Shepparton secured a crucial Bendigo Amateur Soccer League victory on Sunday to move within one point of division one’s top four teams.
The Reds took care of a spirited Spring Gully United side 3-1 at Vibert Reserve, with the home side having to lock down late in the game to make sure it collected all three points on offer.
‘‘It was a good win and a win we needed,’’ coach Dillon Shelley said.
‘‘Especially given this week and next week the top teams are playing each other and some of them will drop points.’’
Shelley’s men started the better of the two sides and netted three goals in the first half, the best of which belonged to Frank Mariner in the 44th minute.
‘‘We came out strong, found our feet in the first five minutes, and looked comfortable for most of it,’’ Shelley said.
‘‘From about 30 yards (27m) Frank took a free kick.
‘‘It was a clean, crisp strike into the top left corner. It was a fantastic free kick.’’
United hit back after the break, scoring in the 70th minute to breathe new life into the contest.
‘‘When they got their first goal they really fired up, but importantly we got the three points,’’ Shelley said.
Captain Hayden Dealy (21st minute) and Baraka Prosper (fourth) were the other Shepparton goal-scorers, with the Reds set to face Epsom next week in another important game.
‘‘Epsom had a tough start, but have found their feet and are probably in a similar position to us,’’ Shelley said.
‘‘We hope other results can go our way, but even if they don’t we should have a few players coming back in the next few weeks which will be good.’’
●Tatura pushed ladder leader Eaglehawk all the way to the line in its clash at Howley Oval.
The Ibises recovered from a slow start and a two-goal deficit at the 25th minute-mark of the clash, to level the scores at 2-2 by the main break.
Tristan Zito (38th minute) struck truly for the ninth time in as many matches, while Adam Rando (42nd) netted his first goal of the season.
Eaglehawk responded after the break, but an own goal in the 65th minute once again levelled the playing field.
In the end the visitors’ class shone through, securing a 4-3 win with an 88th minute goal.
●Shepparton United also dropped points on Sunday, drawing 2-2 with Golden City.
The home side looked to have completed a comeback at Central Park when Mohammed Almussawi (83rd minute) joined Ruben Goldwater (57th) on the scoresheet after City found the back of the net first.
However, a penalty once again stuck a dagger into the hearts of the United faithful when City scored in the 94th minute to bring the score to where it finished.
●Shepparton South capitalised on United’s misfortune to move into outright second spot on the table.
Co-coach Joel Aitken continued his stellar run of form to score all four of South’s goals in the 4-0 victory against Strathdale.
The striker has 17 goals in his past four games after netting just two in his first six to begin the year.