THE dream of winning four consecutive Northern NSW titles for North Coast Football’s under-16s team was broken on Saturday when the team lost a penalty shoot-out in its semi-final.
Playing against Lambton, the NCF squad played a 1-all draw but lost 5-4 on penalties.
Coach Nathan Silvy said it was a disappointing way for the team to bow out.
“They played a great game of football at the end of the day.
“They were pretty upbeat about the way they played but just disappointed with the result in the end,” Silvy said.
In the middle of the NPL season the team was unable to play for eight weeks due to travel restrictions.
During that time the team was granted a 0-all draw each week even though they probably would’ve won all three points in those matches.
In the meantime the youngsters played against men in the Coastal Premier League and acquitted themselves well.
Silvy said not winning the title again doesn’t mean the squad didn’t have a great year.
“There were a lot of hurdles put in front of them but at the end of the day they got a lot of good experiences out of the year as well,” he said.
“They got an opportunity to play senior football in the middle of the year and that threw a new challenge at them which kids of that age probably haven’t had an opportunity to do before.
“So they’ve certainly seen what the next level is for them to try and aspire to and hopefully that’s where they’re all playing next year.”
Silvy added that the entire squad should be proud of its achievement this year on top of the three titles they won since they came together as an under-13 team in 2017.
“Being out of the competition for eight weeks and obviously still being able to be in contention for finals was a brilliant effort by the lads,” he said.
“I think if we were there all year we probably would’ve finished a little bit higher but at the end of the day we still finished in the top three and had an opportunity to be in the grand final.
“A couple of injuries towards the end of the year didn’t go our way and probably hurt us a little bit but we put in a good performance on Saturday.”
By Brad GREENSHIELDS