One solitary point denied Prahran Assumption an heroic win and third place on the VAFA Division 1 ladder on Saturday and consigned the club to a dogfight for a finals berth.
A win would have seen the Two Blues a game clear in third spot, instead they tumbled to fifth, out of the four on percentage after the 14-7 (91) to 13-12 (90) loss to Whitefriars.
Eight teams are realistic finals chances with seven rounds to play so the narrowest of defeats could prove costly.
In a see-saw clash which saw the momentum swing markedly Prahran Assumption coughed up an early 15 point lead to trail by 27 points half-way through the third quarter and seemingly headed for a heavy defeat.
The Two Blues dominated the first quarter but a return of 4-7 from 23 to 12 inside 50m entries was soon shown to be poor reward for effort.
Whitefriars piled on four unanswered goals in the first 10 minutes and ended with a six goals to one second quarter.
At the half-time break coach Ash Mills implored his players not to fall into the ‘bad quarter, bad day’ mindset .
The early signs were not good when an errant handball presented Whitefriars with the first goal of the third quarter.
But gradually Prahran Assumption started to wrest back control. Three successive, frustrating set shot misses from the best forward on the ground Adam Sleight and Jack Matherson did not deter the Two Blues.
When Sleight finally converted early in the last quarter the margin had been trimmed to 14 points.
Sleight was at times triple teamed by Whitefriars but continued his aerial dominance and after Whitefriars goaled against the trend of play, he slotted his sixth goal.
A crumbing goal Tim Maya, an horrendous Whitefriars turnover which presented Daniel Anglin with a mark and goal and suddenly the Two Blues were in front with five minutes to play.
The joy of their supporters was short lived when Whitefriars responded with two quick, apparently game sealing, goals.
But a Ryan Costin goal and the Two Blues were within one point with less than two minutes to play.
Whitefriars ensured a series of stoppages to make the game safe.
Sleight with six goals, and on ballers Matt Wall and Nathan Davey were outstanding for the Two Blues were earned full points for bravery but were left to rue some slipshod ball handling and decision making and that second quarter lapse.
Division 1 has a mid-season break next Saturday with the Two Blues next assignment against unbeaten Hampton Rovers in a fortnight.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 4-7 5-7 7-10 13-12 (90)
WHITEFRIARS 3-2 9-4 11-6 14-7 (91)
Goals: Sleight 6, Maya 2, Robbins, R Costin, Anglin, N Costin, Pascoe.
Best: Sleight, Wall, Hunt, Anglin, Kenny, McIntyre.
Prahran Assumption Reserves ended a five game losing streak with its best performance of the season.
A team bonding session on Thursday at club sponsor’s Bush Inn Hotel called by co coach Neil Wallmeyer seemed to have a positive influence.
The Two Blues led all day with Adam Simpson, in his first game back from an overseas sojourn, a telling factor up forward with three goals.
PRAHRAN ASSUMPTION 4-5 10- 6 12- 8 14-12 (96)
WHITEFRIARS 2-2 4-7 6-8 8-13 (61)
Goals: Simpson 3, Dean, Giansiracusa, Radywonik 2, Ellis, McMahon, Taylor, Ancrum, Laverty.
Best: Laverty, Webb, T Matherson, Delacruz, Hagen, Giansiracusa.
The Prahran Assumption Club 18 side bounced back from last week's loss to Old Xavs and overcame a dogged Monash Blues to win by 34 points.
The Two Blues remain in third spot on the ladder only two points behind St Bernards in second position. But snapping at their heels are De La and Old Geelong in fourth and fifth respectively, both only four points behind.
It will be tough run home playing Old Geelong, St Bernards and De La in the final three rounds of the regular season. If we fire, a double chance is a real possibility. If we stumble there is a risk if falling out of the top four altogether.
The game loomed as a danger game out at Clayton against a team that we have a history of tough contests and whom we struggled to overcome in the opening round of the season. Monash had tested most teams and defeated other finals contenders in recent games.
Returning to coaching duties for the week, Luke Farrell emphasised the need to bring our A grade game and not take The Ashers lightly.
It was a tight first stanza with both sides' defence on top with Prahran managing two majors to The Ashers single goal.
Chris Morton and Mick McKenna were playing strong accountable football in the back half. Nick Koehler and Mark Ploenges were providing run and carry. Brett Michael was welcomed back to ruck duties.
The 2nd quarter saw the Clubbies begin to flex their muscle as they maintained their intensity to kick another 2 goals while holding Monash goalless. Nick Gouin was the go-to man up forward in the absence of our regular goal kickers. Although playing deeper than usual he regularly got on his bike and pushed hard up onto the wings to provide a hit up target. Gouin's fine form provides plenty of forward line depth which is invaluable come the season's end game.
Prahran Assumption by 17 points at the long orange break in a low scoring affair.
The second half saw PAFC continue to play consistently better than their opponents and extend their lead at each change. Damien Guengerich continues to improve with each outing after an injury prone start to the season. Billy Neasey is enjoying some extended time the middle and his hard nosed approach at contesting the ball is a massive bonus.
Playing coach Luke Farrell finished off a fine personal game with 2 goals himself after some fine stoppage work around the ground.
It was a solid 4 quarter performance leading up to some key games.
This week we have a bye before an important clash away at Como Park against Old Geelong
Prahran Assumption 9.14-68 def Monash Blues 4.10-34
Goals: Nick Gouin 4, Luke Farrell 2, Billy Neasey, Damien Guengerich, Mark Ploenges
Best: Mick McKenna, Chris Morton, Nick Koehler, Luke Gleeson, Nick Gouin, Brett Michael