The Albury-Wodonga Spitfires turned in one of their best performances of the Capital League season to fall 3-2 to premiership contender United at Albury Hockey Centre on Saturday.
It was the second week running the Spitfires were without their Victorian-based players due to the statewide lockdown, but for the first first time of the campaign, they were able to apply scoreboard pressure when Noah Erdeljac put the home side ahead early in the peace.
A late goal from Ian Beath, who continued his strong run of form since returning to the side for the first time in three years last week, kept the Spitfires in the hunt, but United did enough to escape with the three points.
Former Australian Hockey League player Jordan O'Brien, who plays football for Billabong Crows in the Hume league, was a late inclusion for the Border side and showed plenty of class on debut.
Noah Jones was best on ground in his return from illness.
ALSO IN SPORT:
Assistant coach Dom Wild was pleased with the performance without eight regular players from south of the border.
"United are a good side, but we came out strong and put them under pressure which we haven't really been able to do," he said.
"The last quarter we had them under a fair bit of pressure and scored five minutes from the end and kept it right on them.
"In weeks gone by, we've run out of legs, but the last couple of weeks we've been running out the full 60 minutes which has been good."
Wild hopes the side can build on the positives from the last two outings and finish the last five games strongly.
"If we get the same numbers we're getting at the minute and they continue through to the start of next year, we'll finish up on a good note hopefully," he said.
Hockey ACT has come to an agreement to allow the Spitfires to play all of their remaining games at Albury Hockey Centre as no-one from NSW is permitted to enter Victoria if they've travelled beyond the Border Bubble.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.