OXLEY Vale Attunga Mushies won their way through a third round of the State Cup with a 1-nil win over Great Lakes United in Port Macquarie on Saturday.
A typical poaching strike from in-form striker Mitch O’Keefe was enough to earn the Mushies a crack at KO glory while the Mushies’ Premier League rivals played fourth- round matches on Saturday.
In Wee Waa the home side, United, lost 2-1 to Tamworth FC in a tough and physical game, FC’s Tim Smith scoring from the penalty spot and a free kick to overturn a 1-nil lead for the home side.
In Gunnedah, the home United side had a different result, Gunnedah United beating North Companions 5-4 after club stalwart Dale Roberts broke a 4-all deadlock just a few minutes from time.
At Moree, Narrabri Cougars were hammered 5-nil by a rampant FC who are equal top with Tamworth FC and Gunnedah United on the Southern Conference ladder.
In Northern Conference games, Inverell’s Joeys FC remained top of the conference despite a 4-1 loss to North Armidale in Armidale.
Tom McColl, David Griffiths, Chris Kelly and Brad Dunham scored for the Redmen while Trent Irwin pulled one back for the Joeys.
Dunham was also on the mark in second grade where the Redmen had a 3-nil win.
The win took North to six points, one behind Joeys.
South Armidale and Demon Knights had a nil-all draw while Guyra United had a 4-2 win over Glen Innes
The Mushies head back to the coast later in the season for more State Cup play after their 1-nil win over Great Lakes United.
Mushies coach Sam Higgins was delighted with not only the result but the performance of his side.
“It was a very good game of football, a high-quality game,” Higgins said.
“It’s a bit different to the week in-week out stuff in the PL.
“We had to lift to play and we certainly did lift.
“Our passing game was on – it was on from both teams.
“I cannot single anyone out but a few of the young blokes really stepped up.
“Cameron Skewes, Aiden Flynn and Felix Bruno all stepped up .
“They were great, better than I expected.”
In Wee Waa, the home side led 1-nil after a scoreless first half and threatened to upset Tamworth FC.
However, Smith stepped up for FC, slotting home a penalty from the spot and then hammering in a free kick from outside the box.
“It was a tough game,” Tamworth FC coach Wayne May said.
“It was a pretty physical match. They are a good side, have some quality players.”
He said Wee Waa United’s effort was hampered by having a player sent off.
“Straight red card too – he didn’t deserve it but got the straight red.
“We had to hang in there too.
“Down 1-nil, we missed a couple of easy goals and have got to learn to slot those chances away in this league.
“But all in all, the boys did very well.
“Rob Jeffery was great at the back, playing with a cracked rib.
“He did that last week but was man of the match for us – had a great game.
“Tim (Smith) was good too not because he scored both goals but because he did a lot of hard work in the middle, organised a lot.
“Caleb (Richardson) was good too and could have easily scored one or two more for us.”