AFTER four rounds of the C.ex Group Men’s Premier League season the Northern Storm were languishing at the bottom of the table without a point. This week they’re preparing to play in a semi final.
The Storm finalised their rags to riches tale with a convincing 3-0 win over the Coffs Coast Tigers in the final round of the regular season on Sunday.
Marty Skinner scored twice for the Storm in the first half to set the Korora team on its way to finals action.
The second was the result of a combination of loose marking by the Tigers defence after committing a foul and a cracking shot from 15 metres by Skinner in the right corner of the ‘keepers area.
While Joel Guy produced a strong performance at centre back for the Tigers, his efforts still weren’t enough to stop the Storm extending their lead in the second half through Jamie Kennedy.
With the season moving into the serious stage, Storm coach Jade Porter didn’t want to spend too much time reflecting on the amazing fightback his team has produced through the second half of the season.
“It’s now about looking forward,” Porter said.
“Coming from last to where we are now, we get to have a free throw at the dartboard but I’m so proud of the boys.”
If Maclean was going to sneak into fourth position at the last moment it not only needed the Tigers to beat the Storm but also had to overcome Coffs United themselves.
The Bobcats tried hard to hold up their end of the deal but fell just short.
Maclean opened the scoring through Sean Potter but that advantaged was wiped out when Lions’ captain Scott Goddard converted from the penalty spot to make it 1-1 at half time.
Gum Mayak gave the Lions the lead early in the second half but rather than drop their heads Maclean upped its intensity.
The Bobcats were rewarded with an equaliser through Jarrod Doyle to give them more than a sniff of victory.
Coffs United coach Glen Williams said after the contest that Maclean “didn’t play to where they are on the table” and was relieved when Mayak scored a second goal in the 80th minute to give the Lions the three points.
Williams said his team didn’t play to their best but said if they do the Lions will be able to give the finals series a serious shake.
“We’re still fitting into a new structure but we’ve just got to finish off our chances,” he said.
“We create chances like we did a couple of weeks ago against Boambee but we’re just not finishing them.”
Due to heavy rainfall in Grafton over the weekend the clash between the Westlawn Tigers and the undefeated Boambee was washed out.
Urunga faces the Storm in this weekend’s do or die semi and warmed up for the clash with an easy 12-0 win over Grafton United.
For the second week in a row all of the Grafton players were backing up from reserve grade. Despite finishing the match with only eight men on the field United played out the full 90 minutes.
Raiders’ coach Craig Simpson said the main benefit from the contest was the relief some of his players earned when they got on the scoresheet to avoid some post-season ‘embarrassment’.
Cale Simmonds scored four times for the Raiders while Jai Waddick bagged a hat-trick. Others to score at the Cabbage Patch were Paul Pomroy, Harlen Dew, Josh McGovern, Tim Rupprecht and Joe Seorgle.