A MICHAEL McCulloch strike in golden goal extra time ensured Port United would live to fight another day in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League on Saturday.
United beat Kempsey Saints 2-1 at Dixie Park, thanks to McCulloch's goal and a great drive from Josh Casey.
Casey was well beyond the area in the first half when he struck the ball beautifully, giving the Saints keeper no chance. Saints scored from a free kick on the edge of United's box in the second half. Keeper Brock Longworth made a great initial save, diving low, but Saints struck from the rebound as Longworth couldn't hold onto the ball.
It was virtually the only opportunity Saints had to find the goal, and United coach Chris Walsh said that was down to the form of his defenders.
Damien Cross had another good game after being called up from reserves, while Brad Spokes was also solid.
"Brad had a great game again," Walsh said.
The match was a typically tight finals affair. McCulloch netted the winner in a congested Saints box.
United's win sets up a local derby with Port Saints in the minor semi final this weekend at Findlay Park.
Walsh said Saints would be tough opposition, but his team would be full of confidence after eight matches without a loss in the competition.
"They're coming off a loss," he said of Saints.
"Hopefully that plays in our favour."
Brendan Prince will slot into right back for the match. He's back from an overseas trip.
Walsh hoped Prince hadn't eaten too many hot dogs in the United States.
"We'll run then off him," he said.
Lucas Heagney is in some doubt, with a toe injury.
United's reserve graders will take on Forster Tuncurry Tigers this weekend. United went down to Kempsey Saints 2-1 on Saturday.
There were three penalties in that match.
The Green Bloods and Wallis Lake are the only remaining sides with first and reserve grade teams in action.