THE Singleton Strikers are just one win away from the New FM Northern League One decider after accounting for Kahibah FC 1-0 at Howe Park on Saturday.
The hard-fought victory, thanks to a Jake Barner goal, now pits the local first grade squad - Corey Cleaver, Jordan Phelan, Jackson Skinner, Brad Cox, Ben Henry, Lachlan Nicol, Jackson Cox, Joel Barner, Hayden Nicol, Jake Barner, Joseph Civello, Bowen Bagnall, Tristian Muir, Dylan Bentley, Jack Clare, Marcus Morris, Ethan Garrington and Jackson Bartlett - against minor premiers New Lambton FC in next weekend's grand final qualifier.
Success there would ensure a shot at the 2020 title.
"I must admit, I was a nervous wreck [watching that]," thrilled coach Brendan Slade said.
"Kahibah is a tough side, so I knew it would be close.
"Even though we won plenty of ball, we tended to rush our passes.
"That's something we'll work on at training.
"At half-time, I told the boys to try and maintain possession.
"And, I think they did that quite well.
"We dominated the second period.
"Everyone's work-rate was high, especially in this heat, which was very pleasing.
"It was a tradesman-like effort.
"Hopefully, that [determination] will pay off in the coming weeks, too."
Kahibah had the first serious strike at goal, however the ball just sailed over the posts.
The Strikers then lifted their intensity and launched a number of attacking raids.
Muir blasted a shot, which was saved, while a few other chances went astray.
Lachlan Nicol and Henry also caused many headaches during the opening 45 minutes.
Despite that, the combatants went into the long break locked at 0-all.
The tide then turned in the hosts' favour.
Singleton started the second half with all guns blazing.
The forwards and mid-field continually peppered the Kahibah goalkeeper.
But, it wasn't until the 70th minute that Barner broke the deadlock.
The vocal home crowd erupted - and spurred the Strikers into more high-quality action.
Unfortunately, Morris was sent off in the dying stages after receiving his second yellow card.
The team, down to 10 men, had to endure a couple of anxious moments at the end, however Singleton held on to the delight of all in attendance.
The elimination showdown between Belmont Swansea United and Cooks Hill United FC will take place on Sunday, with the loser bowing out of the premiership race.
SINGLETON STRIKERS 1 (Jake Barner 70th minute) defeated KAHIBAH FC 0