A Warrnambool Rangers recruit came to the open team's rescue on Sunday.
Tiegan Kavanagh, fresh from a match-winning three-goal performance for the women's side, was drafted into the Cameron Pyke-coached outfit which was battling a flurry of late omissions.
The Rangers defeated Creswick 6-3, entrenching themselves in the Ballarat and District Soccer Association finals race.
Pyke said Kavanagh, in her first year at the club, made an invaluable contribution.
"It was an interesting couple of days leading up to the game," he said.
"On Saturday we had 15 available players for the trip up and by Sunday morning we were down to 11 and then about half-an-hour before the game we were at 10.
"Fortunately enough the girls played beforehand and we managed to get Tiegan to step up and play in our game.
"She did tremendously well. She is a great leader on the pitch and the girls in the women's side have really shone under her leadership, as well as Shkara Rantall's.
"Tiegan when she came on and played for the guys on the weekend - I asked her half-an-hour before kick off and without hesitation she was happy to put her hand up - was really key in how we moved the ball, did her job well and didn't back down from any of the challenges."
Rangers, who are without leading scorer Ryan Bail who has a broken foot, lost Connor Bellman and Isaac Welsh to injuries sustained playing Australian Rules football on the Saturday.
Pyke said Bail, who has already missed two games, was facing a decent stint on the sidelines.
"He won't be back for the regular season and may be a small chance if we get to the grand final," he said.
"He is a big loss for our side but I know we have the personnel to step up in his absence and yesterday in particular Kane Ackerley scored five of our six goals.
"He was tremendous. Everything we put to him he managed to find the back of the net."
Rangers' women remain in the finals hunt after defeating Creswick White 3-1.
Both teams will have a bye this weekend as they prepare for the run home.
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