Wallis Lake's Roan Whiteman produced the performance of the season to guide his team to victory over Port United FC in the 2019 Football Mid North Coast Premier League grand final.
The towering striker scored twice in regulation time and once more in extra-time before ultimately delivering the winning shot in the penalty shoot-out to see Wallis Lake emerge 3-2 victors.
"He was unstoppable," coach Jeff Summers said.
"Every time he comes to a big game he steps up."
With Port United enjoying the edge over Wallis Lake in all of their previous encounters this year, it was never going to be easy for the Lakies when they travelled to Port Regional Stadium on Saturday for the decider.
True to expectations, the game proved a real arm-wrestle.
United hit the lead twice in regulation time but on both occasions their advantage was thwarted by Whiteman, whose equaliser in the 65th minute was responsible for sending the match into extra-time.
He then struck first in the additional minutes of play but this was quickly countered by United's Adam Woonton, leaving the scores once again level and ensuring the premiership would be decided by a heart-wrenching penalty shoot-out.
Despite the ecstasy of winning, Summers admitted it was an unfortunate way for such a close contest to be decided.
"It's a horrible way to lose," he said.
"You certainly don't want to win in penalties but we'll take it."
He praised Port United as the stand-out team of the competition and acknowledged the game was as evenly-matched as anyone could ever hope for.
"It was a really good football spectacle," he said.
"There was no nastiness. It was just a very hard contest."
In identifying where his boys were able to get the edge over their former nemeses, he saw the training and focus they'd put into their mid-field as key to their victory.
"Our mid-field was outstanding," he said.
"It was really nice to see that hard work pay off."
He said everyone in the team put in strong performances but it was inevitable that Roan Whiteman was awarded the game's most valuable player.
Unfortunately Wallis Lake's reserve grade team didn't enjoy the same success in their grand final match-up, going down 2-1 to the Macleay Valley Rangers.
Despite this, Summers believed their first grade win reflected positively on both teams, with many reserve grade players stepping up throughout the season.
"We had a season with a lot of injuries and it was a real squad effort," he said.
"That win was a win for Wallis Lake as a unit."
He said working with reserve grade coach Chris Cheers had been a real highlight and also praised the club's loyal supporters, many of who made the journey up to Port Macquarie to cheer on the two teams.
Wallis Lake will hold its presentation at Club Forster this Friday evening.
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