WODONGA Diamonds are 90 minutes away from re-writing the record books.
An injury-depleted league and cup champions won their way into the semi-finals of the Champion of Champions with a come from behind 3-2 win in Sydney on Sunday.
The win has sent local soccer historians to the records with an Albury City side in the 1970s believed to be the only other team from the Border to get so far in the competition.
Diamonds went behind 1-0 after 20 minutes with St Mary’s physical game and sheer size dominating the contest.
But a clinical finish from Paul Brunec and a bend-it-like-Beckham free kick from Jarrod Herzina righted the ship before half-time.
In an end-to-end second half it was cup hero Nagus Henry who finished a typical Diamonds raid that delivered a two-goal buffer.
Coach Jimmy Bell said it was an amazing performance from a team cobbled together from those still available.
Missing from the squad were Jake Thompson (suspended), Tom Morrison, Brett Delphin, Jesse Marcuzzi, Mason Nhansana and Jamie Marcuzzi.
Herzina, who has headed to Europe, will miss the rest of the competition.
“We struggled in the first quarter of an hour, the pitch didn’t suit our game and they were a big side and perhaps we were a little intimidated,” Bell said.
“But after that the boys played out of their skins.
“They went back to the game plan, knocked the ball around and started to break them down.
“It was stinking hot and a real struggle for both sides but in the end we could have scored two or three more.
“Nagus Henry was on fire but if you ran down the list you wouldn’t find a weak link.”
Albury United’s under 14 girls were the only other Border team to make the semi-finals.
Diamonds and United are now looking for the Albury-Wodonga Football Association’s support to have the semi-finals played on the Border.
“Given the girls are through as well we think there should be some consideration given to us staying at home rather than travelling all the way to Sydney again,” Bell said.
Diamonds now play Lindfield in a little less than two weeks in a bid to make the grand final.