After a gritty win the previous week, Warragul United stumbled at home in its round 16 State 1 clash on Saturday.
United missed a vital penalty kick right on half-time then conceded two second half goals to go down to St Kilda 0-2.
With skipper Robbie Stephen out with a dislocated shoulder, the captain’s armband was handed to centre back Matt Gauci. Classy veteran Paul Cooper was brought in to replace Stephen and lined up beside Gauci.
Liam Andersen, who was again in terrific form, stood in goals with Oscar Sceney and Mitch Jones in the left and right full-back positions. Rory Wagner, coming off a fantastic game, held the central defensive midfield position.
Oscar Sheehan spearheaded the midfield in a central attacking role whilst the rapid pairing of Paul Kuol and Sammy Gatpan gave Warragul the firepower up front.
The half was fairly flat from both sides until Rory Wagner found himself some room in the penalty box.
It was “one of those days” for big Rors as his shot flew wide of the target, hitting the outside of the left post.
The half-time whistle sounded and Warragul should have headed to the dressing rooms with tails up and a 1-0 lead.
Desperate to get back into the game, United entered a purple patch to be the more determined and dangerous of the two outfits. Tackles were hard, work rate peaked and Warragul’s fitness looked greater than that of their opponents.
As Warragul pressed forward, hunting an equaliser, there was always the risk of getting caught on a counterattack. Although well held by Sceney, St Kilda’s speedy winger had not gone away and it was he who pounced on a long ball forward.
United battled valiantly and provided some spirited performances, however, to be fair it was not their greatest display.
Best player awards went to “Man of the Match” Oscar Sceney who worked tirelessly in defence for 90 minutes, Liam Andersen who again kept brilliantly, and Oscar Sheehan for a solid and gutsy shift in midfield.