MISSED opportunities came back to haunt Horsham Falcons in their 2-1 defeat to Creswick Maroon at Doug Lindsay Park, Creswick, on Sunday.
The Falcons were gunning for their third consecutive victory and a top four berth, but were left empty handed at full-time.
Falcons coach Mick Clark said if the side had converted a number of gilt-edged early chances, it could have been a different story.
“In the first 15 minutes, our three strikers all got past a defender, had an easy shot on goal and put it to the right,” he said.
“I couldn’t believe it.
“They were that easy, they did all the hard work and it was like watching a replay.”
The hosts took advantage of the let-off to the hit the front, before a second-half penalty doubled the margin.
As a result, Falcon Kenneth Iroegbulam was sent off, which left the visitors to play with 10 men for the final 30 minutes.
But Clark said the Falcons pushed hard until the final whistle.
“After a good blast at half-time, I was proud of them and the way they played in the second half,” he said.
“We played with 10 men for the last half an hour and still outplayed them.
“We had more opportunity on goal, but you’ve got to take that opportunity against good sides.”
Ethan Gebert scored his seventh goal of the season to give the visitors hope, but the Falcons could not snare an equaliser.
Clark praised the performances of captain Travis Cowan and defender Jason Wilksch.
The side was without the injured Kane Clark and in-form right back Ebby Njoku, who missed the team bus.
The result sees the Falcons remain sixth in the nine-team competition, with the Maroons jumping Ballarat Red into fourth spot.
A tough fortnight awaits the side – with a home clash against top team Daylesford ahead of a visit to second-placed Maryborough.
The Falcons’ under-15s could not match it with North United White at Morshead Park, Redan, losing 7-0 to the top three team on their home turf.