A game-changing save set the tone for goalkeeper Evan Alexandrow-Ridley's return to the Canberra Premier League, helping take the money off the Monaro Panthers' back in their first win of the season.
Alexandrow-Ridley, who formerly played for the Lithuanian under-21's side, kept a cleansheet in Monaro's 3-0 win over Woden-Weston at Melrose Synthetic on Saturday.
The round-four victory is the Panther's first of the season and elevates them above Tuggeranong United to sixth on the ladder.
But it leaves cellar-dwellers Woden-Weston winless and scoreless nearly half-way through the shortened Capital Football season.
The addition of former FC Dziugas Alexandrow-Ridley gave Monaro the spark they needed to show the 2020 finals are still within their reach.
His point of difference was noted by Monaro coach Jimmy Kanardis, who was pleased by his team's performance across the park.
"The monkey is off our back now and we'll see how it goes," Kanardis said.
"I said to the boys, this is only a stepping stone for the next game. Now we've just got to show up and play.
"We actually competed today. It wasn't so much the pretty stuff, we actually competed, were in their faces and handled their discipline quite well.
"It was an all round good performance by the boys. They stuck to their guns and kept driving in these bad conditions"
Monaro striker Lukman Ahmed-Shaibu put the visitors ahead in the 15th minute when he tapped in a crossbar-deflection on his second scoring attempt.
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Woden-Weston had a solid chance to level the scores in the 37th minute when Jaidon Seldon sent a promising cross into the box. But Monaro recruit Alexandrow-Ridley pulled off two stunning saves within seconds to keep the homeside scoreless.
"That was a game changer. He reacted to two saves in the space of a second, that's the difference isn't it?" Kanardis said.
"After that, I told him he didn't have too much to do. But that's what we need, for someone to step up and he did that well."
Ahmed-Shaibu's goal was the point of difference at half-time, so Robert Tkatchenko stepped up in the 53rd minute to extend their lead with a stunning left-foot strike.
Monaro added salt to the wound when Ahmed-Shaibu bagged a double. The American striker pounced on a slick back-pass from Aaron Cashman, buring it into the bottom corner.
"The win gives them confidence going forward, as well as having a clean sheet, but my import from America was very good today," Kanardis said.
"He bagged two goals but his movements and rotations were spot on. I was quite happy about that."
AT A GLANCE
NPL Canberra round four: MONARO PANTHERS 3 (Ahmed-Shaibu 15' 79', Tkatchenko 53') bt WODEN-WESTON 0