Kempsey Saints overcame a brave effort from the Camden Haven Redbacks to earn their second consecutive victory.
The win keeps Saints’ finals aspirations alive with a tough schedule ahead where they will face the top three sides over the next four weeks.
Saints nearly conceded the opening goal, giving away a penalty to the Redbacks 20-minutes into the game.
However, Michael Sultana saved the dot shot to make it two in as many weeks to keep the scores level.
The save inspired the Saints’ attack and they went down the other end of the field and after a scramble in the box, Tristan Smith tapped the ball into the back of the net to break the deadlock.
Both sides exchanged missed opportunities for the remainder of the opening 45-minutes but the Redbacks levelled the scores with six minutes remaining in the opening half.
Saints coach Matt Baker was happy with the first half performance but knew his side needed to lift to earn the three competition points.
“We held possession really well in that opening half and were patient with our attack,” Baker said.
“I knew we had to be next to score otherwise the boys would drop their heads.”
Baker’s wish came 15-minutes into the second stanza through a raid down Saints’ left edge.
Left fullback Dimik Pilbeam pushed forward into the opposition box and brought the keeper off his line. He calmly slotted the ball by him to give his side the 2-1 lead.
“It was a great run from Dimik who is one of our youngest players in the side at 17,” Baker said.
“He is more of a midfielder but he has made that left back spot his own for first grade.”
The match went backwards and forwards between the two sides but the Saints iced the match through Daniel Baker with three minutes remaining.
The victory put Saints two competition points ahead of the Taree Wildcats but they were able to earn a 5-1 win over the Port Saints in a catch up game on Wednesday night to move back in front.
Saints’ reserve grade side consolidated their lead on the top of the ladder with a 4-0 victory against the Redbacks.
The side was on top during the first half but couldn’t find the breakthrough as the two teams went to the break at nil-all.
However, four changes to the Saints side saw them explode into action as Kurtis Smith bagged a double and 15-year-old Corey Crotty scored his first goal in a Premier League match.
The two Saints teams are on the road to face the Forster-Tuncurry Tigers on Saturday.