Murray United captured the early season bragging rights against regional rivals Goulburn Valley Suns with a gutsy come-from-behind 3-2 victory at La Trobe on Saturday.
The hosts led 1-0 at the break after Zac Walker produced a class finish, but the Suns hit back in the second half through James Lelliott (53rd minute) and a brilliant free kick from Jordan Barrow (65th minute) to grab the momentum.
But to Murray's credit, they didn't wilt under pressure, equalising through Ryan Don Paul after he streamed down the wing from left back and finished a nice cross from Alex West in the 73rd minute.
Both sides had further opportunities to wrestle back the lead, but it was Murray star Tom Youngs that bobbed up inside the final five minutes to coolly slot the match-winner after he linked up well with substitute Jordan Hore.
Murray coach Elliot Jones admitted it was a great day for the club.
"It was a game worthy of a derby, it was really tough and it opened up in the second half and was end to end," Jones said.
"I think both teams probably would say they could have defended better in parts, but it was just one of those games.
"They got back and scored two and we were down 2-1 with 20 to go, but the boys rallied and dragged themselves back into the contest with really hard running and took the game on.
"I thought everyone was so brave and bold.
"For Tommy (Youngs) to score the winner was fitting.
"He had a pretty quiet game up until the last 20 minutes and came alive, and, he was the difference."
Jones felt the fitness of his side was crucial to the result.
"We knew our fitness would prove telling, we thought we were a fitter side and we had to back ourselves in," he added.
Archie Thompson managed 70 minutes in his return to La Trobe, while Jones was also very impressed with Hore late in the game.
"We subbed off Archie Thompson for a 16-year-old kid (Hore) and he honestly could have had a hat trick," Jones said.
"He had back post header disallowed for offside and had two one-on-one chances with the keeper that on any other day he would have slotted.
"He was quite flat that he didn't get on the score sheet, but it shows the level of this kid and he's going to feature heavily in the back half of the season."
It was Murray's first home victory against the Suns since 2015.
The ladder after round nine is: Eastern Lions 17, Langwarrin 16, Northcote City 16, Melbourne City 14, Bulleen 14*, Box Hill United 12*, GV Suns 8, Manningham United 8, Murray United 7, Springvale 5.
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