A goal in each half allowed Port United to perform the perfect ambush that saw them spoil Port Saints’ Coastal Premier League premiership party at Findlay Park on Saturday.
United duo Matt Broderick and Ethan Perry each found the back of the net in the 2-0 win which ensured the inaugural CPL premiers plate headed north to Coffs City United after they defeated Northern Storm 3-1.
A win for Saints – which would have been their seventh from nine starts – would have been enough for them to lift the premiership trophy.
Instead, they maintained a record that saw them win every match they scored in.
Port United coach Nathan Wade was pleased his side offered one of their more complete performances of the year despite playing more than 40 minutes with 10 men.
“We went into the match feeling like it meant something to us,” he said.
“We had to, otherwise we would have got flogged so we had to pump the boys up and say it was a bit of a grand final.”
Broderick gave United a well-deserved first-half lead from the penalty spot before he was given his marching orders early in the second stanza for a second bookable offence.
Wade said his side had become well-equipped to playing a man short after doing so for 70 minutes with 10 men in last week’s 2-2 draw with Boambee.
“It was probably our best performance for the year, but I knew at some point during the season that we’d play really well,” he said.
“To outplay the team away from home that was leading the competition was really pleasing.”
Saints coach Darrell Pascoe was left to lament a piece of silverware that had slipped through their fingers, citing a “perfect storm of events” had contributed to the loss.
“If you’ve got a final coming up, you have all week to prepare mentally and we didn’t get that chance,” he said.
“Up until Tuesday night we were playing Boambee midweek and we planned for that and were ready for that.
“Then all of a sudden we’re playing in a local derby for the championship with no time to adjust and no time to reset training.”
Pascoe conceded his side was overawed by the occasion. “The lads probably were to an extent,” he said.
“We haven’t beaten United in a number of years so it would have been good to get that one on them in particular given it was our grand final.
“We just weren’t able to get it done on the day.”