A LOCAL derby, seven goals in 90-odd minutes - it earned the moniker of the beautiful game, as Nambucca Strikers and Macksville Stingers squared up at Coronation Park this afternoon before an appreciative crowd.
This eagerly awaited North Coast Football men's 3rd division fixture wasn't quite Dom Perignon, but it wasn't warm VB either - as too willing outfits turned it on at park footy.
There were key match-ups across the pitch, and none more interesting than the two pocket tricksters, in Macksville's Quinton Threadgate and Nambucca's Oliver Walsh. Both can single-handedly turn a match with enthusiasm, mongrel determination and a Hong Kong bag of wizardry - and they brought that and more to the contest.
No one was quite sure how this game might play out given Nambucca have been solid in the division, while the Stingers were dropping back today from the 2nds.
The opening exchanges and the honours in the first half were mostly shared, though the hosts went to the break two to the good.
When Nambucca had a chance it was not frittered - 14 minutes in, Romy Hewson chipped a beautiful ball which curled and dropped snugly into the top left corner.
Macksville's best chance came in the 27th minute when general Paul Coulter pumped from range, and the deflection in the defence stretched Nambucca stopper Corey Forbes.
The Strikers made it two-nil when a stunning cross whipped from the right saw Blake Ryan taken out and the resultant dottie was clinically slotted home by the cagey Clay Urquhart.
Even the bearded committee of knowledge at the card table on the far side of halfway was impressed by the standard, though bantered: "Maybe we should be playing here, we're still younger than most of these blokes".
The Strikers put their foot down on the resumption, as less than four minutes in Oliver Walsh went on a mazy, baffling and enchanting weave, which saw Luke Matthews score the first of a brace.
At 4-nil, the result was determined, but the scoring continued apace like a battered Bruce Willis in Die Hard.
On the 25th minute, Macksville talisman Brodie Bartlett launched an exocet to score, and even though Corey got his body to it he could well have wound up in the Skate Park behind the strings.
10 minutes later Clay also collected a double, when he deceived with bend and power from a penalty, while Brodie capitalised on a rare mistake at the back to set the final scoreline of 5-2 to the Strikers.
Enjoy the gallery.