The Weston Bears Old Boys roared their approval as the 2019 cubs proved too good for the Maitland Magpies winning the ninth El Clasicoal 2-1 on Saturday night.
Weston outran, out-muscled, out-hassled and out-finished the Magpies to establish a 2-0 lead courtesy of a blinding strike by Dutchman Jason Tjien-Thoo 15 minutes through the second half after Cooper Buswell opened the scoring at a similar time in the first.
But in typical derby fashion there was a twist. As he has so often managed before Maitland's Mr Fix It Alex Read moved forward and conjured a goal, chipping home from the edge of the six-yard box from a headed cross in the 88th minute.
It came just two minutes after Grant Brown was red-carded after disputing a yellow-card handed to him by the referee.
Down to 10 men and four minutes into over-time every Maitland player including keeper Matt Trott made their way to the penalty area for a Matt Thompson free-kick.
The ball was contested and then landed at Trott's feet. His reflex volley hit the side-post and went out of, rather than into the net, in what was the last play of the game.
Maitland coach Mick Bolch was succinct in his assessment of the game: "They were too good for us and deserved the win.
"They took their chances, defended very well and were full of running.
"We had a couple of good chances in the first half but we didn't take them. If you get one of those goals it's a different game. But we didn't and they kept playing with real intensity, caught us on the counter and got a deserved win."
Bears assistant coach Craig Stoker said it was an exciting night for all the team.
"It meant so much to the boys, they worked their butts off," he said.
"They showed it both ways, they showed what they could do on the ball and that they could dig deep in defence.
"They were sharp, we have been working very hard on that.
"To step up from where they were last year to where they are now is huge.
"There's a great feeling among them. They will fight for each other to the end, they are in for a big year."
Stoker said it was a great team effort, but the efforts of Buswell, Tjien-Fooh, Regan Lundy and Nathan Morris were particularly strong.
"Cooper's last couple of weeks have been tremendous. He is not only starting to show his potential, he is putting the hard work in as well.
"Regan Lundy is a class act both in defence and attack. Everything he does is at 100 miles an hour.
"Jason's second half work defensively was excellent. He scored a fantastic goal, but he also cut a lot of their play out. Nathan is another coach on the field."
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