It was a round of split emotions at the weekend in the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League with Shepparton claiming all three points, while Shepparton United continued its mid-season form slump.
Dillon Shelley’s troops proved too strong for Moama-Echuca Border Raiders in a six-goal thriller, while a 10-man United let five goals through.
With the opportunity to close the gap on the competition’s top two sides, United travelled to Epsom with a win on the agenda, however, it was undone in a 5-4 defeat.
Kadhim Al-Hilfi was sent off in the 94th minute for two bookable offences, but the damage was all but done by that stage.
Ruben Goldwater starred for United, netting a hat-trick to take his season’s tally to 12 goals in 16 matches.
However, United found itself 4-2 down with 15 minutes to play and unfortunately for the visitors, two late goals were not enough, as Harley Richardson scored a sealer to give Epsom the all-important three points.
Roven Shaholli believed, despite the loss, his side was the better team and felt gutted to walk away empty handed.
‘‘We are really disappointed. A result would have given us some breathing space and I feel we should have gotten one,’’ Shaholli said.
‘‘We were the better side and I think we just failed to not only hold out, but put away our chances.’’
With the result United slipped to fourth on the table, while Epsom is hot on its heels as it trails by one point in fifth.
Meanwhile, Shepparton still remains in the hunt for a finals position, winning 4-2 on Sunday.
Shelley’s Reds, with only two men on the bench, were made to work for a result against the competition’s worst side.
The Raiders jumped out to a two-nil lead, stunning the visitors, but Sandeep Kumar importantly halved the deficit before the main break.
From then on in it was all the Reds in the second half with Mohamed Saleh and Giacomo Alvisi finding the back of the net in a dominant 45 minutes.
Saleh first scored in the 55th minute to level proceedings, before two goals in 15 minutes from Alvisi all but secured the three points.
The Reds now sit eight points adrift of United in fourth place, and with only two substitutes named last week, they will need to work tirelessly if they are to defeat an in-form Strathdale.