A dream start to the National Premier League Two season quickly turned into a nightmare for the Goulburn Valley Suns, conceding a last-gasp equaliser against the Springvale White Eagles on Saturday.
What should have been three points in the bank after leading 2-0 on the hour-mark became two points dropped as the Suns conceded twice, including a goal in the seventh minute of second-half stoppage time.
Controlling the bulk of the play, they led 1-0 via Craig Carley on the stroke of half-time, before a classy finish from substitute Alou Kuol doubled the advantage with 30 minutes to play.
But from there things started to fall apart, with the White Eagles pulling a goal back on 67 minutes before they made the Suns pay for missed chances with a goal at the death.
Coach Carley was shattered his side had started the season in the same fashion the last had played out — dropping points after controlling games.
‘‘It certainly wasn’t the best performance, but in saying that we still controlled the game,’’ he said.
‘‘We were gutted to concede with virtually the last kick of the game. I think they had four chances for the entire game. Both goals were soft to concede, and we had two one-on-ones when the score was 2-1.
‘‘Matt Lelliott was through on goal and missed the target altogether, I don’t think there was a defender within 20 yards of him. And Alou just overhit his touch on another and the keeper caught it.
‘‘It was really disappointing, particularly missing those chances at 2-1. We need to learn to kill teams off when we have the chance and we certainly didn’t do that.’’
Carley said at fault for the brutal late goal was goalkeeper Fraser Greenwood, who parried the ball into the path of a Springvale player from a controllable cross.
It completed a disastrous night for the keeper, with his play also suspect in conceding the White Eagles’ first.
‘‘He should have caught it, he palmed it to the most dangerous area of the field,’’ Carley said.
‘‘I had words with him after the game, both goals were avoidable and saves he should be making at this level.
‘‘The first goal was a long ball over the defence and he was like a yo-yo, he’d start to come and then go back, then start to come out again and got caught in no-man’s land.’’
The Suns’ starting 11 included club debuts for Jacob Lever and Ahmet Turer, with the latter starting up front alongside Carley before Kuol’s introduction brought opposition headaches with it.
‘‘We did okay, it probably wasn’t too great, and I don’t think we gave the midfield enough support, the gaps were too big at times,’’ the coach said.
‘‘When Alou came on it was like a breath of fresh air, he was killing them left, right and centre when he was on the ball. It was definitely a change of tactics and Alou did the business.’’
The Suns will look to make amends in this Saturday’s home opener, taking on Box Hill United.