A first-week defeat is a thing of the past for the Goulburn Valley Suns’ under-20s, bouncing back in style by putting Box Hill United to the sword.
Three first-half goals for the young Suns enabled a 3-1 win in which coach Stuart Vance saw every area that had let his side down in a 1-0 loss to Springvale the previous weekend corrected, taking the side to another level.
Elijah Brooker struck on 16 minutes to give his side the lead at McEwen Reserve, but United had its best moment of the match soon after, with a defensive lapse allowing Jeremy Vun to level the scores.
But pacy forward David Musafiri had the young Suns back in front on the half-hour, before over-ager Cooper Gosstray made it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time.
It would end the scoring for the game with the Suns seeing out an uneventful second half, banking their first win of the season.
Coach Vance was overjoyed with the huge display, filling him with confidence the side will be a factor this season.
‘‘We’re obviously happy with the result and the three points, but I was more pleased with the actual performance,’’ Vance said.
‘‘Compared to the week before it was just night and day. We had a bit of a go at the players after the game and at training and they’ve responded really well.
‘‘We couldn’t have asked for more from them throughout the 90 minutes.’’
While the Suns controlled the play and most of the game’s chances, Vance said it was off-the-ball work that had the side shining.
‘‘When we didn’t have the ball the work-rate and pressure and anticipation was great, it was the difference in the game,’’ he said.
‘‘The goals stemmed from that pressure without the ball as well.
‘‘I was really disappointed with their goal, it was their only chance for the whole game and it was a really soft goal to concede. Our transition was too slow and they capitalised on that, which is something to work on.’’
Vance said Gosstray and James Lelliott had bossed it in trenches, with Musafiri a dynamic outlet up front.
The game was also a competitive 20s debut for young star Marcus Thomas, 15, playing 30 minutes off the pine after scoring earlier in the day for the under-18s.
‘‘He’s someone with fantastic attributes, I’ve watched him develop for the last couple of years,’’ Vance said.
‘‘He’s only a small guy, but size is irrelevant if you’re ready to play. He’s someone I think we can get more out of this season.’’