STRATFORD overcame a slow start to defeat East Gippsland football cellar dwellers Orbost-Snowy Rovers in round 11.
The Blues scored the first four goals of the match to take a 23-point lead at the first change before the Swans gradually worked their way back into the contest on the way to a 12.15 (87) to 10.8 (68).
Still trailing by a point at three-quarter-time, Stratford finished strongly with a four-goal to one final quarter to run out a 19-point victor.
Josh Kiss kicked eight of his side’s 12 goals in a best-on-ground performance, while Nathan Fehst, Andrew Lipman, Cory Kee and Lewis Bolton were other solid contributors for the Swans.
Wesley Russell was the Blues’ best, booting four majors.
The win keeps the Swans in touch with the top four, just two points adrift of the fourth-placed Lucknow.
PAYNESVILLE conceded eight first quarter goals, only to fight back to defeat Lakes Entrance by a point, 13.7 (85) to 12.12 (84), in a thrilling finish.
The Gulls held the Seagulls to just four behinds in the second quarter to face a deficit of just 16 points at the main change despite conceding eight goals in the first quarter.
A five-goal to two third term saw Paynesville edge ahead to set up a thrilling final quarter.
Both sides managed two goals in the final term, with the Gulls hanging on to win by the barest of margins.
REIGNING premier Lindenow scored a comfortable 41-point victory over finals aspirant Lucknow, 17.11 (113) to 11.6 (72).
Taking a one-point lead into quarter-time, the Cats booted five goals to one in the second term to establish a handy 28-point buffer at the long break to set-up the comfortable win.
Paul Collier and Michael Preston booted 10 goals between them for the Cats, while Brenton Martin kicked four goals for the Magpies.
WY Yung had the bye.