Rydalmere Lions FC clinch NPL 2 promotion after final day drama

Lions Roar: The Rydalmere Lions clinched promotion to NPL 3 for 2018, having sat in the top two in the competition since 2015, when the State League 1 competition became NPL 3. Picture: Football NSW

Lions Roar: The Rydalmere Lions clinched promotion to NPL 3 for 2018, having sat in the top two in the competition since 2015, when the State League 1 competition became NPL 3. Picture: Football NSW

The Rydalmere Lions’ rapid rise through the Football NSW soccer ranks has continued with promotion to the National Premier Leagues NSW 2 competition.

It was a heart-stopping final day of action with Rydalmere fighting for promotion against the Balmain Tigers looking to stave of relegation.

Rydalmere coach Tony Basha said it was nervous finish to the season with the Lions finishing on equal points in the club championship with Fraser Park FC.

“You didn’t want to be the coach on the day,” he said.

“We’ve got a good environment at the club, good people and a community-based club.”

Going into the final round of the regular season, Rydalmere needed at least two wins and a draw across the grades to win the club championship and gain promotion.

The under-18s won 8-0 before the under-20s blew a 2-0 lead to draw 2-all. First grade completed a 5-0 win to take out the NPL 3 premiership.

The over the past five years, Rydalmere Lions FC has risen from the State League division two competition into a premiership winning NPL3 team.

They have finished at least second every season, including in 2015 when the State League division one competition became the NPL 3.

The side were NPL 3 champions in 2016 after missing promotion to the Hills Brumbies by just five points in the club championship and Basha said the club has built a winning culture.

“People come in and know that we’re a winning club,” he said.

“We’re winners and we win at all costs. That’s what we’ve implemented from day one.”

Moving up to NPL 2 next season, Basha, who re-signed with the club for next season despite interest from other club, said the club will look to return to Asia as they started this pre-season.

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