SOUTH Coast Flame FC came away with a 2-nil win over Western NSW from their road trip to Bathurst on Saturday night.
Goals to Jonathan Mushaba and Sandy Lowcock secured what was a memorable win for the Flame, coached by Culburra's George Kulcsar and featuring Shoalhaven Heads-Berry's Matt White and Culburra's Kasey Kulcsar, in difficult conditions.
Western NSW were riding high after three straight wins to start their new campaign as they took on South Coast Flame, who were coming off a 1-nil win over Granville Rage last week.
Both teams had plenty to play for in this match up.
In fact, it is the first official game these two sides have played.
Flame welcomed back Matt Mazevski this week however they were still without at least three other regular first graders.
The pitch looked great however conditions were slippery out there.
In fact, after just two minutes, a slip from Mazevski in midfield gifted Adam Scimone a chance from the edge of the penalty area.
Matt White however was equal to it getting his fingertips to the shot to the far post to deflect it wide.
It was the home side that looked to have adapted to the conditions better early as they dominated possession however a quick break on 16 minutes from Flame saw Daniel Lucas upended in the box however the referee saw it otherwise.
Just two minutes later, Wade Wilton cut inside from 30 odd yards and let fly a shot that skidded off the surface and had Western goalkeeper Jordan Bruce scrambling however it just skipped by the far post.
Flame started to adapt to conditions and were in the ascendancy at this stage and they were rewarded on 26 minutes.
Sandy Lowcock got a neat touch to the ball that saw Mushaba running towards goal. His initial shot was blocked, but he buried his second effort past Bruce to give Flame the lead.
Flame were now dominating chances and on 40 minutes, some lovely footwork from Mazevski saw him feed Lowcock down the left.
Lowcock's ball across goal was met first time by Dowling who skied his shot with the goal at his mercy.
Right on the stroke of half time, Western were awarded a free kick in a dangerous position however Cameron Dejong could not hit the target as Flame went into the sheds a goal to the good.
Just five minutes after the restart, Flame got their second. Lowock received the ball on the left touchline before beating his man and cutting back inside.
From the corner of the penalty area, he curled a shot past Bruce that snuck inside the far post.
It was a very well taken goal from the from the former Illawarra Premier League sharpshooter.
Western NSW were clearly frustrated.
They made all five substitutions inside 20 minutes of the second half resumption as they looked to change the momentum.
The hosts were still hoping to get something out of the game however White, Lucas, Kulcsar, Wilton and Stella were all super sound defensively repelling any threats coming their way.
As the game wore on, Flame appeared content to sit back, absorb the pressure and rely on catching their opponents on the break.
Flame comfortably saw out the game to record their second win of the new campaign which now sees them sit just two points from the top.
For the first time in the club's short history, the team has gone three straight games without conceding.
Speaking with coach George Kulcsar post-match, he heaped praise on his chargers.
"It is extremely satisfying that we managed to score twice tonight and keep another clean sheet after a long road trip against the competition leaders," Kulcsar said.
"Our combination play against a team that pressed aggressively from the front was exceptional at times and it is the best I have seen in my short tenure at the club.
Captain and goalkeeper Matt White was equally thrilled to be going home with the points as he paid tribute to the squad.
"In particularly challenging conditions, our defence was once again rock solid," White said.
"To go to Bathurst and keep a clean sheet is a huge credit to all the lads.
"We continued to create some dangerous combinations between our midfielders and attackers which produced some good chances.
He also mentioned the younger guys who have done a great job filling in where required.
"It's great to see a few of the younger lads from the under 20s getting first grade opportunities and they have not looked out of place in each of their performances," he said.
"We will take great confidence from this victory and hopefully, we can keep on producing these types of performances throughout the rest of the season.
Flame travel to Rockdale next Saturday night to take on Hurtsville FC.