Wallis Lake FC were put to the test against a determined Kempsey Saints team in the second last round of the premier league competition on Saturday.
With Kempsey at home and in need of a win to give them anything more than the slightest chance of making the finals, Wallis Lake coach Jeff Summers said he knew his team were in for a tough game.
But with the additions of a tough pitch, wild winds and bush fires burning all around them, he said the game descended into an all-out arm-wrestle.
"It was always going to be tough and that's how it turned out," he said.
"The conditions were terrible."
Kempsey started strong with a goal to Jarrod Witheridge in the first five minutes, but their momentum was halted when Griffin Ryan was given a red card for bringing down a Wallis Lake attacker in an attempted tackle.
Despite the player difference, Kempsey were able to keep Wallis Lake out until Ethan Perry finally found an equaliser with 15 minutes left.
A yellow card to a Wallis Lake player evened up the numbers again, but neither team were able to come up with a match-winner in the time remaining.
Summers said despite the challenging conditions and the tenacity of the Saints, he was proud of the way his team played football.
"I was really pleased with the fact the guys kept trying to play the style of game we've been trying to play all year," he said.
"The discipline from both teams was impressive."
In reserve grade, Wallis Lake were able to come away with a 3-0 win over the Saints, with striker Jarrod Naylor scoring a hat-trick and generously passing on a fourth opportunity to score off a penalty kick.
Youngster Flynn Parker also put in a big performance to earn man of the match honours.
Heading home to face the Taree Wildcats in their last home game of the season, Summers said his team will be looking for a strong win to give them a shot at a second-place finish and a home semi final.
He urged fans to get along to Boronia Park on Saturday to help celebrate a number of important occasions.
Reserve grade captain and Wallis Lake veteran Mark Fletcher will be playing his last ever regular-season home game, and the Rainbow Warriors FC - a team comprised of special needs kids - will be playing their second display game.
Reserve grade kicks off at 1pm and first grade starts at 3pm.
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