'"PURE joy".

That is Matt Armstrong's verdict after helping Lismore Thistles secure a long-awaited Football FNC men's premier division minor premiership.

The 19-year-old scored the winner as his side earned a hard-fought 1-0 win against Lennox Head Sharks on Saturday to take the crown with two games of the regular season to spare.

Although delighted with his team's efforts, the marksman has also sent out an ominous warning to Thistles' rivals ahead of the forthcoming finals series.

"I think we have about 40% improvement still left," he said.

"We haven't played well for the last two games. As a team we've lost our composure and haven't been finding feet with our passes as much.

"If we get that back together, we can go well."

It was a hard-fought contest at the Skennars Head Playing Fields, with the spirited Sharks making life tough for Thistles.

Armstrong decided the contest with a well-taken finish midway through the second half, prompting jubilant scenes among Thistles' supporters and players at the final whistle.

It has been a rollercoaster season for the Blues, who have gone through this season unbeaten to claim its first premiers' flag in 21 years.

In another bonus, the club's side is also riding high in the men's premier reserves division too.

Club players have been able to maintain their superb run despite the recent loss of much-loved men's premier division coach Paul Parmenter from cancer.

Former Goonellabah FC player Armstrong, who is enjoying his first season with the club, said scoring the winner was an emotional moment.

"It was pure joy," he said.

"Lennox Head made it tough for us. They showed they are a good team, so to get the win was unbelievable."

Securing the flag also continued a successful career in the top senior division for the striker.

"This was the one I hadn't got in the top grade," Armstrong said. "It rounds off the trophy cabinet for me.

"It was not for me (though). It was about the team and especially for Paul.

"It is not easy to lose your coach, especially in those circumstances, but I think it has helped us come together.

"We've got two hard games left and we aim to keep going."



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