A come-from-behind win has breathed plenty of life into the Goulburn Valley Suns’ under-20 season.
Alou Kuol buried four goals in the thrilling 5-3 result, a game that looked headed in a completely different direction 24 minutes in when Melbourne City led 3-0.
An injured Suns skipper Zach Hutchison had been taken from the field on the 20-minute mark with what was revealed to be a broken leg after the match.
But while it could have been too much to overcome given the circumstances, the young Suns knuckled down and worked their way back; Kuol starting the fight with a goal in the 26th minute.
Coach Stuart Vance said he never felt his team was in a bad way, despite the the scoreline.
‘‘These A-League sides do have quality players, and you can’t gift them chances because they’re clinical,’’ he said.
‘‘So the difference in that first half was we had five or six quality chances and only took one, while they had three and took them all.’’
Down 3-1 at the break, the Suns got a further boost 50 minutes in when City’s Nicholas Theodosiou was sent off.
And while it took some time to make the man advantage count, Fraser Gosstray made it 3-2 on 66 minutes before Kuol levelled the game from the penalty spot with more than 15 minutes left to play.
Four minutes later the young striker, who scored 20 goals last campaign at the under-20 level, grabbed his side the lead — and sealed the 5-3 win in the last of the 90 minutes.
Vance said Kuol’s match-winning performance was the type of thing he would like to see on a regular basis.
‘‘Alou is a bit of an enigma, he can turn it on at any time when he wants to,’’ he said.
‘‘He’s an exciting player and talent, he just needs to show that more consistently because when he’s on form he can be unstoppable.’’
The bad news stemming from the game was Hutchison’s injury, which the club announced as a broken femur and tibia.
‘‘It was a bad tackle, it looked really bad from the sidelines,’’ Vance said.
‘‘Zach will be a massive loss for us, he’s been our best player all through pre-season and the start of the year; he’s pretty much irreplaceable with his work-rate and leadership.
‘‘We’re trying to get all our players to that same work-rate, and while we’ll miss him a lot, it’s a great opportunity for someone to put their hand up for a starting position.’’
Placed sixth after five games, with two wins and a draw, Vance still felt his side’s destiny would be determined by itself.
‘‘Even the games we’ve lost, and perhaps I’m a bit biased, I still don’t think we’ve played a team better than us,’’ he said.
‘‘The games we’ve lost, we’ve really gifted goals and the work-rate wasn’t there, so if we can play at 100 per cent, there hasn’t been a team that can match us.’’