GUNNEDAH Hotel Hawks finished their Northern Inland Football Premier League season on a high, beating third-placed North Companions 4-3 in their Southern Conference clash at Marius Street in Tamworth on Saturday.
Hawks’ coach Gary Sams said the win had been coming for a while and was not surprised by the result.
“We played well last week against FC but went down, and this week we played even better and took our chances,” Sams said.
“We finished our opportunities today, we only had about five, but hit four of them and if you can do that you will win.”
Norths scored first with a good goal from Will Kam and had the majority of possession.
Norths coach Gavin Thompson said they dominated possession throughout the game but failed to capitalise on opportunities.
“I think they got in our half about four times the whole game, but they scored every time,” Thompson said.
Norths were going to finish third regardless of this result and have booked a home semi final.
“It was hard to motivate the boys and get them focussed on the game in this position, we got a bit complacent,” Thompson said.
The visitors were awarded a penalty goal which was slotted in by Miguel Stolle, before Ben McLoughlin put another one in the back of the net not long after to lead at the break 2-1.
“We were knocking the ball around well but had some defensive lapses which let them in twice,” Thompson said.
“Once they were ahead and put more players in the back it was very hard to break them down, good luck to them they did what they had to win, but it was disappointing.”
The second half saw the clubs score two goals each, and was a good way to finish the season according to Sams.
“We defended really well, but were always looking to get out and attack.”
“We knew they would be coming at us fast and hard, so we used that to change defence into attack and took our shots.”
Sam’s rates Stolle, goalkeeper Stu Carter and Steve Holland as his best, but applauded the whole team for a good effort to finish the year.
Both sides have a bye next week for the last round, and Norths will play a semi final at home the following week.
In the other Southern Conference match Oxley Vale Attunga beat Gunnedah United 6-nil in Gunnedah.
Joeys FC remained top of the Northern Conferrence with a 2-1 win over East Armidale, South Armidale beat Moree FC 5-4 and North Armidale ended Demon Knight’s playoff hopes with a 2-1 victory at Rologas 2,