Happy days: United hold off Rangers in five-goal thriller

Try telling Port United the 2020 season was a waste of time.

The Green Bloods ended a two-decade wait for silverware when they held on to claim the Coastal Premier League southern conference title in a 3-2 win over Macleay Valley Rangers at Optus Park.

The visitors had their fair share of nervous moments along the way before they claimed the inaugural COVID Cup in a five-goal thriller.

Eddie Castro-Wade and Ty Marchant put United two goals to the good in a scintillating opening 20-minute period where they perhaps should have had one or two more.

At times, the hosts were chasing shadows.

But to their credit, Rangers pulled one back to head to the sheds down 2-1 before United’s Josh Casey restored the visitors’ two-goal buffer with half an hour to play.

The hosts then dominated for large portions of the remainder of the game, but couldn’t find a third goal to send the game into extra-time.

“We had a couple of lapses which you can’t do against MVR,” United coach Nathan Wade said.

“They punished us with a couple of goals and got back into the game, but to our boys’ credit they kept attacking and that’s why we scored three goals.”

Castro-Wade was United’s best although he had a strong support cast with Eli Wade and Ty Marchant strong in defence.

“I thought Eddie up top was fantastic for us just the way he controlled the ball, held it up and waited for our guys to join in the attack,” Wade said.

“We went past the keeper once and didn’t finish which was a bit disappointing and there was probably one or two other goals we left out there, but three was nice.”

Wade said “I hope” the grand final monkey was now off United’s back after they had fallen at the final hurdle twice in the previous three years.

“A lot of people say this didn’t mean anything, but as we saw on Saturday it did to our guys so it’s nice to finish first in the southern conference,” he said.

“It’s been a strange season; the players still put in a full season overall even though we didn’t get one with the southern conference.”

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