Shepparton United gained a 2-1 win over rival Shepparton on Sunday, ending the Reds’ slim chances of playing in the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League finals.
Dillon Shelley’s side showed plenty of determination during the season-defining match as Giacomo Alvisi struck the back of the net just four minutes into the contest.
But United pressed to score an equaliser late in the half, before going on to the win the match to help their grand ambitions.
Shelley said while his side started with intent, its opposition was a deserving winner of the contest.
‘‘I think it started off well for us, we got off to a flying start and were playing our game and pressed well and we didn’t allow United to play their possession game,’’ he said.
‘‘Conceding so late in the half especially after being ahead threw momentum towards United, some of our heads were down, but you could see they had fight left in them.
‘‘I think the second half was United’s half, they were better and scored an easy goal in the end, but had more chances and rightfully got the result.’’
Mohammad Hadi Dad was responsible for putting Shepparton United’s first score on the board with captain Kadhim Alhilfi saying the side was confident of taking the victory at half-time.
‘‘After that we knew we were going to win the game, our style of football is different to any others and we knew we were going to win the game once we got the equaliser,’’ he said.
‘‘It was very good to win against one of our rivals, especially when we’ve been having bad form and with players in and out and players injured.’’
Alhilfi spotted a gap through defenders to send a clean pass to teammate Mohammed Almussawi who finished off by heading the ball into the net.
Five points behind competition leader Eaglehawk, Alhilfi said the side had aims of hitting top position, starting with a game against Epsom this weekend.
But while playing past the regular season is near impossible for Shepparton, Shelley is still proud of what his side has achieved.
‘‘While finals is still mathematically possible, in reality it’s a stretch, but we’ve tried to grow and at the end of the day we’ve already won more games than in the prior two years combined,’’ he said.
In other matches across the division one men’s competition, Shepparton South was in fine touch to record a 6-nil win against Spring Gully, while Strathdale, Epsom and Moama-Echuca Border Raiders also took home three points.