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United bounces back with local derby win over Saints

It didn’t take Port United assistant coach Tony Raymond long to drag out the calculator following his team’s 2-0 win over Port Saints on Tuesday night.

He was doing the maths to see what needs to happen for his team to progress to the semi-finals after Matt Broderick and Josh Casey both found the back of the net in a match United dominated for large periods.

The vital victory allowed them to keep in touch with the Coastal Premier League Men’s top six.

It also saw them bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Macleay Valley on Saturday in the second of a four-game stretch in eight days to finish the season.

Should they manage to take any points out of both their remaining two matches against Kempsey Saints and Boambee, United will finish somewhere in the top six.

“I did some calculations last night and we’ve still got two games to go, but we should cement a top six spot, but where in that top six will depend on our next two games,” Raymond said.

“If we win the next two games and other teams lose, we could be definitely in the top four so we’ll have to wait and see what comes out of this weekend.”

Raymond, however, knows it won’t be all smooth sailing with the Port Macquarie side set to head north on Sunday for a catch-up fixture against second-last placed Boambee.

They travel to Kempsey to face third-last placed Kempsey Saints on Saturday.

“Saturday will be fine with a full squad, but Sunday’s game we’re going to be short three or four players which is not ideal,” Raymond said.

Their recent formline is topsy-turvy with four losses and one draw from their previous eight fixtures, although United does boast the third-best defence and goal difference in the competition.

That will give them cause for optimism of doing some damage in the finals should they get there.

“I don’t think [the recent record] is a concern because the boys’ performance last night showed if they do their job the results will come,” Raymond said.

“It is topsy-turvy, but once semi-finals hit every team steps up and you’ve got to win at all costs in finals to be able to get to that grand final.

“I know the boys definitely are up for the challenge, but we’ve got to win this weekend and start again and get that consistency going.”

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