The Bega Devils first grade soccer team recorded another win in a hard-fought 2-1 encounter with the Wolumla Tigers on Sunday.
The two clubs’ only other fixture throughout the season also ended in a one goal victory for the Devils, but with finals places up for grabs a tough match was guaranteed.
The opening exchanges of the first half were frenetic for both sides, as Wolumla looked dangerous from set plays, but a stern Bega defence kept it scoreless despite numerous chances.
Meanwhile, the Devils’ counter-attacking ability has been their best goal scoring threat throughout the season.
It was no surprise the same tactics led to the opening goal through striker Jordan Stafford in the 12th minute.
The Tigers over-committed players forward in an attempt to score, but left themselves outnumbered in defence when they lost possession.
Harley Cox broke away for the Devils to execute a precise cross to an unmarked Stafford, who turned in the first goal.
Bega was keen to finish the match before half time and created a number of opportunities, including a shot that smashed into the cross bar, but ultimately would yield no result.
After deflecting a barrage of first half attacking raids from Bega, the Tigers found themselves with an opportunity of their own before half time from a well taken corner.
The Devils defence struggled to clear the danger as the ball found its way to a Wolumla player on the edge of the box who produced an unstoppable top corner shot.
The half time whistle saw the teams level at 1-1.
With the second half now set up for an exiting finish, both teams chased thoughts of victory, but with some desperate defence from each side, a scoreless second half was looking more and more likely.
With attacking threats becoming a frequent problem for Wolumla, it seemed inevitable the Devils would score again.
And in the 73rd minute,the Tigers finally succumbed to the weight of possession and constant pressure.
Devils striker Blake Grant made his impact on the game as he evaded some tired Wolumla defenders and drew the keeper enough to set up an unmarked Corey Robinson, who fired into an open goal.
The Tigers’ best chance to equalise came with only minutes remaining but was pushed wide to allow the Devils to settle for a 2-1 victory.
Bega moved to the top of the ladder above Tathra, which it plays this weekend but the Devils know they will have to be far more ruthless in front of goal to keep first place.
In other senior Devils action, Bega’s reserve grade got back to its winning ways, as it thumped Bemboka 5-0.
Striker Adam Blacka starred with four goals.