Raiders Fall to Strong Tigers
By Tom Campbell
Warm autumnal conditions at the Raiders southern field over the weekend for Round Three of the FFA football competition, and the Raiders this time up against the Coffs Coast Tigers for a must win Westfield FFA Cup game.
This wasn’t so straight forward for the Raiders, not as cruisy as their Round One eight nil win. The Coffs Tigers bring an intensity to any match they play and under coach Jason Snell have certainly improved their football defeating Sawtell Scorpions 1-0 in their Round Two encounter; perhaps a tad fortunate to progress but fortune favours the bold and they were absolutely not on that southern field just to make up the numbers.
The Raiders this season under Paul Pomroy looked pretty good in the opening exchanges. Jaxen Heward spearing up the right side and providing some varied crosses most of which were dealt with by Tigers kepper. The early stages belonged to the Raiders dictating play with good, fast ball movement testing a resolute Tigers defence.
The first real opportunity came on 11 minutes when Heward ghosted in behind the Tigers defensive line and almost caught Tarrant off guard, Jai Waddick had cleverly redirected a pass and the Tigers defence hadn’t spotted Heward sliding in wraith-like – close but no reward.
It was the pattern for much of the match, close but no cigar, the Tigers though hanging in there not really pressing the Raiders but at 0-0 it’s anybody’s game.
The Tigers, happy to let the Raiders sit on the ball, were confident in their defensive duties, and every time they countered you got the feeling that something could happen.
It wasn’t till the 87th minute that the goals started. Calls for hand ball ignored by the referee (who had a great game) and Innocent David gathered the crumbs and put the Tigers 1 up and really looked a match winning lead.
Sadly in his ebullient celebrations David whipped off shirt and charged around the ground only to receive a second yellow card (not allowed to take off your shirt) and was summarily dismissed from the field, mmm lesson learned.
With minutes remaining the Raiders perhaps played their best attacking football of the match and were rewarded after Ben Dooley gathered Harry Gale’s cross and whacked it at Tarrant from close range.
Tarrant parried the shot which fell to Asama Radford, who stroked it in to level the scores with maybe 1 minute left.
1-1 at full time and the dreaded penalty shootout which the Tiger won 3-2, with some exceptional saves from Jake Tarrant between the sticks.
So the Coffs Tigers advance and will play the Coffs City Lions in the Leo Baumgartner Cup, at a time to be advised. They both go through to represent North Coast Football in the NNSWF Zone Quarter Finals, held in Coffs Harbour in May
This weekend the Raiders will take on the Kempsey Rangers in reserve and first grade again on the southern fields, hope to see you there. Go U Raiders!