WINTER finally caught up with Naracoorte United at their home ground.
Although the main pitch stood up well to the damp conditions, there was standing water and mud in both the goals.
Portland's under 12s had improved out of all recognition since our last meeting so it promised to be an entertaining match.
With two on the bench, and only Tyler out of action due to sickness, United were able to field a strong team for the final game of the season.
Our forwards started well but immediately discovered that the Portland defence wasn't the "easybeats" of two months ago.
Portland also played well in the midfield, and it took United a few minutes to settle into their game.
When they all clicked, it was Michael that came up with the goods and our first goal.
Ten minutes later Portland scored to make it one-all at half time.
In the second half Naracoorte took advantage of the cross wind that was swirling across the pitch, and again it was Michael who was the beneficiary of Fletcher's cross to put United in front again.
Ciaran chipped in with a great shot that left the Portland keeper stranded to edge us further in front.
Henry, Joel and Byron made excellent contributions but right on full time it was Ciaran who scored an emphatic fourth goal to ensure the points.
Well done to everyone in the team for a really good season; let's all come back next year and build on that success.
The under 14s didn't have their best day to finish off the season, coming up against a polished and confident opposition.
Portland opened the scoring straight off the kick-off, leaving our lads totally flat-footed and stunned. This early shock galvanised the team into action, and they began to play more confidently, and as a team.
Portland kept on the pressure, and half way through the spell scored another fine goal, finishing the half with a third.
The United team started out with a renewed vigour in the second half, but again a silly mistake cost them dearly, as Portland pressed home their advantage and scored again.
This pressure was maintained and our centre seemed to have no answer while all our attempts at the front were neutralised or came to nothing.
To finish off the game Portland scored twice more to comprehensively take the points.
Well done to the visitors who taught the home side a valuable lesson in teamwork.
The under 14s just fell short of making the finals, and have unfortunately been inconsistent all year.
By heeding the advice of their coaches, and using all their collective talents they were unstoppable; only too often they let themselves down with silly basic mistakes.
We have a good core of players who should make a very good team next year if we can get a few more players.
It's not too early to start thinking about playing next year. If you are under 14 on January 1 next year then consider playing for the juniors at Naracoorte United Soccer Club.
The B grade played a gritty and physical game against a team that were much more evenly matched to their talents.
This led to some attractive soccer albeit in wet and wintry conditions.
Most of the action was in the midfield with occasional forays into the opposition's half.
After being well balanced for most of the game it was Portland that broke through and got the first goal.
This was followed shortly after by their second and that was the way the game and the season ended.
Once again Jon T, Andrew M and Dave C made excellent contributions, but it was Andrew M who was adjudged to have been the best and fairest on the day. See you all next year.
It was a disappointing end to the season, with a number of our key players missing.
A half time deficit of two goals to nil in Portland's favour ended up being a five-nil win at the final whistle.
As ever Kevin M put in 100 per cent and was the best player on the day, while Dave K and Jin were noted for their outstanding contributions all season.
Secretary Jon managed two games in one day but will now have four months to recover!
We were sorely missing Messi up front while we will be losing some key players to retirement next year.
Among those is the ever reliable Willy Hyslop who is hanging up his boots after a 25-year association with the club.
Thanks for everything Willy; remember there is always a "non-playing" coaching position available.
Thanks to everyone who has made the year's soccer so enjoyable; from our major sponsors, the Kincraig Hotel and McDonald's Naracoorte, to Laurie, Maxine, Rosa, Allan and Trevor who have kept the canteen and the line running.
It has been those behind the scenes that have kept the club running and have allowed the players to enjoy their game.
A big thank you to all the parents who have braved early mornings and driven hundreds of kilometres to deliver their charges to matches all over the SE, we couldn't have done it without you.
Finally our special thanks go to Leanne and Dale who have invested a huge amount of time in training and managing the junior teams.
This year's soccer just wouldn't have happened without the enormous effort that these two have put into the game.
From all of us at Naracoorte United - come and join us next year.