The Goulburn Valley Suns’ charge up the National Premier League Two East table continued at Box Hill United’s Wembley Park on Saturday, winning for the third time in four games.
A 17th-minute Jamie England goal proved the difference between the two sides, the Suns’ captain smacking the ball home from inside the box after a corner to grab his side a 1-0 win.
United controlled the bulk of the game, pelting the Suns throughout the entire second half yet was unable to find a breakthrough goal, the Suns digging in for their second clean sheet of the season.
The result moved the Suns to fourth on the NPL2 East table, just seven points back from second-placed Northcote City and right in the promotion mix with 10 games to play this season.
Goulburn Valley coach Craig Carley was proud of his side’s defensive effort, delivering the sort of gutsy 1-0 win he had been asking his troops to produce.
‘‘This week was probably the most vital three points we’ve picked up,’’ Carley said.
‘‘Box Hill was on top, we were under the pump the whole second half. We managed to hold firm and keep a clean sheet.
‘‘The entire back four (Greg Nash, Adam Gatcum, Jordan Montagner and James Lelliott) was tremendous along with Jamie England and Jordan Barrow in front of them.
‘‘I was rally pleased with the shape and how they held up. It certainly wasn’t our best performance football-wise, but it was just about getting the win.’’
Outside of the defensive display, Carley said it was certainly heart and determination that got the win, rather than any special individual performances.
‘‘No-one played particularly well, or particularly badly either,’’ he said.
‘‘It was just a really backs to the wall defensive display, every time the ball came in the 18-yard box we dealt with it.
‘‘Adam Gatcum got his head to everything, it was just a really strong display and if we can do that every week, we’ll certainly win more games than we lose.’’
Dating back to May 11, the Suns are on a run that could well define their season, having taken 16 of a possible 21 points from the seven games.
They have scored 16 goals while conceding just seven, having built a five-point buffer to the relegation zone.
‘‘The belief has always been there, there’s been a lot of buy-in from the players,’’ Carley said.
‘‘I said at the start of the season I thought it was the best Suns team we’ve ever had, there’s quality among the boys, but when the buy-in is there too it makes all the difference.’’
The only sour note from the game was a late yellow card for Alou Kuol, his fifth booking of the season meaning he will miss next weekend’s clash with Melbourne Victory.