After Tamworth FC had sewn up an Northern Inland Premier League premiership without losing a game on Saturday, coach Greg Bartlett found it hard to describe his feelings.
While he said it was ‘special’ he also noted it ‘probably’ hadn’t sunk in yet.
One thing Bartlett did make a point of doing was ‘thanking’ the likes of Mark Gwynne and Joe Campbell – in response to comments made about Tamworth FC prior to the grand final – for the extra motivation.
‘If we’re not the best team in the competition now, I don’t know who is,” Bartlett said.
Tamworth FC top goalscorer Kurt Barrow made his mark just 14 minutes in against Demon Knights.
Barrow had possession in an attacking area but was being closely tagged.
The striker gave himself room with a nice turn before taking a shot which curled into the right side of the goal.
Another huge moment came just minutes later when Jackson Haussler was given a red card for swearing.
Down a player, Bartlett’s message to his troops was simple.
“’Can’t stop playing. Gotta keep pushing forward’ and they all dug deep as you saw,” Bartlett said.
The game evened out and neither side was able to find the back of the net for the rest of the half.
Both teams had a good chance each in the first 10 minutes of the second half but neither were able to capitalise.
By the 63rd minute, it was 10 against 10 when Sam Constance received his second yellow card following a challenge on Barrow.
It took just five minutes for FC to capitalise.
A clearance from Tamworth FC’s defence perfectly found Josh Bartlett who raced upfield then shot from outside the 18-yard-box to score.
While DK rallied it was FC who again got on the scoreboard through a Barrow penalty goal.
The penalty goals evened themselves out in the 89th minute when Demon Knights got on the scoreboard as Geoff Donnan sent home the chance to make it 3-1.
While Bartlett said Tamworth FC “dominated” in the grand final, he said DK made it tough.
“They had patches where they pressured us but I couldn't be more proud of the guys we had on the park today. I knew it’d be difficult and it’s a hard thing we’ve done going through undefeated all year and I thought today would be the hardest and as it turned out, it was,” he said.
Bartlett added: “They [DK] haven't lost any followers with what they did, they were good and they've been good all year.”
In his post-match speech, DK coach Evan Quaife said there was “a bit of disappointment” after the match.
He also said it was a good achievement to have both grades in the grand finals while Tamworth FC were “too good for us on the day”.
“FC’s just a tough opponent, they’re hard and uncompromising,” Quaife said.
“To have two teams make the grand final is a good achievement. Winning the grand finals another step away.”
Quaife also said congratulated FC on their win and also his own players on their season.
“Thanks to my blokes. You played really well today, gave it your all. We just weren't good enough on the day.”
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