Bendigo City FC overcame goldfields rivals Ballarat on the weekend in a hard-fought 1-0 victory on the road for round five of the men's state league season.
City headed into the clash without key players Sam Farr, Connor Boxshall and with playing-coach Greg Thomas on the sidelines as he recovers from injury.
However, lacking their usual firepower was no problem for City who called up Reid Murray to the senior side.
On debut for the team Murray netted the winner early in the second half.
"It's really great for him," coach Thomas said.
"He's been waiting for a start all year and to come out on debut and bring such a great level of energy was fantastic,
"His presence flowed through the team all day and overall he's a great guy to have around the club."
The gritty victory against Ballarat, which Thomas described as a "hard-fought win on a cold and muddy night" comes after the sides drew 2-2 earlier in the season during round five.
"The first time we played we were up 2-0 but then fell behind and ended up as a 2-2 draw," Thomas said.
"The major difference this time was that our team is maturing as the season progresses which has helped us learn how to win those really tight games."
In addition to Murray, Cress Ndikumana also made his debut and played a crucial role in central defence which then allowed captain Aidan Lane to push further up the midfield.
Ryan Merriman also made his step up to the seniors alongside brother Lewis and also had a great impact throughout the game.
The win didn't just secure bragging rights between the goldfields rivals, it ensured Ballarat stayed below City FC on the ladder.
"If they had beaten us they would've gone above us on the table so that was certainly a bit of added motivation and we're now three points away from fourth position - it's huge for our club."
Meanwhile, City FC's reserves locked in their spot on the top of the ladder following a 2-0 win over Ballarat.
Ryan Merriman was also crucial during this game scoring both goals.
Josh Brown, Andy Li Long and Darius Thomas also put on top efforts and were integral to the victory.
The win set up one of the team's biggest regular games of the season which comes this weekend against Barwon SC who sit second on the ladder.
Bendigo City FC's juniors were also on the pitch at the weekend and finished with mixed results.
U-14s went down fighting against Avondale FC 2-1.
U-15s were defeated by Geelong, final result 1-2.
U-16s put on a star effort against Whittlesea to secure their spot at the top, final score 1-0. U-18s were put to the test by Geelong, but fell short going down 1-6.
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