Clinton hunt down gutsy win
CLINTON withstood a stern challenge from Gladstone United to take out the Football Central Queensland division four grand final.
With just minutes left, Clinton's Michael Stephen was left one-on-one with United's goal-keeper to ease the ball into the back of the net for a 2-1 score.
It was a physical and bruising encounter with no love lost between the two teams.
Clinton's Lee Hunter pounced on a corner kick after just 10 minutes to land the first blow.
"It was a hard game and really tough in the middle,” Scotsman Hunter said.
"I thought we worked really hard and defended really well.”
Hunter, who moved to the warmth of Gladstone a few years ago, acknowledged that Gladstone United were far from disgraced.
Since Hunter's first goal of the game, it was an even affair where both teams tested each other's resolve.
The dry run of no goals ended when United's Tyler Stewart made it 1-1 some 10 minutes after Hunter's goal and from that moment the game was an arm wrestle and several scuffles broke out at various stages.
Gladstone United looked the goods in the second half and Dean Brown's powerful strike narrowly missed for a 2-1 lead mid-way into the second half.
He said United had its chances in the final 30 minutes.
"I thought we controlled the ball in the second half,” a philosophical Brown said.
Despite the social nature of this division throughout the regular home-and-away season, all friendliness was put aside and it was on for real with premiership medallions on the line.
There were players sent off and some big hits, but it were the men from Clinton who held firm.
Brown said United did well despite the loss.
"It was good for us to get this far and into the final,” Brown added.
Englishman Brown moved to Gladstone 19 months ago and has just completed his second season at United.
Stewart was sent off with just minutes remaining after a fiery exchange.
But it was a game where not one player flinched at a contest or gave an inch to their direct opponent.