Lions stay top of table
NOT many teams relish the prospect of visiting Urunga Raiders.
Before the kick-off yesterday, Coffs City United Lions' coach Jon Ross admitted its always tough down there.
"We always have to earn our points," he said.
Earn them they did as the Lions displayed a highly professional and confident approach to secure a 2-0 win.
Raiders competed all over the park, marked tightly and with skill, but in the end the two-goal difference was a fair reflection of Coffs' superiority.
In an incident-packed first quarter of good football, both teams created and failed to capitalise on a series of chances.
Sadly for the Raiders it was two pieces of careless defending that cost them dearly.
The first occurred in the 31st minute when a poor clearance of an innocuous ball in midfield went for a corner instead of far upfield.
Anthony Wiseman, one of the best kickers of a dead ball in the league, drilled in the corner kick for Nick Lambert to score with a fine header that deflected down off the underside of the crossbar and gave David McBaron no chance.
The game returned to a very evenly-balanced and strong tussle in which Anthony Wiseman stood out in midfield.
He made space well, moved intelligently off the ball and distributed passes with skill, and is also a good header of the ball for a relatively small man.
The second major defensive error by Raiders came in the 57th minute.
A failed clearance by the otherwise excellent Brad Danzey fell to Ryan Turner who, from fully 20 metres out, hit a screamer of a low drive, reminiscent of a Bobby Charlton strike, into the corner of the goal.
Men of the match were Flipper Wiseman and Ryan Turner of Coffs, while Rod Wyatt of Raiders turned in an excellent show, as did goalkeeper David McBaron.
There were a few bookings and yellow cards, one or two for silly, unnecessary indiscipline that had Tom Campbell, the wise, fair-minded and objective Raiders coach, muttering with frustration.
His team will pick up some results soon if they keep playing as they did yesterday.