It took two goals in the space of 25 minutes from German striker Cedric Blödorn to spark Kempsey Saints into action before they ran riot in the second 45 minutes of their opening Coastal Premier League clash of 2021 on Saturday.
Sawtell had arguably the better of the opening 20 minutes before Blödorn took matters into his own hands, beat a couple of defenders and opened the scoring.
He added a second before halftime before Dylan Whalen, Nick Wright, Jesse Kerfoot and captain-coach Evan Clarke all added second-half strikes in Saints’ 6-0 win.
Clarke said Blödorn’s individual effort was enough to allow his side to play a style of football they had trained all pre-season for.
“It was almost like we relaxed (after the first goal) and then started playing how we knew we could play,” he said.
“In the second half Sawtell had a few chances including one where we had a goal-line clearance, but for the most part I thought we were in control of the game.
“It would have been easy to put the feet up at three or four-nil, but the boys kept applying pressure and trying to keep playing football which was good.”
Understandably, the captain-coach was thrilled at achieving a clean sheet in their first CPL match for the season.
“We wanted to shore up our defence and were able to do that in our first game which is never easy because you’re always a bit nervous,” Clarke said.
“It’s fair to say for the first 20 minutes of the game on Saturday we struggled to find our feet, but once we got the ball rolling we put the pressure on and started to get rewarded for our efforts.”
Sawtell coach Joe Skrtic admitted his team had their chances, but couldn’t convert them when they arose.
“They took their chances; it seemed like every time they took a shot at goal they put the ball in the back of the net,” he said
“They played with intensity and seemed a lot hungrier than our boys, but we created some good opportunities and just couldn’t find the back of the net.
“Some mistakes at the back didn’t help us and we needed to show a bit more intensity, but there’s still plenty of improvement in us and we’ll learn from these games.”
In other matches, Port United continued their dominant record over Port Saints with a 2-0 win in the Port Macquarie derby. It is now four years since Saints have registered a victory over their cross-town rivals.
Boambee were pushed all the way before registering a 2-1 victory over Coffs Coast while Northern Storm was too good for Taree in a 5-1 win.
Coffs City United continued their strong start to the season with a comprehensive 4-1 win at home over Macleay Valley.