THE MACKSVILLE Stingers suffered just their second defeat of the North Coast Football men's 2nd division season - as Orara Valley Dingoes announced themselves as title contenders.
The table-topping Stingers knew this game would be a tough 'un against the third placed visitors at North Macksville - particularly after Orara's top team withdrew from the league, strengthening the lower graded outfits.
The early exchanges underlined the contest, as Orara frittered a double chance from close range on an unprotected goal.
But the red line mostly held, and on the 14-minute mark a hand ball saw goal machine Brodie Bartlett step to the spot but it was a costly no-go.
Five minutes later after some controlled possession play, Orara opened the scoring to go one to the good.
Macksville pressed, ran the subs - including the talented Quinton Threadgate who made an immediate impact - and just before halftime, captain Paul Coulter drew the keeper and chipped back across goal only to see it just stay wide of the far holy ghost.
In the unusual position of trailing, the Stingers had their venom pumping on the resumption, and 10 minutes into the second half Connor Ford put on a beautiful cross which Gazelle couldn't quite meet.
The momentum had swung to the hosts, but three minutes later and against the run, the Macksville D failed to shut down a counter and bang, 2-nil.
Orara gained confidence from the score, and played freely from then on as the Stingers tried everything.
The reds finally got on the board late in the piece when a clumsy tackle saw Captain Coulter nail a dottie to set up the final scoreline of 2-1.
Best on park for Macksville: Paul Coulter, Romy Hewson and Quinton Threadgate.