Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Thistles Lace Up to Face Hornets; Little Separates Rivals as Soccer Sides Prepare for Battle to Secure Last Place in FNC Grand Final

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

Thistles Lace Up to Face Hornets; Little Separates Rivals as Soccer Sides Prepare for Battle to Secure Last Place in FNC Grand Final

Article excerpt

Byline: MARK ROBINSON Soccer correspondent

A BERTH in the grand final against Richmond Rovers awaits either Goonellabah or Lismore Thistles when they meet in the preliminary final of Football FNC premier league soccer tomorrow.

Goonellabah has the home advantage for the 3.30pm kick-off, with both sides having plenty of motivation from recent history.

The Hornets have lost the last two grand finals to Rovers and are desperate for another crack at the reigning champions, while Thistles have not reached a decider since they last won the title a generation ago in 1992.

Twice in the last three years the Blues have reached the same stage only to fall at the last hurdle, losing preliminary finals against Rovers last year and Lennox Head in 2008.

aThe boys are well aware of the potential to create a bit of history for themselves and for the club,a Thistles coach Paul Parmenter said.

Parmenter will make just one change to the side that knocked out Lismore Workers with a classy 4-0 win in the minor semi last week, with Paul Mackney making way for the return of Jake Nind.

Nind was sent off in the Blues' 2-1 loss to Goonellabah in the first week of the semis and while he usually plays as striker, Parmenter will use him in midfield with Darren Beardow and Jason Woollett.

Brenton Parrish also comes back into the side but will start from the bench, while defender Grant Sinclair remains doubtful and will also start from the bench if available.

Matthew Parrish and Ryan Parmenter will remain in the striking roles, with Parrish in hot form after a second-half hat-trick last week.

Goonellabah will also stick with the same side despite going down 1-0 to Rovers in the major semi-final last week, but will need to find some touch in front of goals.

The Hornets have scored just three goals in their last four outings, with coach Mark Ambler saying: aWe know where we need to improve. …

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