Rangers dominant, Coffs United thrash Wildcats as Port teams triumph in round two – review

What a weekend of football, and one that sets up a big round three this coming weekend. Macleay Valley Rangers announced themselves as an authority with a commanding 3-1 over Sawtell FC. Coffs United defeated Taree, giving the Wildcats their second defeat of the campaign. Port United and Port Saints both overcame their northern opponents, and Boambee was tested once again but this time managed to scrape three points out of a difficult test against Kempsey Saints.

Kempsey Saints 2 defeated by Boambee Bombers 3
Feature Match South

Boambee Bombers were away at Kempsey Saints on Saturday afternoon and needed the three points to get their season underway. Kempsey, on the other hand, was relishing the chance of playing the “competition favourites” and were up to the challenge, with the Bombers unable to pierce Kempsey’s defence in the opening 30 minutes.

Boambee had the upper hand for the opening parts of the match but struggled to find a way through. Finally, just after the half-hour mark, Nathan Pollitt’s mazy run through the midfield provided a way through, and Christian Penny simply had to tap the ball in for Boambee’s first.

The second came just two minutes later, captain Luke France climbing highest to nod the ball home and Boambee, for all their possession, had a two-nil lead.

To the Saints credit they regrouped, coach Kevin Sinclair making some changes at half time, and they came out the stronger team. Saints striker Nick Wright showed his class upfront to slot one past Boambee goalkeeper, and the deficit was back to one.

Luke France scored his second of the night, before a scrap in the Boambee box saw Nathan Pollitt deflect the ball into his net to set-up a nervous final 20 minutes, the scores 3-2 Boambee’s way and Kempsey with the momentum.

The Bombers held on for their first three points of the season, but Kempsey certainly held their own and will be a team to watch as the season progresses.

Saints coach Kevin Sinclair was extremely proud of his side’s performance.

“It’s hard to celebrate a loss, but our boys played some good football today, and they continue to develop after many changes in the off season and the disruption caused by the pandemic. This is our best result in both grades against Boambee, I’m proud of how everyone performed, and we will learn from our mistakes and continue to grow.”

“We knew this league would be a lot tougher than previous years, every mistake is punished, and reward is hard to come by, but today was a good learning curve and a great performance against a top side.”

Port Saints 1 defeated Northern Storm 0

Port Saints hosted Northern Storm at Findlay Park on Saturday, and it was an even contest with both sides dominating possession in patches throughout the match. Just a goal separated them after 90 minutes, but it was enough for Port Saints to claim the win.

Northern Storm was unlucky to walk away with nothing. They performed well though a well-drilled Saints defence left them frustrated, particularly in the second half. 

Northern Storms first-round win against Taree sees them hang on to a top-four position, while Port Saints climb to fifth on the ladder.

Sawtell 1 defeated by Macleay Valley Rangers 3

Macleay Valley Rangers travelled to Sawtell on Saturday and following a narrow 2-1 win at Port Saints in round one, this match-up against a youthful Sawtell FC was an enticing one.

The match was tarnished after just 20 minutes when a Ranger player was sent off for an altercation with another player. A right decision by the official, though with 70 minutes to play Macleay now had an uphill battle against an energised Sawtell side.

Despite the disadvantage, it was the Rangers who took the lead through Brett Morn when he tapped home a good low cross from Tristan Smith.

Sawtell equalised shortly after half time, but the Rangers were ultimately too strong and ran away with the game 3-1 winners. An impressive performance from the Kempsey side and one that demonstrates the strength of the Rangers in 2020.

Coffs Coast Tigers 0 defeated by Port United 1

Port United travelled to the Tigers home ground for what was anticipated to be a very even match up. The Tigers had humbled Boambee the week prior, while Port United lost a well-fought battle against Coffs United in round one.

It was a cagey affair, with just the one goal separating the sides, the Tigers again strong in defensive shape and United was left frustrated on several occasions by the well organised Tigers.

Port United managed to score the one goal, winning the game 1-0.

Coffs United Lions 5 defeated Taree Wildcats 1
Feature Match North

Coffs United Lions stamped their authority on the competition with a resounding 5-1 win over Taree Wildcats on Saturday night, which has them sitting atop the Coastal Premier League ladder after two games.

Caleb Lokpo was a threat down United’s right flank all night, troubling the Wildcats defence time and time again. United’s first goal came from a penalty when Lokpo broke away down the right and was taken down in the area.

Minutes later Lokpo was sent through again, this time one on one with the keeper, and forced a great save from the Taree custodian, who could only parry the ball into the path of Maribor Garang, the striker gifted a simple tap in for United’s second.

United coach Glen Williams said that despite Caleb’s heroics in attack, his improvement has been at the other end of the field.

“I think he is playing his best football from the last two years. His effort in defence is outstanding, which is what we have been working on in pre-season.”

Marty Kellegher then made it three before half time, getting on the end of a suburb cross from Nick Mallet.

It was a tough night for Taree, who showed patches of quality, but struggled to piece together any real prolonged periods of dominance. Their second half was much improved from the first, only conceding the one goal and managing to claw one back from a set-piece.

Wildcats coach Ben Sedlen was disappointed with his sides first-half performance and said it was a good test against one of the best in the competition.

“Pretty disappointing today, we threw the game away in the first half, four silly goals. We kept working hard, can’t fault the guys’ effort, but we need to be a lot better going forward.”

Williams was pleased with the performance of his side given the context of the season so far.

“I think with limited preparation, the side is playing well most of the game. The effort is good, and I think we are getting fitter and fitter. We’ve got some big matches coming up against Macleay and Boambee, so we can’t get ahead of ourselves, but overall very pleased with how we are playing.”

Updated: 14 July 2020

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