the way a lot of people thought it would. We were hoping to upset them but they were too good," Hollingworth said.
The Vikings will now look ahead to this week's rivalry match-up with Point Cook in what will be their final road-game of the season.
Sebastopol enjoyed a thrilling 4-2 win over Point Cook in its last meeting and will hope to replicate the performance on Saturday.
The last encounter marked a special game for Ralston who kicked two goals in front of the Vikings faithful in a match he will likely remember for the rest of his life.
Hollingworth joked that he would look to the youngster again this time around for some late-match heroics off the bench.
With three games left to play, he said the team was desperate to finish the year on a positive note.
"We want nine points from the last three games, we want to go out with a 100 per cent record," he said.
"The players all believe we can do it, we can't do anything in terms of promotion, but we certainly want to finish on a high."
The Sebastopol Vikings will take-on Point Cook on Saturday at 3pm at Saltwater Reserve.