The Coffs City United Lions and Broadmeadow Magic have played off in a memorable evening for North Coast Football during the latest round of the Australia Cup.
The Coastal Premier League leaders faced a considerable challenge in a Magic team currently sitting second on the ladder in the Northern NSW NPL competition.
The Magic would make the Lions disappear from this year’s knockout competition with a 3-1 victory, but didn’t have it all their own way as the Lions defence stood firm on a number of occasions.
Forsyth Park was buzzing especially with the constant cheering from the Lions fans in their new stands, as Coffs Harbour hosted one of its most important football games in recent memory.
The Magic took the lead in the early minutes, with the home side under constant threat for much of the first half.
The Australia Cup tie saw a lot of goal line scrambling from the Lions, as they defended grimly and desperately to try to keep the Magic out.
The Magic showed their class throughout the match with their speed troubling the Lions out wide which created a number of scoring chances.
The Lions almost equalised against the run of play, as a one on one with the keeper resulted in the ball going over the cross bar.
The weight of possession finally paid off for the Magic in the second half, as the visitors got their second from a tap in after a Lions save.
The Magic were in again shortly after with a volley making it 3-0 and putting the match to bed.
Lions’ striker Martin Kelleher continued his rich vein of form scoring a consolation goal on the counter attack with a clinical finish.
Lions coach Glen Williams lamented his sides mistakes and missed chances which ultimately cost them progression in the Cup.
“I thought we made a couple of rookie errors, and against a team like that you get punished,” he said.
“My message to the guys before the game was you’re only going to get about 5 or 6 chances, and you have to make them count.
“I didn’t think we took our chances which cost us.”
His sides efforts to try to claw their way back into the match impressed the Lions coach.
“Our guys can be proud as we kept trying to win the game, and our attack kept going even when we were down 3-0,” he said.
“We kept trying to press and we didn’t change our style of play.
“Our back four was really solid, and we matched them for intensity.”