The Theatre of Dreams was just that on Tuesday night.
The McEwen Reserve complex in Shepparton was showcased in its full glory for the FFA Cup match between the Goulburn Valley Suns and Bentleigh Greens.
It may have not ended with the result the Suns were hoping for, but no fans left disappointed by the spectacle that was produced.
The quality on display was what soccer in the Goulburn Valley should aspire for; Bentleigh’s brilliant ball playing and dangerous movement forward, against a resolute Suns defence playing with passion for their region.
The #MagicOfTheCup cliche might be thrown around a bit willy-nilly, but there were moments on Tuesday night when it felt just that — magical.
Cody Sellwood’s opener took poise and a sensational pass from Billy Marshall, and you could have been forgiven for thinking it was the boys in orange who were the reigning NPL Victoria champions.
It wasn’t to be — as Bentleigh’s class wore the Suns down — but belief was high in the stands and they were deserving of the atmosphere they created.
And further, a Tuesday night game of soccer is a sensational idea.
Moving away from the already packed weekend headlined by football, netball, hockey and basketball it presented the opportunity for more fans to get along.
Even juniors that take the field in the Shepparton Junior Soccer Association or play in the Bendigo Amateur Soccer League may not get to a Suns game after a long day playing or in preparation for an away trip to Bendigo.
But the night match let people, myself included, come straight after work to the match on a mild May night.
Plenty of junior Suns sat in the stands proudly displaying their tracksuits, while scarves and hoodies of differing sporting clubs in the region could be seen.
It was a great night out spent watching the Suns take the field under lights against potentially the best club in the state.
Even better was watching Craig Carley’s troops put together a performance that nearly had them secure one of the most memorable victories in their existence.
The sun may not have been shining, but the Suns sure were.