"It was heartbreaking."
Those are the words used by Kempsey Saints coach Kevin Sinclair to describe the feeling after his side drew 1-all with the then second-placed Wallis Lake on Saturday.
The Saints had a perfect start to the contest as they gained the advantage through a superb volley from Jarrod Witheridge inside five minutes.
But disaster struck only five minutes later.
Griffin Ryan, who Sinclair hailed as "solid as a rock" and "oustanding" this season, attempted a cover tackle but brought down the Wallis Lake striker when he was in a scoring position.
The referee opted to show Ryan a red card and Saints were forced to defend for the next 80-minutes with 10-men.
"We had started so well and had a lot of intensity but losing a man obviously put us on the back foot," Sinclair said.
Kempsey dropped back to sit behind the ball and were restricted to opportunities on the counter attack.
The Saints absorbed Wallis' attacks and almost doubled their advantage before the break.
Witheridge sent another volley over the bar and Harry James was unable to find the mark.
Still holding onto the advantage at the break, Sinclair had hopes of his side pulling off a miracle, which would have put them in the driver's seat for a finals berth.
However, Saints' backs eventually broke with 15-minutes remaining when Wallis found an equaliser.
"We had been scrambling in defence and doing a good job of holding them out," Sinclair said.
"Jacob had made a dozen or so great saves but the shot gave him no chance."
Saints were gifted more hope when a Wallis player received his second yellow with six minutes remaining and the ledgers were squared once more.
Kempsey began to have the better of the attack but unfortunately they couldn't find a winner.
The result drops Saints to sixth place on the ladder as the Camden Haven Redbacks, who had a bye, move into fifth spot.
Saints are now hoping for a miracle as they need the Redbacks to either draw or lose to Wauchope, who haven't earned a point all season, in the final round to clinch a finals spot.
"Realistically, we believe our season is over," Sinclair said.
"We are relying on Camden Haven to drop points at home and that doesn't happen very often and we need a miracle from the Wauchope side."
The Saints have a bye for the final round and have potentially played their final game of the season.
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