THE Stags' Champion of Champions campaign has ended with a 2-1 defeat to Castle Hill United on Sunday.
A late fight back wasn’t enough after Castle Hill went ahead within the first five minutes, and then doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half.
A goal to Nathan Bopping with 15 minutes to go, and a peppering of chances in the dying moments of the game was too little too late.
It ends a remarkable season for the Stags who can now say their under-21 squad are within the best four teams in the state. Coach David Jones couldn’t be prouder.
The state wide campaign topped off successful seasons’ for all club grades including the first grade side winning the Highlands Premier League for the first time. “They did fantastic to make it that far,” he told the Post.
“I even think the opposition were surprised by the resistance we put up. After the game the opposition coach came and said how well we did.”
Jones says the club has welcomed the messages of support from the community.
On more than one occasion someone had stopped Jones on the street to wish him and the team luck in the Champion of Champions.
They were the last non-Sydney metro team left in the competition.
“”They were pretty good and really well drilled,” U21 captain Jarrod Twaddell said.
“And even though we lost, every one was still in positive sprits after the game. We know we did well to get to where we were.
“David (Jones) told us a few statistics after the game and said it was the first time a regional under-21 side had made it that far.”
Winners Castle Hill United will now play Glenmore Park this coming Sunday.
“Even though it was pretty hot weather, something like 30 degrees, they (Castle Hill) played really well and deserved the 2-1 win,” Jones said.