A SLOW start proved costly to Stratford as it went down to Paynesville in round three of East Gippsland football.
The 12.14 (86) to 6.10 (46) loss saw Stratford drop out of the top four to fifth, however only percentage separates the Swans from third.
Stratford got off to a slow start, with Paynesville taking a three-goal lead into quarter-time.
Inaccuracy hurt the Swans in the second quarter, restricting the Gulls, but could only manage 1.5 to face a 24-point deficit at the long break.
The match opened up in the third term, with the Gulls booting five goals to the Swans four to take a 32-point lead at the final change of ends.
Stratford could manage just two behinds in a torrid final quarter, with the Gulls running out 40-point victors.
Swans talls Tye Morrison and Kaine Kerton continued their good form, while Luke Clohesy, Nick French, David McLay and Jordan Clegg were Stratford’s other better players.w
Jordan Farquhar was Paynesville’s best, while small forward Derek Hayes was dangerous again with three goals.
LUCKNOW overcame a slow start to defeat Lakes Entrance and remain top of the table.
Trailing by 13 points at quarter-time, the Magpies worked themselves back into the contest to record a 11.14 (80) to 10.7 (67) victory.
Taking a seven-point lead into half-time, Lucknow was made to work hard for its victory in the second half.
Brenton Martin kicked four goals for the Magpies, while coach Gary Jones bobbed up to kick two majors.
James Beha kicked five goals for Lakes Entrance.
ORBOST-Snowy Rovers recorded a comfortable victory over Wy Yung to move into the top four.
The Blues booted 13 goals to four after half-time to run out 46-point victors, 18.10 (118) to 9.18 (72).
The Tigers got the jump on the Blues, taking a 21-point lead into quarter-time.
The Blues worked their way back into the contest, reducing the deficit to nine points at half-time before running away with it in the third, booting eight majors to two to set up a handy 25-point buffer at three-quarter-time.
Stephen Alderton was the Blues’ best, while Deon Scott and Luke Borley kicked seven goals between them.
Bryan Froud was the Tigers’ best.
LINDENOW had the bye.