THEY made hard work of it but Rowville Eagles finally clinched the FFV provisional league 3 title on the final day of the season on Saturday.
The Eagles had to beat Old Trinity to assure themselves the title as second-placed Old Brighton was playing bottom side White Star Dandenong.
In the end both matches finished with 3-2 wins, giving the Eagles the title and promotion to provisional league 2 in 2013. Two goals to Onur Tufan and one to Paul Maghiar was enough for the Eagles to win.
Veteran holding midfielder Svetozar Radu said the result was met with relief and jubilation by the Eagles, who were on the verge of claiming the title three weeks ago before coach Alex Halikias left the club after a dispute with club officials.
Radu said he was proud to see the Eagles rise back to provisional 2 after falling from the league a few years ago. "It was a bit of relief; we made it hard for ourselves," he said. "It came down to the last day of the season but we deserved it in the end."
After taking a 3-1 lead with about 30 minutes remaining in the match, the Eagles looked home but a mix-up at the back with 20 minutes left allowed Trinity to get back to within a goal at 3-2.
But they would get no closer and while the Eagles couldn't score a fourth goal to seal the result they managed to reach the final whistle ahead. "We went pretty crazy after the final whistle," Radu admitted. "Everyone was delighted and singing."
Radu said he was confident that if the Eagles kept the same side for next year they could play well in provisional 2.
"I've been around for quite a while and been up there before," he said. "We can match them, we could have played a lot higher this year due to the quality in our squad. Hopefully. everyone sticks around. We have been up there before and then gone back down."
Radu said the win was a credit to the Eagles coaching staff who led the side in the final matches of the season and also departed coach Halikias.
The Eagles also thanked Knox Council and Cr Darren Pearce for their support.
In FFV state league 3 south-east, Knox City drew 1-1 with Nunawading City and finished on the bottom of the ladder.