FOOTBALL - ILLAWARRA PREMIER LEAGUE
Bellambi confirmed their status in the Illawarra Premier League for another season and left Fernhill staring at relegation after a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Woonona on Saturday.
In a dramatic finale to their long-awaited return season in the top flight, the Rosellas scored twice in the final 15 minutes, including in the final minute, to lift themselves clear of the Foxes at the bottom of the competition.
Nathan Sutcliffe revived the visitors' hopes at Ocean Park to level the scores with 15 minutes to go before Michael Baveas secured the Rosellas's most valuable points in 2014 from the penalty spot.
Coach Greg Smart said the result was huge for the club.
"Last year we were playing to be in Premier League and this year we are fighting for survival, so this was our grand final," he said.
"The second half it was virtually all us and it was a great result."
Bellambi had fallen behind to last season's promoted outfit less than 15 minutes into the relocated clash.
Adam Di Pietro caught the Rosellas defence on the counter attack and finished with aplomb to hand Woonona a 1-0 lead.
Despite going a goal down, Bellambi never looked out of the clash but had to wait patiently for their equaliser.
It finally came deep in the second half when Baveas cut the ball across the six-yard for Sutcliffe to tuck the ball away.
The goal scorer was then brought down 10 minutes later to allow Baveas to step up from 12-yards to secure the win.
It boosted the Rosellas to 13 competition points, six clear of Fernhill who lost 5-0 to South Coast United on Sunday.
"Our goal was to finish second last and anything [better] was an achievement. We have survived now and we will rebuild for next year," Smart said.
"We were no pushover this year and were very competitive. I think a lot of teams realised that. We can only move forward now for next year. Our youth grade side are in the semi-finals, so overall all the boxes have been ticked."