Wolves bare teeth
Reports ByJim GEORGE
Woolgoolga Wolves 2
Coffs City United Lions 1
THE Den was packed for the North Coast Football League top-of-the -table clash, billed as the match of the season.
It proved to be an outstanding game of football and a showcase of the best of the best from this region.
Woolgoolga Wolves extended their 100 per cent undefeated record to go clear at the top of the Premier League with a 2-1 win in a game that had everything: outstanding goalkeeping, last ditch defending, brilliant midfield skills and some brilliant and some not so good finishing.
Wolves are breaking all sorts of club records this season for their coach Michael Jackson, manager Robbie Barselaar and their army of fans.
Lions started the stronger and had an excellent chance to go into the lead when Sam Mackay made a mesmerizing run from wide right into the penalty box and was fouled before getting his shot in.
Ben Mackay looked set to add to his impressive seasons goal tally of 12 from the resultant penalty kick but only managed to thump the ball against the crossbar and see it rebound back into play.
The next 20 minutes was end-to-end stuff with no team being able to dominate but both teams made chances that were not taken.
The last ten minutes of the half however, belonged to Wolves who pressed Lions hard and forced Stuart Cook, who was playing his second game in goal for Lions (and later voted players man of the match for Lions), into a series of excellent saves when Wolves looked sure to score.
The second half started much as the first finished with the Wolves hungry for the ball and pushing Lions into making mistakes in defence that let the irrepressible Rick Barnier and team skipper Anthony Baston score one apiece to set up a handy two goal lead with 25 minutes to play.
Anthony Wiseman narrowed the deficit for Lions with an outstanding solo run and shot and then it was the Lions with all the attacking play trying to get back to parity. In the final ten minutes the Lions peppered the Wolves goal with crosses and corners, tried long-range shots and runs into the box but nothing could break down the Wolves determined defence, with Wolves goalkeeper Naamon Whiteman working hard and well.
Wolves held on for a memorable win which was celebrated loudly by their legion of 400 or so supporters.
Already supporters from both camps are looking forward to the return fixture at High Street later in the season which should be another cracker and might just decide the minor premiership.
In reserve grade the story was a bit different with the Lions out to prove that last week's dismal performance was just an aberration.
They were truly lucky to come away with a point last week, but on this day the result was never in doubt after the first goal, scored by evergreen Mark Hain. Prince Barney nabbed two with Lindsey Rooney and Will Bailey completing the 5-0 win.