Boambee snatch glory in the final minutes
AS FAR as fairytale finishes go, it doesn't get much better than scoring an 87th minute winner to help your team to its third championship in a row.
The Coastal Premier League North Conference grand final well and truly lived up to expectations with Boambee FC beating Coffs City United Lions 1 - 0 in a pulsating game at C.ex Stadium on the weekend.
The win cements this Boambee side's place as one of the most dominant in recent memory, claiming their third grand final in four appearances since 2017.
If they are to go on and claim a fourth, they will have to do it without talisman Luke France, whose emphatic header through the Lions keeper's legs sent the Boambee fans into raptures minutes before full time.
The striker gave full credit to his teammates who worked the ball from out of defence before providing him with the perfect cross to head home.
France said the grand final would be his last for the triple-premiers and as he was already playing on "half-a-hammy", his body was sending him a clear a message.
"I think that's it, the body is not letting me go any harder,"
"It was great (to go out on a high), three grand finals in a row, I can't beat that."
The Lions finished half time on top in every aspect of the game except the scoreboard, but a resurgent Boambee came out with a point to prove, dragging themselves back into the contest and creating a number of chances.
Their defensive prowess has been Boambee's greatest asset all season and coach Jon Fergusson said he didn't roast the players at the break, opting instead point out how resolute they had been against the minor premiers already this season.
"I said look … we have now played (Coffs City) two and a half games and we have not conceded a goal apart from a penalty spot," he said.
"And you have done it again, you just have to do it for 45 more minutes.
"They put a lot at us, we had to work extremely hard not to concede, and then in the second half we created chances."
Lions' coach Glen Williams said his side expended a lot of energy in the first half, but were unable to take their chances. He also credited Boambee keeper Darcy Newell for keeping them in the contest with some "incredible" saves.
Williams said the addition of France changed how both sides played - Boambee had a target man to feed the ball to and the Lions stopped playing their own style of football.
"First half I believe we dominated and we didn't put anything in the net. We played one of the best halves of football we have played but just couldn't put it away," he said.
The Lions had been form team of the 2020 competition and Williams said the boys were disappointed.
"The season we have had - we should have won tonight," he said.
"You can win the minor premiership and then most people will remember who won the grand final, so that is a bitter pill to swallow.
"But we will be back next year."