BENDIGO City has snapped a frustrating run of draws and near-misses in style with a 4-1 win over Men's State League 5 West rival Maribyrnong Greens.
City's fifth win of the season was the club's first since its stirring 7-0 triumph over top-of-the-ladder Barwon in round six on April 23.
Since then, playing coach Greg Thomas's squad has drawn four of seven games, including its last three in a row.
Two of the three losses were by a solitary goal.
Thomas was not only rapt to see City break the drought on Saturday, but in doing so, produce some of its best soccer of the season away from home.
"It was easily one of our best performances of the year; we played some really good football," he said.
"And with players missing as well, so it was really pleasing.
"We had Riley Henderson out and Connor Boxshall with injuries.
"Our second half was fantastic, they had a 20-minute period where they hardly touched the ball for long periods and we really killed the game off with two second half goals.
"We were really patient and didn't give them much. It was really pleasing from a coach's perspective.
"It was a really professional performance from a very young side."
In a major boost to the team's spirit, Bendigo City welcomed back its captain Aidan Lane from a knee injury for his first game of the season.
The 22-year-old was one of four individual goal scorers for City, finding the back of the net in the 11th minute to give the visitors an early 2-0 lead after Luke Burns had opened the scoring in the sixth minute.
City led 2-1 at half time, but pressed home its advantage with goals to Sam Farr (58th minute) and Lewis Merriman (67th) to round out an impressive victory.
Thomas said the inclusion of Lane had made 'a huge difference' to the team.
"He's only a younger fellow as well, but he has a bit of an older head on his shoulders," he said.
"He led from the front and was fantastic for us at the back.
"We wanted to ease him back, but with so many injuries, we put it on him a bit to play and get back.
"He's trained really well over the last few weeks and he came in and did a fantastic job.
"He'll just get better and better each week from here, hopefully."
Thomas is expecting his squad to carry its newfound momentum into next Saturday's home clash against Surfside Waves.
"Everyone was up and about Saturday night, it's been a long time coming with so many draws," he said.
"We haven't been losing, just not getting wins, but to the boys' credit, being a young side, they haven't dropped their heads.
"We know it's a long-term project."
Bendigo City's reserves added to the bright mood with a win over the Greens.
A 2-0 triumph elevated City to the top of the ladder on 33 points after former leaders Melton Phoenix (32) drew with third-placed Barwon (29) on Saturday.
Ruben White and Sean Boxshall were the goal scorers.
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