Shepparton has struck at the death to claim a thrilling 3-2 win against Golden City in an action-packed Sunday of Bendigo Amateur Soccer League.
Level at 2-2 with City heading into the closing minutes of the round six match-up, the Reds seemed destined to drop points and lose further ground on the league’s elite — before Yassir Alghazaly bobbed up with an 87th-minute winner.
A patient and powerful finish from Alghazaly sealed the three points — something Reds coach Dillon Shelley said was nothing less than deserved.
‘‘The second half, in the last 30 minutes it was just a barrage of us going forward,’’ Shelley said.
‘‘I don’t know how many times we hit the crossbar or the post and their keeper made some good saves too.
‘‘We had more shots than I can count and eventually found that late goal.
‘‘It was wave after wave and it felt like a matter of time until we scored, although I must admit at some stage I started to feel like it wasn’t coming.’’
Earlier, it was all systems go for the Reds, ahead just seven minutes in through magic man Omran Alhamzah, popping in his seventh goal of the season.
But City worked its way into the game through Zac Gilmour and Muhammad Alshammari, both scoring for a 2-1 lead.
‘‘We started okay in the first little period, but we let them get away a bit and made some defensive errors and they scored two counter-attacking goals,’’ Shelley said.
‘‘I don’t think we ever felt out of it, it was just about taking our chances and finding the back of the net.’’
The Reds levelled the contest, again through Alhamzah and piled on the pressure until the Golden City back line finally wilted.
Shelley said the comeback win gave plenty of confidence to the squad moving forward.
‘‘Going in it felt like a must-win game because we’ve had an up and down start to the season,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s been a pretty tough run against some pretty good sides and we knew Golden City had a tough run as well meaning both teams would be pretty hungry.
‘‘We went in confident we could get a result and it was a big relief for us, after a couple of weeks of tough results.’’
●Tatura left its heroics just as late as Shepparton, stealing a point in stoppage away from home against Epsom.
Alex Caldow netted for the hosts inside the first five minutes, but the Ibises had the scoreline squared up by the half, with superstar coach Sean Grant scoring on his return to the line-up.
Temporarily, Tatura led through Thomas Leech, only for Epsom’s Liam Christensen to equalise seconds later.
But after September Htoo seemingly won his side the game, Grant did it again, putting home a 92nd-minute equaliser to seal a magical 3-3 draw.
It was the second straight 3-3 comeback draw for the Ibises, but it has led to them losing ground on the big dogs, now fifth and seven points behind the league leaders.
●Shepparton United had to work hard for its win against Moama-Echuca, but eventually hit top gear and pulled away for a 4-0 result.
Fabrice Ebe continued hot scoring form to grab the Blues a 44th-minute lead, but they would have to wait until 11 minutes from full-time to add to the advantage.
Ermal Marku scored in the 79th before Mohammed Al-Gazaly scored two minutes later, doubling his personal tally in stoppage time for the big win.
It kept Marku’s remarkable scoring streak going, having scored in every one of his side’s six games this campaign.
●A six-goal showing from Ali Hosseini highlighted a thumping 12-0 win for Shepparton South’s youth side against Swan Hill on Sunday.
It was goal after goal for the Southerners, with Josh Hopkins, Jayden Crupi, Matthew Gilroy, Ali Ali and Willie Sauiluma also getting among the goals.
In other youth contests, Moama-Echuca drew with Shepparton United 2-2, Epsom disposed of Tatura 6-1, while Golden City had a similar day against Shepparton, winning 4-1.