Round 9 of the North Coast Football Men’s Premier League saw some important fixtures played to reveal five teams in contention for a top four spot as we near the midway point of the 2017 season.
The season has had many disruptions since Round One in April, though the title contenders are starting to gather momentum after a difficult start to the year. Bad weather mixed with FFA Cup reschedules has meant Coffs United Lions and Urunga Raiders have played 6 games each, and sit in 2nd and 3rd spot.
Sawtell Scorpions lead the pack on 19 points from 8 games, and kept their gap at the top with another well earned win on the weekend.
Further down the table Orara Valley sit on fourth spot but probably deserve to be higher. They’ve played some great football this season, and recently pushed Coffs United to the limit, losing 3-0 on Saturday though deserved at least one goal in an entertaining game at Orara.
Boambee Bombers are just two points behind fourth spot and keep within distance of Orara with a good win at Coffs Tigers on Saturday.
Westlawn vs Grafton United
By Wayne Reardon
A good solid start from Westlawn saw them take a 2-0 lead to half time .A further two goals to Westlawn in the second half saw them take a comfortable win despite a consolation goal for United , the final result 4-1. Goal scorers for Westlawn Tigers Dylan Lucas, Luke Shipman, Tom Westman and Harry Vidler. For Grafton United Sam Hurd.
Urunga Raiders vs Maclean Bobcats
By Tom Campbell
The Urunga Raiders could’ve dropped out of the top four of the North Coast Hotel Group Premier League last weekend had results not gone their way. Sitting in fourth position largely due to the fact they have two matches in hand (V Orara Valley this weekend and Coffs Tigers sometime ahead) it perhaps shone a larger light on this match V Maclean Bobcats.
The Cats are an improving outfit, sitting in 6th position and looking to upset Paul Pomroy’s Raiders at the Cabbage Patch.
The Raiders without several players for this one (Lockie Indian Manning, Cale Hopper, and Tim Rupprecht) feeling early heat as the Bobcats closed down most attacking forays by the home side and referee Dave Connor doing well not to throw out a few early yellow cards as the game started fast and fiery – but that would come later.
First real chance fell to the Ginger Bread Man-Jai Waddick after Ben Dooley threaded a neat ball across the Cats goal and Waddick under immediate pressure fizzed his shot wide. It all came at the end of some fast Raider work Grant Homes and Craig Turtle opening up a half chance midfield and Dooley able to capitalise on the gap.
Few other chances presented in the first 45 with both sides working hard but you could sense the stretching of an increasingly desperate Maclean defence on a number of occasions.
However at the beak it was a 0-0, the second half but a pup before the Bobcats had their best opportunity of the match a long ball not dealt with by the Raiders backs and the ensuing left side cross found Maclean’s forward who absolutely nailed his shot but Lee Kennedy leaping to his right good enough to parry the strike.
Tanjil Everrett orchestrated the first goal for Urunga, finding Josh McGovern who’d run diagonally across the Cats defenders. Everrett’s pass enticing the Bobcats keeper out, but Macca, like a dog in a butcher’s shop in these situations, took off after the ball like it was a tasty pork chop. He got their first, pushed the ball around the keeper who then collided with McGovern.
Dave Connor in position pointed to the spot as McGovern got up only to be pushed back down by an irate Cats keeper claiming Macca had dived. It wouldn’t be the first time the Mac Daddy had kissed the turf after a slight touch but not this time, the keeper had misjudged and Macca was too quick and Mr Connor changed his aim from the spot to the sheds, the Cats down to 10.
The replacement keepers first touch was to pick the ball out of the net, McGovern converting the penalty and the Raiders 1 to the good.
The final 30 minutes or so had the Bobcats battling hard but the contest over after Jake Lesie fired in a cross for Ben Dooley to slide into the Mclean net. Sustained Raider pressure now, the yellow cards flicking out of Dave Connors pocket at regular intervals and perhaps the sides thinking about a frostie back at the Ocean View Hotel.
Final score 2-0, Pomroy commenting post-match ‘that while he was pleased with the result and the efforts of an adjusted side, the finishing in the final 20 minutes needs to be more clinical’.
The Raiders face off against Coffs Coast Tigers next week in the first of two catch up games. See you there!
Orara Valley 0-3 Coffs United
Report to come…
Coffs Coast Tigers 2-3 Boambee Bombers
Report to come…
Sawtell Scorpions 2-0 Northern Storm
Report to come…