AN UNDERMANNED Horsham Falcons side was brave against Ballarat White on Sunday before being overrun in the second half.
The Falcons were full of confidence after beating higher-ranked sides Maryborough and Bacchus Marsh in their previous two matches, but had only 11 players to start against Ballarat White.
Despite playing without substitutes, the Falcons had the better of the first half and got out to a two-goal lead.
The game was played in wet conditions at Ballarat's Trekardo Park, and Horsham started to take a toll on the Falcons players.
Travis Cowan was outstanding in the middle for Horsham and kicked one of the team's two goals, but badly injured his hamstring just before half-time.
Under-15 players Reuben Macchia and Noah Talbot played in the second half, but the experience of Ballarat White won out as they added three goals to none after the break.
Horsham was contentiously denied a penalty in the final five minutes, which would have tied the game.
Falcons coach Mick Clark said it was a tough way for his team to lose.
"We were outplaying them in the first half, but full credit to them, they recognised we were in trouble and controlled the ball and made our blokes run around," he said.
"We did a great job and they probably should have beaten us by more, but I thought we were unlucky not to get a draw in the end.
"I thought our guys were heroic, but we were beaten by circumstances in the end."