North Perth United were crowned the 2018 Belt Up Amateur Premier Division champions on Sunday after they scraped past Kingsley 1-0 at Woodville Reserve.
Oscar Kelly broke the deadlock with only five minutes remaining as Kingsley had to settle for a second-place finish for the second consecutive year
North Perth coach Alex Carter said it was “brilliant” that his side were able to wrap up their first league title since 2014 with two rounds remaining.
“It’s strange. You train and you play and you practise for eight or nine months of the year and it comes down to a game like that,” Carter said.
“It comes down to five or 10 minutes at the end when you sort of start sitting pretty deep and are just waiting for that bad roll or that bad knock.
“It was a game of very few chances. We probably had a couple of half decent chances in the first half. Second half was very little in either box.
“I think first probably 20,25 minutes we got on the ball pretty well and we definitely looked the better of the sides.
“But I said to the boys at half time they’re obviously going to have to change things up and try something different because they’ve got to push for the result. We contained ourselves and we kept our structure very well.
“We’re a club that’s basically run by players and volunteers, like most clubs are. We’ve had two or three years where there hasn’t been a trophy down here and that’s not the way I like to see it.
“I’ve got to also thank my assistant coach Kevin Flavin. He’s put in a hell of a role this year for us so credit to him as well.”
North Perth have decided not to accept promotion to State League Division Two and Saturday football. Carter added: “It’s just restrictions with the ground and things like that so we’ll stay Amateurs for the time being.”
As Carter said, it was a game of very few chances with Sean Lahert’s shot straight at Kingsley keeper Paul Rainford the best chance of the opening stages.
William Pender showed some good skill to beat his man before delivering a ball across the face of goal that only needed to be touched towards goal.
Kelly then saw his headed effort at the back post sail wide before an Edin Nalic header hit the underside of the crossbar and landed on the wrong side of goal line for the home team.
In the second half, Lahert saw another shot straight at Rainford before Jayden Drummond was played through but North Perth keeper Jamie Serra was quick off his line to nullify any danger.
Nick Lowe nearly made an immediate impact off the bench as his shot was just wide of the post.
And Lowe was involved again as he played a neat one-two with Brett Cutting who couldn’t find the target with his shot.
But just as though a goalless draw looked to be on the agenda Kelly got on the end of a great cross and finished from a tight angle, sparking wild celebrations.
Kingsley coach Steven Dimitrovich was understandably disappointed with his side’s performance but remained optimistic about ending the season on a high when they face Leeming Strikers in the Belt Up Amateur Cup Final in a few weeks.
“I thought it was very scrappy on our part. I thought North Perth played well and we just weren’t at it today,” Dimitrovich said.
“They defended well, they got bodies behind the ball and we struggled to break them down a bit. Fair play to them, congratulations, they’re top for a reason and they won the league for a reason so well done.
“We need to try and get over this disappointment somehow. We’ve still got a cup final to be in and we’ve still got a trophy to win so hopefully we can move forward and get that done.”
North Perth will hope to continue the party when they face Jaguar FC at Herb Graham Recreation Centre while Kingsley will look to build some form heading into their cup final, starting with Belmont Villa at Chichester Park.
North Perth United 1 (Kelly 85min)
Sunday, September 2
Referee: Tom Glavovic
Assistant referees: Aaron Softley
North Perth: 26. Jamie Serra, 15. Thierry Berard, 4. Patrick Montgomery, 20. Niall Murray, 2. Mickey Doherty, 8. Ago Mujic, 14. Paul Gabel, 7. Edin Nalic, 10. Oscar Kelly (11. Dan Conway 88, 18. William Pender, 9. Sean Lahert (6. Keith Mullins 90)
Substitutes not used: 5. Sam Nicol, 19. Richard Dendle, 1. Liam Reid
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Kingsley: 1. Paul Rainford, 3. Bailey Salmon, 4. Aaron Lickiss, 16. Jesse Higgins, 5. Brett Cutting, 11. Luke Armstrong (7. Stuart Montgomery 82), 13. Lee Thomas, 6. Luke Coltman (14. David Ashworth 74), 12. Josh Waldock (8. Nick Lowe 66), 9. Sean Johnson, 10. Jayden Drummond
Substitutes not used: 15. Cathal Quinn, 31. Mark Woolley (RGK)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil