WESTERN has one hand on the country championship title after the second day of the NSW under 15s boys state titles at Proctor Park yesterday saw them produce a strong 2-1 win over Riverina.
Playing against one of their two Country rivals - they face the other, Southern, this afternoon - Western had to produce some gutsy defence in the final stages of the match as their opposition threw everything at them.
Earlier a goal to Preston Parker in the first two minutes looked to have set them on the path to a comfortable victory but Riverina produced a strong comeback to level the scores 20 minutes later through Alex Egglestone.
Things were even early in the second half with Western generally dictating play around the middle of the field while Riverina persisted with a counter-attacking style that presented a handful of problems for their opponents.
On one of their forward surges, Western player Mitch Rook brought a high ball down perfectly and hit a superb volley into the top-left corner to beat the Riverina keeper and restore his team's lead.
That goal seemed to energise Western and they created several more opportunities in the ensueing 10 minutes before Riverina rallied in the dying minutes of the match.
Time ran out in the end though, giving coach Mark Comerford his second win from three matches at the tournament so far.
"It puts us in a great position now to win the Country title and that was the first goal," he said.
"We play Southern and if we can get a win there then that will clinch it.”
Comerford suggested that his team's possession game wasn't all that it could have been and that their passing needed to be more secure. In general he was pleased with the effort and application.
Western play Metro West today at midday before facing Southern at 3pm.