WANGARATTA has fulfilled the promise predicted by its coach, despite drawing 2-2 with Melrose at Lavington yesterday.
The Red Devils led 2-0 with six minutes left after German Mike Ritter and Englishman Elliot Jones broke a 0-0 deadlock.
Wangaratta coach Mario Antonello had openly stated his team had the potential to finish as high as sixth against many expectations.
“On paper I think we have the potential to beat all but the very best in the competition,” he said.
“But there are mixed feelings after that result.
“If you had asked me on whether I would have taken a point out of going to Melrose I would have been pretty happy.
“But leading 2-0 with little or no time left in the game and ending up with the draw is a little disappointing.
“It has been so long since a Wangaratta side could match it with the best that we struggle with the idea of closing out a game — those sides like Albury United, Twin City and Melrose think they can win even when they are down 2-0 with five minutes to go.
“Still I don’t think those sides around us will get a point out of Melrose — at home or away.”
Antonello said new recruit Sean Austin at left back, along with Jon Shaw and Jones in the middle of the park, were the best for the Red Devils.
Melrose coach Josh Fluss said Wangaratta deserved a point.
“That was a hard-fought game and I’m not sure how they haven’t had better results this year — they are going to shake up some teams in the run up to the Cup playoffs,” he said.
“Their movement off the ball and possession was one of the best we have played against.
“But it probably took those two goals to get us to start playing and we certainly created a lot of chances in the last 20 minutes.”
Fluss said Peter Donaldson and Adam Waters were their best.
“They work hard, week-in and week-out,” he said.
“Pete in the middle and Adam up and back, always making a run looking to be on the end of a pass.”