While the crowd might not have been as big as previous years, Saturday's local derby between Wallis Lake and Tuncurry Forster ZPL still proved to be a competitive affair.
Held in wet conditions at Tuncurry Sports Complex, the clash saw Wallis Lake draw on their experience to outpoint their former premier league rivals 3-0 in the third round of the Men's Southern League.
Great Lakes United Football Club secretary, Kevin Stevens, said it was a competitive match-up but the scoreline ultimately provided a fair reflection of how the game played out.
"It was a good hard contest," he said.
Striker Jarrad Naylor drew first blood for Wallis Lake, capitalising on a defensive error from Tuncurry in the latter stages of the first half, before Reyne Black extended the lead to 2-0 with a well-executed penalty kick midway through the second half.
A third goal 10 minutes out from full-time sealed the deal for last year's premier league champions.
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Tuncurry Forster ZPL coach, Scott Fletcher, believed his boys were in with a chance up until that point.
"When they scored their third goal that took the game away from us," he said.
"We were super competitive the whole game but they took their chances and we didn't."
Despite the loss, Mr Fletcher believed there were a lot of positives to take away for his young side, particularly in terms of defence.
"We felt our defence really stood up to them," he said.
"They didn't really give Wallis many chances."
Mr Fletcher listed the defensive trio of Ben Chapman, Joey Newman and Troy Chipperfield as the team's standout players, with Chapman in particular making a strong contribution.
Mr Fletcher said his team would look to bounce back strongly against Pacific Palms this weekend in order to stay in touch with Wallis Lake on the ladder.
He hoped the sides would meet again before the year was out so Tuncurry Forster ZPL could implement some of the lessons they learned from the weekend's game.
For Wallis Lake, next weekend's match-up looms as a more lighthearted affair, with the side set to meet club mates, the Great Lakes Vikings, at Boronia Park.
"That will be a bit of fun," Mr Stevens said.
After three rounds of competition, Wallis Lake lead the Men's Southern League while Tuncurry Forster ZPL are rated sixth. However, Wallis Lake, Tuncurry Forster ZPL, Wingham FC ZPL and Hallidays Point Barracudas have all missed one round of competition.
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