The Bega Devils have claimed the 2017 FSC Football Association first grade premiership 1-0 in a fiery finish.
Sunday’s game against the Wolumla Tigers remained scoreless at the break with play quickly shifting from end to end.
The winner for the Devils had come from a Chris Dwyer header into the corner of the net after he found open room at the back off a well-placed Bega corner kick.
Earlier, both Ross Jones and Blake Grant had fired some blistering shots on goal, but Ross Oldham stood as a one-man-army in the Wolumla box stopping shots that would have sailed past an inferior keeper.
Wolumla had taken a few shots of their own, but were kept largely at bay by solid defensive runs from Simon Jones and Bega captain Phil Chapman.
The Tigers’ pairing of Sean Kennedy and Tim Hodgkin were able to make some forward pressure, but weren’t quite able to convert their momentum into open space in front of the Bega goals.
A few shots from range had eluded the Bega backline, but were capably handled by Bega goalie Harrison Baker.
Disicipline proved an issue as play became heated at times with a number of players from both teams given yellow cards for conduct or dangerous tackles.
Wolumla’s Jarrod Dewberry was also red-carded in the dying minutes of play after receiving his second yellow.
Much of the first grade clash had focused around the middle of the ground with headers off goal kicks propelling a lot of play for both teams.
Phil Chapman proved strong in the air for Bega alongside veteran Adam Blacka, while Wes Rosseland and Maz O’Reilly were solid for the Tigers at attacking the ball off the ground.
The first grade result meant the Devils and Tigers had split the honours on the day, with Bega also claiming the earlier under 12s match up for two wins, while the Tigers had claimed wins in the reserves and 16s.
A spokesman for the Devils said it was a great win for the Bega White 12s, who notched up a 6-2 result over the Tigers.
“They finished the season undefeated and minor premiers as well,” the spokesman said.
“It was a great game with Wolumla scoring first and leading at half time, but we were able to keep the pressure on and came away with the win.”
He congratulated the team and their coach Jonathon Kite on a great effort.
In reserves, the Tigers had dropped a single game through the regular season and were favourites over the Merimbula Grasshoppers.
However, it came down to the wire after the Grasshoppers put on a concerted effort against the minor premiers.
Both teams were fast and agile and play centred around the middle with neither side able to get many scoring opportunities up close.
Merimbula used their speed to create some attacking space down the edges, but Daniel Kennedy was indomitable at sweeper to clear the ball out.
Blake Rosseland had also been influential with long range kicks and good headers for the Tigers.
The Tigers were also well-served by Adam Bedford up front, while Kye Dewberry was impactful despite an early ankle injury.
Dave Gilbert was also solid out of goals for the Grasshoppers, while keeping up talk on the field.
Damiel Friedli made some good runs up the edge, while Blake Mitchell and Jai Pentecost had some good passages through the middle.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead early in the second half, but gifted the Grasshoppers a dot shot later to see the scores levelled 1-1.
With just minutes to play, the Tigers struck back to seal the 2-1 result.
In women’s play, the Eden Killer Whales capped a flawless season with a 5-0 win over Pambula.
Correction: I reported that the Wolumla Tigers were the first grade minor premiers in Friday’s preview. This was incorrect, the Bega Devils were minor premiers and I apologise for the mistake.