ON a day when Twin City all but wrapped up the league title it was cellar dwellers St Pats who delivered the biggest surprise.
An injury-time goal to Andy Stevens was enough to seal a 4-3 win for the Patties against the competition’s form team Albury United.
The win came just seven days after St Pats received a 10-1 hiding from the Wanderers.
Stevens said a team meeting during the week vowed not to let that happen again.
“We spoke all week about being better, greater effort, higher workrates,” he said.
“Not many outside the club would understand given some of our results, but there is a great belief in this squad.
“We know if we stay in the game long enough we are always a chance.
“In some ways that loss to Twin City might have given us a wake up call ... to turn it around in a week.”
Chris Mitchell made it 1-1 for St Pats just before the break at Alexandra Park.
Two quick goals to Stevens in the second half gave them the advantage before United equalised with 15 minutes to go.
But in the dying minutes the St Pats coach got between defenders from a long ball and headed over an advancing Marty Chambers in the United goal.
“In the past when they levelled we would have fallen apart and ended up losing 4-3 or 5-3,” Stevens said.
“No one would have expected us to pick up a point let alone three — but we’ll believe we have a chance to get into the eight as long as it’s mathematically possible.”
Twin City coach David Afonso said a first-half clinic put the icing on their title hopes in the top-of-the-ladder match against Boomers at Kelly Park.
Wanderers were up 4-0 by the break and well on the way to avenging their only loss of the year.
After the break, a Matt Gray free kick ended in the top right of Matt Mildren’s goal, while Matt Hasler added his third in the final minute for a 6-1 victory.
“The boys were pumped for this, last time they were disappointed not just after the game but the whole week, they knew they were below par,” Afonso said.
“Today we did what we do — came out and scored another six goals, that’s 28 in four games.
“There was a lot of one-touch stuff from Gray, Coutts and Walker and others feed off that.
“At half-time I told the boys I couldn’t fault anyone’s performance — Matt Hasler’s finishing was fantastic, Harry Flanagan in defensive midfield looked after Groves all day and even Jayson Ferguson at the back just puts in every week.”
The win sent Twin City six points clear on top.
An understrength Wodonga Diamonds were too good for Melrose.
The defending Cup and League champions were level at half-time after the speed of Matthew Simpkins opened up the defence and a half cross, half shot from Jarrod Herzina found Paul Brunec at the far post.
Melrose coach Josh Fluss said two similar lapses in the second half resulted in the 3-2 scoreline.
“They are a solid young team but they were missing any number of key players, we should have done better,” he said.
“We let them get behind us three times and it ended up in three goals.”