CPL round 12 preview

They say football is a game decided by men and moments and Sawtell have discovered that first-hand in the Coastal Premier League in 2021.

The Scorpions sit second from the bottom after 11 matches, but when you dig a little deeper it starts to become clearer why coach Joe Skrtic has managed to remain upbeat.

Three of their losses have been by a solitary goal while they managed to take a point off Coffs City United in a 4-all draw at the start of May.

“It’s trying to play quality football for 90 minutes and having the right intensity that’s been a bit challenging for our younger boys to do for 90 minutes,” he said.

“We have a lot of good moments but there are some key moments where decisions haven’t gone our way and it’s those key moments that have cost us three points or a point in a game.”

It’s certainly been a learning curve for one of the youngest teams in the competition.

“They understand that it is a tough league and we’re learning a lot of things and we need to start putting it into games,” the coach said.

“Some of that experience we need in the side has shown in some of the games at crucial points where we could have taken a point or two.”

Saturday’s opponents Kempsey Saints are running hot and have taken 15 points from a possible 18 in their last six matches.

But three of their five losses this season have been by a margin of three goals or more.

Co-coach Evan Clarke is aware of the challenge the trip to Toormina Oval will pose with several injury clouds surrounding a number of his players.

“It’s one of those games we need to win and we’re under no illusion as to how good Sawtell are becoming,” Clarke said.

“They’ve been close in a lot of games but just haven’t been able to get the results they wanted.

“There are not really any teams in this competition you can sleep on and Sawtell definitely aren’t one of them. We definitely don’t want it to be a banana peel game.”

In other matches this weekend, Northern Storm host Taree Wildcats while Coffs City United travel to Kempsey and a tricky contest with an injury-hit Macleay Valley.

Coffs Coast Tigers will host Boambee on Tuesday evening while the Port Macquarie derby between Port United and Port Saints will take place at Dixie Park on Wednesday evening.

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