With a former Socceroo and A-League legend running out on the pitch, the moment couldn’t be any bigger for Murray United.
But for James Coutts’ men, Archie Thompson’s first start for the club didn’t exactly go to plan as they went down 2-0 against Eastern Lions on Saturday.
United dominated for large parts of the game, with Thompson’s two attempts on goal both finding the crossbar, including one from the penalty spot.
“The big moments certainly decided it,” Coutts said.
“I thought in patches we played some really good football without really hurting them like we had planned to.
“We knew what they were going to bring and they played well.
“From our perspective, we weren’t clinical enough in the final third.”
Eastern hit the lead midway through the first half and were awarded a controversial penalty early in the second half to make it 2-0, minutes after Thompson found the crossbar with a scorching header from a set piece.
“I’ll have to look at the video of their penalty, but the boys were adamant it wasn’t,” Coutts said.
“Big decisions and big moments certainly went against us and we didn’t capatalise on them.
“I said to the boys we’ll play worse than that this season and win.
“I was very happy with how we moved the ball at times, but not consistently enough.”
Despite a missed penalty attempt from Thompson, Coutts was far from disappointed with the marquee signing’s first start for the club.
“I thought he gave everything. When we could get him the ball, we could tell the level he’s got,” he said.
“It’s about us getting him the ball a bit more in certain areas and giving him options when he has it.”
A positive to take from the clash was the spark provided by Melkie Woldemichael in his first game this season.
“When Melkie’s on and Melkie’s fit, he’s one of the most effective attacking players at the club,” Coutts said.
“The problem is getting his body right and getting him to a stage where he can be playing 90 minutes regularly.
“You could see tonight what he does, he causes problems and hopefully we get him firing as soon as possible and I’m sure we’ll have another very good attacking option on our hands.”
United must put the performance aside and prepare Goulburn Valley Suns (GVS) next weekend.
“If the boys don’t lift themselves for games like that, we shouldn’t be here,” Coutts said.
“We created a lot of opportunities against Melbourne City last week.
“We didn’t do enough of that and it’s a big part of our game, so it’s something we need to look at that and make sure we go up to GVS and put in a good performance.”