ALL THE WAY: Alstonville flanker Josh Cole (black and red strip) kicked the winning goal against Bangalow earlier this week. The win means Alstonville will play in the FNC premier league finals for the first time.
ALL THE WAY: Alstonville flanker Josh Cole (black and red strip) kicked the winning goal against Bangalow earlier this week. The win means Alstonville will play in the FNC premier league finals for the first time. The Northern Star

No matter the outcome of soccer final, Villa's already won

ALSTONVILLE has ended years of frustration and heartache after achieving their holy grail of reaching the semi-finals of Far North Coast premier league soccer for the first time.

For the last four years in a row Villa has fallen one place short of the top five, but their 3-2 away win over Bangalow on Tuesday night has erased the pain of the past and opened a new chapter for the growing club.

Bangalow was also playing for a semi-final berth in the high-pressure encounter, which started with a flurry of goals.

The Bluedogs' Reece Bramley scored in the opening minutes, only to see Villa respond virtually from the ensuing kick off with a goal from Phil Francis.

Rick Hanna slotted a second goal for Villa after just nine minutes to hand them the lead, before the game started to settle down.

Villa held their lead until the break, but soon after conceded what could have been a costly penalty.

Bangalow player-coach Joel Rudgley stepped up to the spot, only to be denied by a brilliant diving save from young Villa 'keeper Michael Blackler.

But the Bluedogs' determination to get back into the game was rewarded, with a breakaway goal from Aryan Feresch locking up the scores.

With history beckoning, it was Villa flanker Josh Cole who emerged as their hero, cutting in from the left flank to hit a curling far post shot that bounced off the woodwork and into the net for the winner.

"It's a monumental win for the players, our supporters and the whole club," said delighted Villa coach Mark Ambler.

"Every single player fulfilled their role and we could have won by a greater margin if not for an outstanding game from their 'keeper Josh Tidswell".

Villa's next aim is to create another slice of history by wining their first semi, which will be against one of the big three Lismore clubs, either Workers, Thistles or Richmond Rovers.



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