A GOAL from Will Ong gave Ringwood City a much-needed 1-1 draw with Melbourne University in its FFV Provisional League 3 south-east match at Jubilee Park on Saturday.
New City coach Fabrizio Rocchi praised his players for their efforts especially in the last 15 minutes after left-back Franco Wilson was sent off.
Despite being without their talented left-back, City hung tough to hold off Uni's late drives and earn a well-deserved point from the match.
Rocchi, who took over the coaching position from John Di Martino last month, said Uni was the toughest side his team had faced since he took charge.
"For us it is a very good result," he said. "They are the toughest team we have played, they were very fit."
Rocchi was also impressed with Ong's efforts in creating City's goal.
"Willy made the goal all by himself," Rocchi said. "He put good pressure on the centre-back, then won the ball and carried the ball all the way to the goal and beat the keeper. It was a fantastic goal."
Rocchi also said Wilson had apologised to the referee after the game.
The new coach said his side had to work on getting fitter but he was confident they were good enough to move out of the relegation zone. "We have some very good players and did not deserve to be second last. We could be higher," he said. "It was just a fitness issue which we will fix in a few weeks."
City visits Brighton at Dendy Park this Saturday at 3pm.
FFV Provisional League 2 south-east ladder: Rowville Eagles 24 points, 17 goal difference; Old Brighton 22, 9; University of Melbourne 17, 7; Eltham Redbacks 16, 8; Noble Park 14, 5; Old Trinity 14, 3; Whitehorse United 8, -1; Glen Waverley 8, -4; Brighton 8, -8; Ringwood City 2, -16; White Star Dandenong -2, -19.