IT took an incredible second-half strike against 10-men to eliminate Port Saints from the Football Mid North Coast Premier League competition.
And it was a goal worthy of sending any team to within one win of a grand final as defending premiers Wallis Lake claimed a 1-0 win on Saturday.
Saints coach John Goodman remained upbeat following the match which brought their season to an end.
“It was a really good goal to win the game, but apart from that I don’t think there was anything in it,” he said.
In a match where neither side dominated for long periods, Saints cause was not helped with a second-half send-off of forward Sam Bailey.
Bailey received a checked path to a through-ball from Anthony Jamieson and after winning the free-kick was involved in an on-field scuffle.
After the scuffle, Bailey threw out a leg and was controversially given a straight red card which on first glance appeared to be a tough decision.
Goodman admitted he missed the incident and only received second-hand information, but conceded Bailey needed to be smarter.
10 minutes after he was given his marching orders, Wallis hit the front.
Going down a goal appeared to spur Saints into action and they looked more threatening on the break and created numerous half-chances.
They just lacked the polish to find an equaliser.
“We had to sit in for a little bit because it was 0-all at that stage so we had the plan of trying to get through to extra time and then pens because it was our best bet,” Goodman said.
“Then when they score a wonderstrike – which was a really good goal – we had to press and go forward.
“I thought we were more dangerous when we went forward after that.
“They were a bit loose and dropped four players back and couldn’t contain one or two so I think they were very lucky to win it in the end.”
Saints had a bit of luck themselves in the opening 20 minutes, but the ball was ruled not to have crossed the line after hitting the crossbar in the 10th minute.
“They were very good for the first 20 minutes of the first half and we weathered that and I thought we were the better team for a fair bit of the rest of the game,” Goodman said.
“But we couldn’t quite get the goal.
“When you have 10 men it’s going to be harder, let’s face it when they’ve got three and four guys that can control one or two players.”
The Saints coach said the future looked bright for the club after a much-improved season saw them qualify for the finals.
They claimed the wooden spoon last year.
“The average age is 17 so we’re looking alright for the future and there’s a lot of kids coming through the club which will look good,” he said.
“Youth’s the way.
“We’ve evolved and only one team worked us out all year so apart from that we were as good as every other team.”