Craigieburn City fell just short against ladder leaders Lalor United in FFV state league 4 north.
Third placed Craigieburn was looking to test itself against the best in the competition and showed it was no pushover.
Craigieburn was in the match until the final whistle and had some good shots on goal.
But a goal to Lalor’s Igorce Kolevski proved to be the difference, giving Lalor its 12th win of the season. Craigieburn coach Michael Loche said credit had to be given to Lalor and its coaching staff on the day.
“It was a good effort from the boys,” he said. “We just fell short.
“It was pretty windy conditions. We had the wind in the first half and they had it in the second.
“We had a couple of chances late in the game with headers that went wide.
“To be honest they were the better team and they deserved the win.”
Loche was quick to praise his keeper, Cameron Salik who played a blinder of a game and kept the scoreline respectable.
Craigieburn remains in third spot, four points behind second placed Darebin United.
Loche said had you told him at the start of the season they would be sitting in that position he would have taken it. He said injuries had meant they were short on man power at times.
“Jordan [Connerton] is still out,” he said.
“He’s only played five full games and still is the leading goal scorer in the league. He’s a massive loss for us.
“The boys have adapted really well and they fight from the first whistle until the last.”
Loche said they were hoping to get Jordan Connerton, who he rates as the best player in the division, back in two to three weeks, which would be a big boost for the side.
Sitting in such a good position, Loche said they were keen to try and finish in the top two and earn promotion.
He said it would be massive for a club which is still in its infancy. “It would continue to kickstart where we’re going,” he said.
“Our new facilities will be ready in September and women’s participation has increased from 20 to 60 from 2017 to 2018. It’s a massive growth area and things are going well.”
In other results, fourth placed Greenvale United had 0-0 draw with Marcellin Old Collegians, while Plenty Valley Lions lost to Melbourne University, 6-1. In state league 2 north-west, ladder leaders Whittlesea United had a 2-0 win against Diamond Valley United.
Hume United had a 1-0 win against Mill Park. In state league 3 west, Epping City had a 3-0 win against Heidelberg Stars, while Upfield lost to Moreland United. La Trobe University had a 0-0 result with Williamstown.