Our Forbes Foxes are runners up in the Lachlan Amateur Soccer Association 2023 competition after a grueling grand final loss to Parkes Raptors on the weekend.
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But the Foxes have plenty of reason to hold their heads high, and they'll be ones to watch in 2024.
The scores were locked at nil-all at half time of the final fixture at Parkes' Harrison Park on Sunday afternoon, and it wasn't until half way through the second half that the first points were recorded.
The Foxes' David Hodge said his side did have their chances in the match, but it was the hosts who scored two in pretty quick succession in the second half to gain the advantage.
Foxes refused the temptation to give in, Hodge said, knowing they could bridge the gap if given the opportunity.
They were handed one with two penalty shots late in the game, Harry Stewart able to snag the point with the second.
Unfortunately Parkes was still that one goal ahead when the full time whistle went.
"It was an overall good game: It was tough, it was pretty physical as well - there were a lot of penalties in the game," Hodge said.
The Foxes had plenty to celebrate as competition runners up and Hodge said captain Jack Janezski was delighted to have his side feature in the big dance.
It's great to see how far men's soccer in Forbes has come this year, and they're looking forward to building on that success.
"We were happy to be in the grand finals, that we made it this far through the year," Hodge said.
Winning a grand final would have been outstanding, but Hodge is happy with how far the team has come this year regardless.
"We had a great season," he said.
"The whole team played well throughout the whole year."
For the players who hadn't played a grand final before, it was inspiring, Hodge said.
"They know that this is where we need next year - we can come back to be in the same position next year," he said.
They'll take a breather now but return to the training paddock in February with a whole new level of focus.
"Once everyone's got that taste of being in the grand final come February, let's smash that out and keep going like we did this year," Hodge said.
"It was an awesome season, everyone enjoyed it."
The fans did too, with an increasing number of spectators coming down to watch as the Foxes' season gained momentum.
Hodge was delighted to have a good number of supporters for the Foxes in Parkes on Sunday - and said support for the home crowd was strong too.
Eyes on 2024, Foxes!
We wish you all the best for next year.
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