IT'S a sign of Wagga United's greater expectations this year.
Despite following a 6-0 thrashing of Cootamundra with a 2-1 win with ten men against Henwood Park on Saturday, coach Travis Weir says there's huge improvement to come.
United finished sixth last year, but stamped themselves as one of the teams to beat in the Pascoe Cup with a gritty come-from-behind win over the Hawks.
Crows striker Chris Walker was sent off about 20 minutes into the contest after receiving two yellow cards, and it appeared Henwood Park may capitalise when James Thompson opened the scoring in the shadows of half-time.
But a 35-yard belter from Linc Weir, which found the top left hand corner, put United back on level terms with 20 minutes left, before Nazar Yousif scored the winner five minutes later.
Weir said his team was far from its best, but praised their persistence in grafting out the result to keep their unbeaten start intact.
"It was a different style of win. It was a gritty win because we didn't play well at all, but we had to dig deep," Weir said.
"It (Linc Weir's goal) will be very hard to beat for goal of the season already.
"Especially in the context of the game as well, we were pressuring without creating a lot of chance and what he did changed momentum, you could see it deflated them."
United are widely considered to be one of the clear title contenders this year, and Weir said the club will embrace the higher expectations.
"We overachieved really last year with the squad we had, whereas this year we're focused on being one of the top two teams," Weir said.
"We recruited pretty well and have a lot of youngsters coming through. We haven't played good football yet."
Meanwhile, former Henwood Park player Rhys Creed scored his first goal after a four year absence from the sport in Tumut's 2-0 win over Tolland at Rawlings Park on Sunday.
Creed tapped the ball into an empty net ten minutes into the second half off a pinpoint through ball from Murray Barrett.
Five minutes later, an unmarked Barrett sealed the result with an open header at the far post off a Reece Mastellotto free kick.
"I had a spell for four years then moved to Tumut and thought I'd better play, and they stuck me straight into first grade," Creed said.
"I do a lot of fishing and don't do a whole heap else so I need to do something, I still love soccer.
"I didn't regret giving it up but it's good to be back and scoring.
"Fitness is an issue at the minute, we've got plenty of skill and if we get that fitness up and get better at slotting goals we should have a good chance (of making finals)."
Meanwhile, defending champions Lake Albert have scored 15 goals and conceded just one over the opening fortnight after a 9-0 demolition of South Wagga at Rawlings Park on Saturday night.
In Sunday's other fixtures, Leeton United made it back-to-back wins to start the season with a 2-1 road win over Cootamundra, while newcomers Hanwood were held to a scoreless draw at home by Young Lions.