The Tuncurry Forster Tigers Black U16s football team followed through on their undefeated run through the regular season by taking out the U16 Southern League grand final on the weekend.
The Tigers faced the Gloucester Scorpions in blustery conditions at Taree Zone Field on Saturday afternoon, eventually coming away 4-2 winners thanks to a stellar performance in extra time.
Gloucester started strongly, opening the scoring early with a goal to Kayden Schuman in the first four minutes.
Tigers' striker Will McInnes then responded quickly, scoring an equaliser within 30 seconds of play restarting.
What followed was a back-and-forth affair through the remainder of the first half, with some great attacking play at both ends before the Scorpions were awarded a contentious penalty kick inside the box with two minutes remaining.
Kelly Groves slotted it away to give the Scorpions the lead at the break.
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The second half picked up right where the game left off, with evenly matched displays of attack and defence from both teams.
The Tigers had a few more shots on goal but it wasn't until Jay Malia and Riley Stoker combined to put the ball through to Kane Hope with just minutes remaining that they were able to convert.
Hope was able to get around the keeper and guide the ball into the net to send the game into extra time.
The Tigers carried this late surge into the additional 20 minutes while their deflated opponents faltered, with Jay Malia scoring first and then Nate Johnson putting the nail in the coffin with three minutes left to finish the game two points ahead.
Coach Matt Camilleri praised his young squad, drawing special attention to goalkeeper Harrison Ward and centre defensive pair Ashton Drinkwater and Taj Taylor, who was awarded best on the field by the referee.
The Tigers will now take on the Port Macquarie Crocodiles at Port Macquarie Regional Stadium this Friday night in the Zone Championships, before contesting the Champion of Champions tournament in Coffs Harbour in October.
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