BOOMERS FC has started its championship defence with a tough 1-0 win against Albury Hotspurs at Aloysius Park yesterday.
In a difficult start to the season, Boomers struggled to find a way through the Spurs defence before playing coach Andrew Grove scored with less than 10 minutes to play.
Grove pounced on a brilliant shot block from Spurs keeper Luke Drummond, to blast the ball into the net.
It was all that separated the teams, although Boomers had more possession and were denied several times by veteran Drummond.
Grove said he would have settled for a draw.
“You can never complain too much about a draw first up but I’m very pleased we got the win,” he said.
“We played a good game – we had plenty of chances.
“Hotspurs are good structure-wise and very hard to break down.”
Boomers pulled a surprise by playing injury-prone Decha Saisanid in defence and the utility’s tackling and passing was impressive.
Grove almost broke the deadlock a minute after the re-start, latching on to a cross from Adam Campbell. Drummond parried away his shot from close-range.
Pieter Noordewier and Hudson Magerstein also came close to scoring before Grove’s winner.
Grove said Saisanid would be used sparingly.
“He’ll play reserves but sit on the bench for us and help out when we need him,” he said.
“His quality is there. His ankle doesn’t allow him to play as much as he needs to for seniors.
“We’ll use him off the bench and times like this.”
With Spurs missing Ben Porta (hamstring) and Sam Harris (ankle), coach John Irvine was satisfied.
Drummond, James Eggleston and Nick Musarra impressed for the home side.
“I thought it was a pretty good display,” Irvine said.
“It was unfortunate that we conceded with only eight minutes to go.
“Boomers probably had more chances than us and, in the end, they probably deserved to win it.
“Luke Drummond kept us in the game for a while and our defensive structure was pretty good.
“We just couldn’t put one into the back of the net.”
Boomers will now turn their attention to next week’s clash away to Wodonga Diamonds.
Spurs will play away, at Melrose FC.