TAMWORTH FC had only one shot on goal all game but that was all they needed to win back to back premierships after grinding out a 1-nil victory over Oxley Vale Attunga in the Northern Inland Premier League decider on Saturday.
FC became only the third club to win back to back premierships with the victory, North Armidale and the Mushies the other two.
Ken Chillingworth Oval was the scene of the local derby, with a slow start setting the standard for a tough and at times scrappy game that was a rematch of last year’s finale.
Both sides were playing a similar style of football, going quickly up the middle and attempting to get long balls in, making for some end to end football.
Great defensive displays from both teams were nullifying any attacking play, with OVA getting the first few shots at goal, keeper Troy Osborne having to make a couple of good saves in the first half.
Despite Chris Soto doing a mountain of work in the middle for FC, the Mushies looked to be on top, creating more chances than the opposition but unable to capitalise on the extra possession.
Just before the 40-minute mark, Mathew Gardner hit a ball from way outside the box near the sideline that never looked like missing and sailed past keeper Sam Coates.
FC dropped a player back and began the second half with a defensive midfield, frustrating OVA who were struggling to penetrate.
Once again, OVA started to look dominant and had the majority of attacking ball but man of the match Damien Puyenbroek was marshalling the FC defence perfectly and the Mushies were unable to trouble the scorer despite a relentless attack in the final 15 minutes.
The end of the game was marred by a Brett May dive which attracted a yellow card, with Mushies’ Luke Purcell being red-carded from the same incident.
FC coach Wayne May said it wasn’t pretty football but praised his back four for the win.
“Nothing got past them,” May said.
“They threw everything at us in the end but we controlled them pretty well.”
“It was a lesson in defence.
“When the club started five years ago we never would have thought we could win two in a row this early – it is a great beginning.”
Mushies coach Lachlan Browne was disappointed with the loss but also gave credit to his defenders who kept FC out of the area all game as well.
“We created opportunities but just couldn’t finish any of them – we were a bit goal-shy,” Browne said.
“They have been the form team all season and they proved that today.”