A Pierce Waring hat-trick helped Melbourne Victory to a 5-4 win over Ballarat City in the NPL2 West on Saturday.
Waring, 19, struck three times in an enthralling second half of the Round 6 clash at Morshead Park Stadium.
Birkan Kirdar and Jack Palazzolo were also on the scoresheet for Victory, which extended its unbeaten run to five matches.
Ballarat scored four times in the final 20 minutes through a Tristan Romein double, Michael Trigger goal and Shaun Romein penalty.
Victory took a third-minute lead through Kirdar, who finished after Waring chested a Yazid Said cross into his path.
Kirdar also hit the post with a free-kick in the first half before the game came to life after the break.
Waring turned and finished from inside the area before completing his brace after Palazzolo struck on the counter-attack.
But Tristan Romein headed in two set-pieces for Ballarat and a deflected strike from Trigger saw the host back to 4-3.
However, Waring completed his hat-trick in the 89th minute and Victory held on despite Shaun Romein’s late penalty.
Head coach Gareth Naven
“The one improvement is that last week, being in a position of leading the game to drawing the game, this week we’re leading the game to actually completing and winning the game. I look at it that way as though that’s got to be an improvement from our players. There are things we need to get better at, definitely, but as a whole globally when you look at it, we improved from last week.
“The performance has helped to get the result. Obviously there are things we need to work on in regards to conceding goals but our group is well aware of that, especially when we concede that number of goals in two weeks. But the good thing is we’re resilient and we scramble and we get across the line. We probably took another step forward in actually achieving that which is a good thing for the players.”
Victory’s under-20s returned to winning ways, beating Ballarat City 4-1.
NPL2 West 2018 Round 6
Ballarat City 4 (Tristan Romein 70’/79′, Michael Trigger 88′, Shaun Romein 90+3′ pen)
Melbourne Victory 5 (Birkan Kirdar 3′, Pierce Waring 47’/65’/89′, Jack Palazzolo 51′)
Melbourne Victory: Matthew Sutton; Andrew Visciglio, Benjamin Carrigan (Maker Maker), Cameron McGilp, Jonathan Vakirtzis (c); Thierry Iradukunda, Brady Quinn; Nicholas Sette (Jack Palazzolo), Birkan Kirdar, Yazid Said (Nuh Sehavdic); Pierce Waring.
Victory has a week off before returning to action with a clash against Whittlesea Ranges at Epping Stadium on Saturday, April 7.