Storm hits Coffs Coast Tigers
By STEVE ARCHBOLD
AGOALwith only minutes left on the clock saw Northern Storm overcome a gutsy Coffs Coast Tigers 3-2 in the opening round of the North Coast Football League at Korora yesterday.
The Tigers played soundly to go to the break leading 2-1.
Luke Stowe scored the opening goal after excellent lead-up work from Luke Venn.
Coffs Coast Tigers then paid dearly for a lapse in concentration with Northern Storm levelling the scores within two minutes after a build-up which began with the Tigers losing possession on half way.
Their second came just before half time when Mario Rivers scored after a pass from Alex Pundyke.
Coffs Coast Tigers skipper Dane Dixon said his side played good soccer for 75 minutes of the contest but fell away in the latter stages.
With plenty of injury problems, the Tigers were still pleased with their first hit out of the season and were left seething in the second half when a penalty kick was awarded against them at a vital stage of the match.
The conversion from the spot levelled the game up at 2-all and gave Northern Storm the impetus to finish the match strongly scoring the winning goal on a strong counter attack.
Man of the match for the Coffs Coast Tigers was Luke Venn at striker while Sam Page was judged man of the match for Northern Storm.
In the match at Urunga, the Raiders started their season on the right note accounting for Valley United 2-1.
Coach Tom Campbell was a relieved man when a handball offence with only minutes remaining saw the Raiders awarded a penalty which broke a deadlock which had existed since midway through the second half.
"Instead of us being 1-all at that stage if we would have taken our chances we could have been three or four up," he said.
Campbell said while the Raiders were pleased to get the three points, the way they dominated the match they should have had more goals to show for it at the end of the match.
The Urunga coach said he was pleased with the way his new-look team settled into a pattern and they dominated possession for most of the match.
Youngsters Carl Hopper and Kane Kofoed were impressive for the Raiders while evergreen forward Trevor Sparkes showed he still has plenty to offer in the North Coast Football League.
In defence Campbell said he was happy with the way his players contained the speedy Valley United attack conceding only one goal.
The Valley United goal was a real cracker with a free kick from 30 metres scorching into the back of the net.
United were competitive for long periods of the match and would have been disappointed not to finish with a draw.
In reserve grade the Urunga Raiders came away with a 6-1 win.