SOCCER: The 2017 CQ Premier League season could have produced so much more for Clinton FC had the powers that be shined a little brighter on the men in green.
It's fair to say the Grubs didn't get the rub of the green this season after they missed out on the minor premiership to Cap Coast on goal difference.
Two weeks later they were left stunned by Frenchville after letting a two-goal lead slip in the preliminary final and subsequently missed their shot at the Wesley Hall Cup for the first time since 2008.
In a case of sliding doors, had Clinton won the minor premiership and earned a home final, the season could have panned out much differently.
However, despite the disappointment of seeing Cap Coast defeat Frenchville 4-3 in the grand final and lament over what could have been, Clinton FC Derek and Dan Horton are focusing on the positives.
"As disappointed as we are that our streak of finals in a row is over, it could be a blessing to start fresh and get even hungrier for that big win,” assistant coach Dan Horton said.
"We pushed Cap Coast all the way and probably should have finished on top, we went within one goal of the minor premiership and were one retaken penalty away from winning the major semi.”
Positives: Head coach Derek Horton pointed toward a number of young guns stepping up to the CQPL level and the successful rebuilding of his side which saw changes at goalkeeper, fullback, centre midfield, winger and striker.
"Striker Liam Stephen stepping up to Premier League shows that he deserves to be there and is easily the best young talent in the competition,” Horton said.
"The form of (defender) Josh Noonan and watching him completely shut down two of the competition's leading strikers in Jarrod Lancaster (Cap Coast) and Jordan Millar (Frenchville), neither of who could score against us in the last four encounters of the season.”
Negatives: "Not beating able to feature in our 10th grand final and missing out on being able to replay a rained out game against Parkana which would have yielded 10 or more goals and the minor premiership,” Horton said.
Turning Point: "The questionable decision to retake the ninth penalty in the major semi and the injury to Liam Stephen in his junior grand final the night before the major semi,” Horton said.
Overall: "A season of under achieving created by things beyond our control,” Horton said.
"It was a great effort from our boys and we were the fittest, most physical and dangerous side in the competition.
"We had goals from all over the park, but couldn't score when we needed in the preliminary final when we dominated Frenchville and hit the bar three times in one play.”
2018 Crystal Ball: "Will be losing a couple of players but have several returning and with our reserves being by far the dominant team in their competition spots will be hotly contested.”
Leading goal scorers: Mitch Innocend (16), Matt Varnes (13), Dominic Barra (11)
Most games: Corey Marston, Josh Noonan (19)
Position: Second (W: 16, D: 0, L: 2)
Goals for: 82
Goals against: 16
Goal difference: +66
Finals: Major semi-final 1-1 v Cap Coast (lost 5-3 on penalties), Preliminary final lost 3-2 v Frenchville.