By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THERE was never any doubting that Coffs United were a good football team but now the Lions are only 90 minutes away from being named State Champions.
On Sunday at Sydneys Valentine Park, the Lions blew the highly fancied Sans Souci team off the park 4-nil.
For their efforts, Coffs United now play in this Sunday's final against Central Coast team Wyoming who won their semi-final over Fairfield after a penalty shootout.
Hailing from the southern suburbs of Sydney, Sans Souci entered Sunday's semi-final as the warm favourites but they were placed immediately on the back foot when striker Ben Mackay put the Lions a goal up after only five minutes.
Kicking with the aid of a breeze in the first half, the Lions dominated play in the oppressive conditions but couldn't add to the score line before the break.
When the second half commenced, Coffs United showed their city counterparts how a team should play when kicking into the wind.
While Sans Souci were happy to play the long ball, the Lions controlled possession with clean, crisp passing and hard running that saw Nathan Silvy and Anthony Wiseman provide plenty of opportunities for the hard working Mackay up front.
The local team were given a boost when the 16 year-old pair of Sam Galloway and Rory Dollard were introduced from the substitute's bench.
Not only did these two give the team a timely injection of enthusiasm and pace through the midfield, but they also put the match well into the Lions' keeping when each of them scored a goal to make the score 3-nil.
At this stage Coffs United knew that they were through to the final and a proud club president Paul Israel summed up the match in one sentence.
"The other team were pretty experienced but our guys just ran them around," he said.
When Ryan Turner slammed in a 30 metre drive to score the team's final goal late in the match, the fat lady was well and truly singing and the boys were on their way to the final.
"We've got no injury worries and everyone's available," Israel said as he looked forward to this weekend's final.
"I think we've got a very good chance. The Wyoming side looks a bit more experienced but our guys just seem to have a bit more run in them.
"If we can play again like we did yesterday then we're in with a good shot."
One more win and the Lions will complete an undefeated season with a dream finish.
n Unfortunately the news wasn't as good for Urunga's women's team.
Matched up against Brookvale in their semi-final, the Raiders' girls were no match for the slick moving team from the Northern Suburbs, eventually falling 3-0.