Thistles? final hurdle



LISMORE Thistles' Grade 13 soccer team will contest the final of the Statewide Champion of Champions knockout tomorrow when it meets Oak Flats (Illawara) at Valentine Park in Sydney.

Thistles progressed to the final with a favourable draw, beating Lindfield 5-1 and then receiving a bye in the second round.

In the third round, they were drawn to have a home game against Nepean, but the visitors decided not to travel from Sydney and forfeited.

That forfeit advanced Thistles to the semi-finals, where they defeated Castle Hill 1-0 in a hard-fought match in Sydney.

Thistles coach Craig Kennedy said it was one of the gutsiest wins he had seen from a junior team.

"The boys were out-muscled by a bigger, physical Sydney side in that game," Kennedy said.

"But they never gave up and came through with flying colours.

"I was so proud of every one of them.

"If they can reproduce that form this weekend, we will take some beating, but we know it's a final and it's going to be tough."



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