Launceston City coach Ben Brookfield’s impetuous decision on Saturday to dust off his playing boots has paid dividends to wrest back the derby ascendancy.
While the Challenge Cup was held safely in Northern Rangers’ keeping, City put their best foot forward in the NTCA Ground game to score first and hang on later for a breathtaking 3-2 win.
The 26-year-old coach, who has paced the sidelines all year only to watch his side collect one league victory, had made the call to apply his tactical nous on the pitch.
He was substituted off late in the match, but felt the side was on the right path after jumping to a three-goal lead one minute into the half.
“It was kind of those things that we have a really, really young squad and the one thing I probably can bring to the team is a little bit of game management,” he said.
“That and backing in the orders out on the pitch.
“I think we did well last week with a bit of an unknown, but this was more about getting the win to be perfectly honest.”
The forward forays Brookfield has cried out that has been missing during the first year of his tenure came to the fore in crosstown clash.
American Dylan Williams sliced past Rangers defenders in the 18th minute only to find the corner of the net to give City the lead.
Towering Noah Mies then headed in a second for City 34 minutes into the derby off a Williams’ free kick.
When Mies scored again and his fourth for the year to head City’s season goal tally, it seemed how far for the visitors.
But talisman Harry Thannhauser nodded in Rangers’ reply just five minutes later to throw a new complexion on the game.
Rangers piled forward but had to wait for the 75th minute for a second when Kwin Kensley headed another.
The home side should have equalised when Pat Lanau-Atkinson found space and one-on-one with keeper Lachlan Clark but shanked his shot with four minutes from injury time.
Brookfield felt his side in the end had found the rub of the green that has been missing all campaign.
“We were so far in that first half that I think we were all over them,” Brookfield said.
“But then they came out strong and we were able to hang on. We probably had a few chances where we could’ve made it a little bit more comfortable.
“It’s funny how football works: I think we pretty much dominated the first two games, but I think they more or less dominated this one in the end.”
Rangers coach Lino Sciulli meanwhile said he was “not at all” shocked by his former side’s turnaround.
“Our guys played like they were unprepared, but they didn’t shock me,” he said.
“I always knew that City had some firepower up there.
“They just happened to put them in the net today.
“The unfortunate things is that we talked about it before the game and we just showed them a little bit too much respect.
“Or quite the opposite – I’m not too sure.”