By Thomas Campbell
Urunga Raiders V Boambee FC Semi Final 2
The job was ahead for the Raiders last weekend versus the Boambee Bombers. They’d been dusted 2-1 in the first semi at the ‘Drome and now at home on the Cabbage Patch they would need a win of an even greater magnitude if they were to progress to the big stage.
The Raiders looked good early on: Ben Dooley and the turtle running the show just like a corner shop, Fabrice Wamara a handful at the top so no surprise after Dooley was in the right position to volley in Asama Radford’s cross for a 1-0 lead. It took perfect timing, intense pressure and planets to align for Dooley to steer the ball into the net and what needed to be done seemed a lot more certain 19 minutes in. The Bombers, however, were not there to make up the numbers. On a through ball Blake Herdegen slipped in-between Raider defenders, the ball bouncing off his knee goal-ward and just sitting up like a meerkat, Herdegen put his right foot through the ball. Lee Kennedy blocked the shot which rebounded to Christian Penny (rumour had it that he’d run the entire distance from Boambee to the Patch for a proper warm up!) He ran onto this ball as well and slapped it into an unguarded net for 1-1. The strike ignited the Bombers as goals do. They chased with belief and contested with passion, the Raiders responded and the match at this stage was an absorbing contest indeed. For mine the coup de grace was delivered 5 minutes before halftime. A free kick awarded 8m inside the Raiders half and the Bombers getting ready to bomb, the kick sailing toward the near post as the players converged. Lee Kennedy had a checkered run to block the kick and in it went. Christian Moye the deliverer and the goal had the sides in the sheds with Boambee 2-1 up. At this point the Raiders would require 4 more goals to win (away goals are worth two – it’s a bit mathematical) and keep the Bombers scoreless in this home and away format and that’s a real mountain to climb in one half of football.
The Raiders toiled and put the blowtorch to the Bombers backline but the defence of Boambee led by Sam Crampton and Matt Ryan congealed into a tight unit. The bad boy Brady Parker put the issue beyond doubt about midway through the half sliding in on the far post and thumping one past a diving Kennedy for 3-1. Urunga able to hit back in the dying moments via Kale Hopper to give a final 3-2 score line, the Raiders now left to reflect on another solid season.
In other results and news, the Raiders Reserve Grade went down 2-0 to Northern Storm who will progress to the grand final. The Women’s First Grade also went down to Boambee 2-0. On a brighter note awards were collected at the North Coast Football’s annual presentation night held that evening at Coffs CEX. The first going to Gaia Malcisi for goal keeper of the year and the second to Trevor Martin for women’s coach of the year, high accolades indeed.
Go you Raiders!