Spotswood had to withstand a spirited fightback from St Albans before holding on for a nine-point win in Western Region Football League division 1 at McLean Reserve on Saturday.
The Woodsmen were in total command at three-quarter time, leading a low-scoring game by 41 points and having conceded just one goal to that point.
But like a bolt from the blue, the Saints made it a contest by scoring the last five goals of the game.
Woodsmen coach Anthony Eames confessed his team had been lucky.
“We know St Albans always have a crack, regardless of where they are on the ladder,” he said. “They always front up and if they get a bit of a sniff, they can do some damage.”
Brandon Walshe had a major influence over the result for Spotswood. The key defender was tasked with tough jobs and rose to the occasion.
“We certainly need our backline, which he is a part of, winning their positions and, for the majority of the day, I thought he did that,” Eames said.
When Spotswood needed a leader to step up, it was invariably Murray Boyd who did so.
You expect that from your captain and Boyd so often does the job for the Woodsmen.
“He leads by example – players follow him and everyone around the comp respects him, there’s no doubt about that,” Eames said.
The most exciting part of Spotswood’s journey this season are the youngsters blooded into the team. Ciaran Lynch, Nayef Hamad and Jordan Boyd, who kicked a goal, are improving by the week.
Second beating third-last was not a win that will create too many waves, but it was important in the context of the season. It all but ensures Spotswood will hold a double chance in the finals, having opened up a three-game break over the sides in third and fourth.
A tough run home – the Woodsmen face Hoppers Crossing (away), Werribee Districts (home) and Caroline Springs (away) – will provide more good tests for the younger players in the lead-up to the finals.
Meanwhile, Altona moved to within a game of the top five after a 57-point win over Caroline Springs at JK Grant Reserve.
The Vikings fought back from 26 points down at quarter-time to win in a canter, courtesy of starring roles from Josh Rafferty and Steven Kennedy, and three goals from Daniel O’Leary.
In division 2, Yarraville-Seddon was upset by 13 points at home against Albanvale.
The Eagles led by 22 points at three-quarter time, but in the final term the Cobras piled on six goals to one.
Cameron D’Altera kicked four goals in Newport Power’s 17-point win over West Footscray at Bryan Martyn Reserve.
North Footscray had a relatively comfortable 49-point win over Manor Lakes at Hansen Reserve.
In division 3, Parkside thrashed Laverton by 198 points at Laverton Park Reserve.
Jason Cloke kicked 11 goals for Parkside to take his season tally to 97.
Cloke could reach the ton in front of his home fans on Saturday when the Magpies will take on Sunshine Heights.