The drought is over.
Singleton have been crowned NEWFM Northern League One champions after scoring a hard-fought 2-0 win over New Lambton, ending a 28-year wait for a title.
Singleton, playing in their first grand final since they won the 1992 grand final, looked unflappable in arguably the biggest game in their recent history.
New Lambton went into the match as favourites given their premiership victory a month ago. But Singleton were also confident given they won both meetings between the sides this season including a 4-0 thrashing of the Eagles in the major semi-final a fortnight ago.
The Strikers fed off the strong support that made their way to Magic Park from the Upper Hunter on Saturday as the teams were met with blustery conditions at kick-off, with the strong breeze making life difficult for both sides.
It was a fast and furious opening to the match with a number of physical challenges before Jake Barner had the best chance of the early minutes, only to blaze a difficult volley over the bar.
The game swung in the 25th minute when New Lambton’s best chance of the first half fell to Tom Siderovski, only for the left back to scuff his shot at Corey Cleaver after the ball had fallen nicely to him following a failed Singleton clearance.
And Singleton would make the Eagles pay just two minutes later when Bowen Bagnall skied a shot only for the ball to hold up in the wind.
Joel Barner showed great speed to get to the ball ahead of Josh Cox then, on the half turn, rifled the ball past the New Lambton goalkeeper into the top left corner from an improbable angle.
It was a half of few chances in the difficult conditions, with Luke Jovcevski firing wide for New Lambton as the premiers struggled to create many real openings. When they did, Cleaver looked assured in goal as the Singleton goalkeeper diffused a number of potentially dangerous situations.
Singleton captain Hayden Nicol was booked for a foul on Joel Caldwell as the Strikers took their 1-0 advantage to half-time.
Nicol looked to double Singleton’s advantage with the first real chance of the second half, only to blast his freekick over the bar from a decent position after the midfielder had been fouled.
New Lambton were then left to rue two opportunities as Riley Taylor was played in on goal, only for Cleaver to deny him from a tight angle at the near post.
Shortly after, Taylor found more joy down the right after being played through, this time picking out an outstanding cut back for substitute Chase Latimore who could only blaze his effort over.
Singleton would again make New Lambton pay almost immediately. Nicol whipped a dangerous freekick into the penalty area from the left, with Cox only able to parry the ball into Corey Nicholas as it rebounded off the defender into an open goal.
Singleton’s second goal sparked wild celebrations from the Strikers’ fans, as Singleton secured their third victory over New Lambton for the season and a historic championship.
New Lambton pushed hard for an equaliser, with Jake Barner’s incredible goalline clearance from an Eagles corner in the dying moments summing up both sides’ days.
Joel Barner was named player of the match, capping a fine season for the rapid striker.
In the other NEWFM Northern League grand finals on Saturday, Kahibah FC downed Toronto Awaba 6-5 on penalties after the under-18s decider had finished 1-1. While New Lambton beat Kahibah FC 1-0 in the reserve grade grand final.