Thomastown overcame a fast-finishing Epping to cement its spot in the Northern Football League division 2 top four.
Thomastown looked like it was heading for a comfortable win two-thirds of the way through the last quarter, before Epping found another level.
The extra burst came too late for the Pingers, with the Bears winning 11.20 (86)-12.6 (78).
Bears coach Ben Chapman said winning close contested games was one area they had improved this year.
“It was a tough game and we didn’t help ourselves with our goalkicking,” he said.
“They got to within a kick two-thirds of the way through the last quarter. We steadied and found that resolve to hold on.”
Had the Bears lost, they only had
themselves and their poor goalkicking to blame. Anthony Capeci was a case in point, kicking 3.9.
“Bad kicking is bad football,” Chapman said.
“They took their opportunities, we didn’t. It nearly came back to bite us.”
Dylan Chapman was named best on ground for the Bears, while Dallyce Taylor kicked four goals to be the Pingers best.
It was a special day for the Bears as they celebrated the 2008 premiership reunion.
Vince Capeci, father of Anthony, who was one of the captains of the 2008 premiership side, tossed the coin for Saturday’s game.
“They [the reunion team] all had a good day and hopefully we can forge our own history,” Chapman said.
The Bears sit in fourth spot, a game clear of Diamond Creek, and this week face undefeated Eltham.
Chapman said they would continue to take it one week at a time as they set their sights on finals.
“There’s still five games of footy to go and a lot of footy to come,” he said.
“The more games we win now, the more pressure it puts on the chasing pack trying to bridge the gap.
“We can control our own destiny. We don’t want to rely on other results.”
The Pingers remain in sixth spot.
In division 3, St Mary’s has all but sealed top spot while South Morang, Panton Hill and Mernda are equal on points and fighting for second spot.
South Morang had a day out on Saturday against Reservoir, winning 33.22 (220)-7.4 (46).
Scores were level at quarter-time, before the Lions kicked away.
Samuel Indian kicked six goals as 13 Lions players kicked goals.
Mernda had a bye.