'Unbelievable' win for South Lismore in soccer grand final
SOUTH Lismore broke a 26-year premiership drought with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Byron Bay in the Far North Coast premier division soccer grand final on Saturday night.
Midfielder Noah Coleman scored consecutive goals deep in the second half and was awarded the Terry Greedy Medal as player of the match at Crozier Field, Lismore.
It has been a big effort from the Celtics, who returned to premier division only last year after a 15-year hiatus.
"This is phenomenal, these boys just don't know how to lose," South Lismore coach Cameron Hyde said.
"We would have been 500-1 (odds) at the start of the season and I think only one of our guys was even born the last time South Lismore won a premier division grand final.
"Byron were all over us in the first half and at half-time our front three were singled out for not being good enough.
"Second half they were superb. Bob Mullenberg, Connor Whitehall, Trevor Vail and Bodhi Estreich - I can't speak highly enough of them.
"Noah Coleman scores two goals in a grand final - he couldn't even make prems at Rovers two years ago.
"These boys should really live it up."
Byron Bay had chances in the first half and it was only with about 17 minutes to go that Coleman found the net for his first goal.
He followed up with a second just minutes later from a free kick with a strike that just sneaked past Byron goalkeeper Pierce Essery.
Golden Boot winner Lisandro Luaces kept the Rams in it when he slotted a penalty then the desperate Celtics repelled multiple attacking raids in the last 10 minutes.
Coleman, 22, was ecstatic to receive player of the match honours as a large contingent of South Lismore supporters stayed around to celebrate.
"The first goal was awesome but I knew we still had a fair bit of work to do," Coleman said.
"I never usually hit the ball like that from a free kick; I just remember Cameron telling me to back myself so I just thought I'd hit it as hard and low as I could.
"It's unbelievable for South Lismore to go through turmoil and hard times just to come back how it has. I love the club to bits.
"I couldn't have dreamt that it would finish like that."