Norths United hosted Oxley Vale Attunga on Saturday in a highly-anticipated match, with both sides sitting comfortably at the top-of-the-table.
The two sides faced each other earlier on in the McDonald’s Northern Inland Premier League season in round three and split points with a 1-all draw.
It was a tight tussle in the opening 45 minutes with plenty of goal attempts falling wayward and neither side able to capitalise.
The Mushies’ Will Menz opened the scoring midway through the second term before departing Norths United captain Mitch Wilson equalised through a penalty.
Another goal later in the game to OVA put the visitors in front 2-1, a lead which they held when the final whistle sounded.
Mushies’ coach Tim Coates was impressed with his team’s ability to stick to the game plan until the points came.
“They just kept at it, that was all we had to do,” he said.
“It was always going to be a tight game, they are a good side, we will play them again many times this year.
“We enjoy playing against them.
“They are probably the benchmark of the competition as I said before the game and there are no easy games against North Armidale.”
Both teams were missing a host of players, Oxley Vale with six and the Redmen with seven, and called upon the club’s depth to fill positions on the field.
“Everyone just did their job,” Coates said.
“There were people playing where they normally [don’t].
“Guys played left fullback and up front who don’t play there normally, we had people playing out of position.
“I put the best 11 players that were available out on the field today and they did the job.”
This year has been dubbed as the tightest competition in recent seasons and Coates nominated a handful of teams he believes could feature prominently in the finals.
“The top three teams, North Companions, OVA and Norths are out there,” he said.
“Demon Knights have got some improvement in them, I think they’re a good side and they will be thereabouts at the end of the year and Tamworth FC are coming good.”