With 26 minutes remaining in Saturday's Western Premier League derby at Sir Jack Brabham Park, it looked as though the ladder-leading Waratahs FC were in serious danger of dropping their first match.
Josh Ward's red hot Barstoneworth United FC squad held a 2-1 advantage after the captain himself capitalised on some sloppy play from the sky blues' defence, netting a goal that would have had Adam Scimone's men biting their fingernails.
But as all quality sides do, Waratahs kept their composure and after wrestling back momentum, netted a pair of key goals to claim a 3-2 victory and ensure they remain on top of the table.
Tahs spent a large portion of the match chasing their tails as they conceded the opener to Lachie Peet after just seven minutes.
It didn't take long for the equaliser to come as an all-Sinclair special squared the ledger after 23 minutes, Ryan swinging one in off a corner and Jack putting it away with his melon.
The red and whites re-took the lead in the 39th minute when Jadyn Slater tried to defuse an attacking raid from the opposition, but instead kicked it right into the lap of Barnies before Josh Ward put it away.
Jadyn Slater would redeem himself in the 65th minute when he headed a Ryan Sinclair corner into the back of the net, bringing the scoreline to 2-2.
Adam Kelly was in the right place at the right time with 17 minutes to go as he pounced on a bouncing ball inside the box, beating the keeper and giving his troops the match-deciding buffer.
Barnies had their chances in the dying stages but Waratahs held firm defensively, thanks to the work of backs like Jadyn Slater, who had a mixed day at the office.
"I thought the boys showed a lot of character and heart to get the three points today," Slater said.
"We didn't play our best football but we left nothing on the pitch and worked for each other, and that's why we came out on top."
After an unsuccessful campaign in 2020, the expectations for Barnies were a little hazy, but Slater confirmed that Josh Ward's side is certainly formidable.
"They've definitely improved since we first played them and they've definitely worked out how to play together," he said."
After missing the first half of the campaign with a knee injury, Tahs' captain-coach Adam Scimone has re-joined the fold and according to Slater, is a welcomed addition to the roster.
"It's always good to have a player of Adam's quality come back into the team," he said.
"He gives us something different up top and his movement and runs in behind give us more opportunities to score."
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