A Stefan Papageorgiou brace helped lift the Goulburn Valley Suns to an entertaining 3-2 win against Nunawading City on Saturday night.
Returning home to the Theatre of Dreams proved the perfect tonic to the Suns’ early season struggles, creating chances for fun in 90 minutes of high-octane, attacking football.
And Papageorgiou’s technique was crucial, deftly lobbing City keeper Jordan Franken inside the half-hour from a scramble in the box before doubling the lead on the other side of half-time from long range after Franken had rushed out from his goal.
But each time the Suns scored in the second half, Nunawading lifted and found a quick response, never allowing the Suns more than a couple of seconds of freedom to breathe.
Adam Glaser answered first in the 55th minute after the GV defenders were caught out by a lofted through ball.
And three minutes after superstar Sun Jamie England tapped home from close range to restore a two-goal advantage, City striker Devon Bonne dragged a goal back from close range after finding front position on the defence.
The GV dominated most of the proceedings and could really have scored three or four goals, but its defence stayed strong to seal the first win of the campaign.
Suns playing coach Craig Carley was ecstatic his side was on the board, but could hardly believe the score was as close as it was.
‘‘Obviously we’re thrilled to get the three points and we’re hoping to push on from here a bit,’’ he said.
‘‘On another day we could have scored a few more and had more of a comfortable scoreline.
‘‘But I’m really happy with the whole team and how everyone performed and this can be a platform for the rest of our season.
‘‘We were very disciplined in our shape, our game plan was to press hard and when we did force turnovers it was high up the pitch. We were able to react well and create.’’
Picking the Suns’ best players was a difficult task from an even spread of contributors, but wingers Papageorgiou and Vani Shamoon terrorised their opposing defenders throughout and did most of the creating.
England and Matt Lelliott were strong in the engine room and Billy Marshall continued a wonderful start to the season, regularly bringing his teammates into space.
Papageorgiou and England had huge first-half chances denied by keeper Franken, while Shamoon and Carley drew two more wonderful saves in the opening minutes of the second.
But while it could have been a cricket score, Carley was not pleased two momentary lapses had kept City in the game.
‘‘They were defensive lapses, errors like not being goal side,’’ he said.
‘‘I haven’t got a problem if we concede into the top corner from 30 yards, I’d applaud them and say well done.
‘‘But when the ball comes into the box and we’re caught on the wrong side, that’s just not being disciplined and we’ll look to address that.’’
With spirits among the group high as the new collection of players jells, the Suns will take confidence to the weekend’s away trip to the Eastern Lions.
●A terrific display from Nunawading City’s under-20s sentenced the GV Suns to a second straight defeat in Saturday’s twilight clash.
City struck three first-half goals and added a fourth — via help from Sun Zac Hutchison who conceded an own goal — shortly after half-time.
The Suns had their fair share of chances, but could not capitalise until late stages where Fraser Gosstray scored a consolation goal.
They remain with one win through three games and head to face the Eastern Lions this Saturday, with the Lions fresh from a 4-0 thrashing of Moreland City.