What a stark difference a week made for Caroline Springs George Cross in the Football Federation Victoria men’s state league 1 north-west.
The Georgies began the round in last place on the ladder after a draw and two losses in the first three rounds, but a breakthrough 3-1 win over Yarraville Glory at McIvor Reserve on Saturday has catapulted them up five places into seventh.
This is a young and developing Georgies team, so its performances have been predictably inconsistent.
But coach Corey Smith was encouraged enough by the first 270 minutes of the season to go into the Glory game with confidence.
“Obviously, we haven’t had a great start results-wise and it was good to get the first win out of the way,” Smith said.
“I honestly believe that win has been coming. Our performances have been deserving of more points, but today was a performance for 90 minutes.”
The Georgies have a lot of talent, but the squad’s average age is 22.
“Slowly each week we’re working on something different and things that may have come up,” Smith said.
“Really, it’s about giving the players confidence in what we’re trying to do.
“When they’re challenged, can they make decisions on the pitch to overcome those challenges?”
The most pleasing aspect of the win was that the Georgies were challenged by Yarraville in the second half and had all the answers.
After Caroline Springs went 2-0 up and was seemingly in control, the Glory scored after half-time and had all the momentum for about 15 minutes.
“That goal gave them a bit of a boost and for a period there they had the ascendancy,” Smith said.
“What we were able to do today is kill off their momentum and go back at them.
“That’s probably the area we’ve been lacking the last couple of weeks … an ability to believe in what you’re doing at any stage of the game.”
The calming effect that midfielders Kobe Kemp, Liam Harding and Daniel Slovacek had on Caroline Springs was profound.
Slovacek found the back of the net for the Georgies, along with the other goalscorers, Nelson Salvatore and Yuji Kin.
A highlight for Smith was the debut of Alex Dimond. Having turned 17 four days earlier, Dimond got the perfect birthday present from Smith when he was called into the starting line-up. The right back impressed in his first outing. “He started the game a little bit shaky like any kid that age would, but then he grew into the game,” Smith said.
Caroline Springs will play NPL 2 side Eastern Lions at Knox on Wednesday night in FFA Cup action.
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