CSU Stags ended a wait of over two decades for a Bathurst District Football first grade title when they overcame Lithgow Workmans 2-0 in atrocious conditions at Proctor Park on Sunday.
James Shaw snared two second half goals for the students in a game where accurate passing was virtually impossible and sending the ball through the air proved a more efficient means of making progress.
It was a result to savour for CSU who were denied the title by Abercrombie FC in last year’s grand final and in the season before that were knocked out by Lithgow in the preliminary final.
“It feels absolutely phenomenal to lift that burden off our shoulders. It was great and I think this will go down as one of the biggest wins this club has ever had,” CSU coach Mitch Kunnen said.
Both teams struggled to create many genuine opportunities in the opening half as CSU and Lithgow had to adjust to the boggy playing surface.
Many passes didn’t reach their intended target, as the ball was brought to halt by puddles across the pitch.
The hosts began to find the ascendancy in field position towards the end of the first half as they adjusted better to the slow surface.
It paid dividends when the teams came back from the break.
Shaw’s shot attempt from the right side of the box took a deflection on the way through and provided CSU the breakthrough they were looking for less than 10 minutes into the new half.
He then stepped up to provide goal number two just seven minutes later when his free kick surprisingly managed to bounce into the goal without any friendly assistance.
Both teams racked up plenty of yellow cards as each side continually struggled to dispossess their opponents cleanly in the terrible conditions.
CSU continued to make the going tough for Lithgow as the visitors had to survive a string of dangerous corner attempts.
One of those corners led to a header which would require a superb save from Dane Russell to keep the margin at two.
Lithgow’s second half chances were limited to a couple of long range attempts while their best opportunity came from a cross into the box inside the final 10 minutes, but no-one was on the end of it.
Kunnen said his team could be proud of what they had achieved in the abhorrent playing conditions.
“At first we were going to cancel it. The rain came down but both teams pushed with the association to play the game so we moved it to field two and I’m glad we did,” he said.
“It was nil-all at half-time and we didn’t really have a game plan. You can’t prepare for this stuff. We had to figure out how to play to the conditions. We came together at half-time to talk about that and it resulted in two goals.
“Douglas Connor through the middle was great today. I don’t know what it is but he loves these conditions. Toby [Spora] was at the back cleaning up everything and Talan [Myers] up front worked hard as well.”