Chris Brown and Scott McGinley were at Valentine when the club were relegated after 2013, and they stuck with Phoenix through two seasons of second-tier football.
On Saturday, they scored as Valentine came from a goal down to beat Northern NSW National Premier League leaders Lambton Jaffas 2-1 and move a point behind them in second after 15 rounds.
The Jaffas went ahead in the 25thminute when Ryan Griffiths smashed home a penalty after Wilson Edwards deflected the ball into himself for a handball.
Valentine levelled in the 65thminute when Brown showed great skill to score with a volleyed, left-foot shot across his body off a Matt Paul corner. McGinley was then the hero in the 86thminute after Jalon Brown and Paul set him up for the winning strike.
Phoenix coach Darren Sills was extremely proud of his side’s determination after they conceded the unlucky goal and he was thrilled to see Brown and McGinley score.
“They were here when the club was in the state league and they toiled away in the second division, so this is important to them and you could see how much it meant to them, they were so happy,” Sills said.
Sills hoped the win was the kick Valentine needed to their premiership campaign after the 3-1 loss to Broadmeadow last week.
“This win still gives us a sniff of the minor premiership,” he said.“It would be a fairytale story for us and we’d love to do it.”
In the other game on Saturday,Charlestown beat the Newcastle Jets Youth 4-0 at Lisle Carr Oval.
Charlestown opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Josh Maguire and Daniel Bartlett combined to give Rene Ferguson space close to goal. Ferguson then sliced a shot between two defenders to score.
The Blues went up 2-0 in the 31stminute when Joel Steward ran onto a long ball and caught Jets Youth keeper Tristan Esquliant off his line with a lobbed shot from the corner of the 18-yard box.
Ferguson made it 3-0 in the 58thminute when he made the most of a failed clearance from Esquilant.
Maguire added the fourth in the 77thminute with his left footwhen unmarked at the far post.
On Sunday, Maitland are awayto Hamilton, Lake Macquarie host Broadmeadow and Adamstown travel to Weston.