SUNDAY'S Bathurst District Football men's premier league major semi-final looked certain be heading towards extra-time before controversy struck.
With the match between Abercrombie FC and Lithgow Workmans Club at Proctor Park sitting at 1-all in the dying stages the visitors were awarded a penalty kick.
Abercrombie goalkeeper Nathan Maxwell was ruled to have contacted an opposing striker with his hands while trying to punch the ball away from his box, which allowed Daniel Stern to complete his brace and send Lithgow into the grand final.
The penalty was one of many fouls committed during a contest which was very physical from the opening minutes.
It was an unfortunate end to the match for Maxwell who up until that point had enjoyed a memorable game - saving an first half spot kick and pulling off another great save while on his back midway through the second term.
Stern had capitalised on a defensive error to score just six minutes into the game but Abercrombie were quick to hit back when Jack Press slotted home a shot to the bottom right corner.
The match then somehow went 70 minutes without a goal as both sides created their share of chances, with the 87th minute spot kick finally breaking the deadlock.
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It was a far improved performance from Abercrombie's compared to their 8-3 defeat to Lithgow just a week earlier.
Abercrombie now prepare to face minor semi-final winners Panorama FC Red in the preliminary final.
"Everyone's pretty dejected but we did put in a pretty good performance. A few decisions didn't go our way which ended up being decisive but the boys played well," Abercrombie's Josh Brown said.
"Lithgow often come out firing at the start of halves but I thought we did well to weather the storm in patches."
Workmans were indeed fired up, with Stern stealing possession and scoring early into the opening half.
Abercrombie came close to replying on several occasions and narrowly missed from a corner just two minutes after the Lithgow goal.
Press found the reply when he cut inside his defender and hit a pin point shot.
Maxwell made a strong save off a Lithgow penalty four minutes before the break to give the Bathurst men a big boost.
Jordan Fordham and Ben Sheehan each missed scoring chances close to the Abercrombie goal early in the new half and Maxwell had to pull off an amazing save to deny them the go ahead goal in the 68th minute.
Just when Abercrombie were making late inroads Stern broke their hearts.