OXLEY Vale Attunga didn’t have a lot to play for in Saturday’s derby against North Companions.
Or so one might think.
But not only did the Mushies want to build some winning form before the finals and strike a blow against a local rival, they also helped settle the NIF southern conference top four.
The 3-1 result killed of Northies’ finals hopes and ensured Tamworth FC, OVA, Moree and Gunnedah will make up the top four.
“It wasn’t a bad result,” OVA captain-coach Sam Higgins said.
“We’re trying to get ourselves in good shape and we didn’t want to do them any favours and roll over and let them in the finals.
“I think we were very controlled and we’re starting to play the way we need to.”
OVA has known for a couple of weeks that it was probably going to run second to Tamworth and has just been concentrating on the things it wants to get right before the playoffs.
After a 4-nil win over Narrabri, Saturday’s game was another chance to do that.
“It was a step up today,” Higgins said.
“I wanted to play like we did last week against better opposition and I think we did that pretty well.
“There’s a bit of feeling there so it’s good to win this one.”
Mitchell Cone bagged a double for the Mushies while Chris Fenton also got on the score sheet.
There were more opportunities but three goals was enough in the end.
“We were pretty comfortable,” Higgins said.
“We had a lot of chances and probably should have scored about 10.
“Then when they get one off their only chance you think this might not be our day.
“But we were rarely
OVA has one more game, against Gunnedah United, before facing northern conference minor premiers North Armidale in the first week of the finals.
The Redmen are runaway leaders in the conference while positions two to four are still up in the air, with Demon Knights and South Armidale competing for second and East Armidale and Joeys FC vying for fourth.