Wolves tear up toothless Tigers
By JIM GEORGE
AN understrength Coffs Coast Tigers were dealt a crushing 8-0 defeat by Woolgoolga Wolves in the North Coast Football Premier League at High St on Saturday night, having led by 5-0 at halftime.
People around the ground were asking when was the last time the Tigers were 5-0 down at half-time in a game? No one could remember such a precedent.
This was the night when the Wolves players literally swarmed over their opponents.
It seemed that at every ball challenge the Tigers were outnumbered, and there was always a Wolves player moving into space ready to receive a pass.
The match began as it continued - at a cracking pace.
After five minutes Wolves striker Mark Coster hit the crossbar, then on the quarter hour Rick Barnier wrong footed his defender to drive a half volley from Dylan Rowleys throw in into the top far corner.
Dane Dixon came close for Tigers on 23 minutes with a shot just off target, but in the 28th minute it was Wolves striker Rick Barnier again who made a crunching tackle to win the ball, then a 30 metre pass which was tapped in by Anthony Baston.
On 35 minutes Wolves led 3-0 after a 30 metre free kick from Aaron Armstrong was well saved by Tigers keeper Chris Edwards but parried to Ryan Zelvis. Wolves were merciless in attack.
Only superb defending from Kurt Dixon kept things respectable with Wolves forwards Barnier and Coster creating nightmares.
It was Barnier again on 38 minutes who beat two defenders, forced a great save from Chris Edwards but Coster was well positioned to crack home Wolves fourth.
The fifth came on the stroke of half time.
Barnier again weaved his way through the defence to be brought down in the box and Ryan Zelvis put the penalty away.
Despite their big half-time deficit Tigers came out fighting after the break.
Kurt Dixon pushed linking up well with Luke Stow and Dane Dixon against a well-organised and determined Wolves defence.
On 61 minutes a wicked corner from Ryan Zelvis enabled Coster to head into the top corner.
Tigers heads never dropped.
They battled in midfield and made much progress, Dane Dixon forcing a good save from Wolves keeper Naamon Whiteman.
Several corners caused problems but still the Tigers could not break the Wolves defence.
On 84 minutes Zelvis finished off his hat-trick in style, driving a shot off the underside of the crossbar, making it 7-0, leaving Aaron Armstrong to deliver the coup de grace three minutes from the end when he side footed home the eighth at the far post.
There were no stand out players for the Wolves in what was simply an awe inspiring team effort from all.
The Tigers who are in a rebuilding phase after losing quality players from last season took the defeat with good sporting grace, though they must have been shell shocked by the end of 90 minutes, despite the efforts of the Dixon brothers and Chris Edwards in goal.
In reserve grade Tigers claimed their first scalp for the season against a disjointed and uncreative Wolves.
Despite a wealth of possession Wolves opportunities were wasted with fruitless long range shots, while Tigers looked dangerous every time they went forward.
Two defence splitting passes set young Madison Williams free twice to put Tigers 2-0 up at the break.
On 65 minutes he added a third to give Tigers a 3-0 lead.
Replacement striker Jack Mountstephen pulled two goals back for Wolves but Tigers collected a fourth with only a minute remaining to run out deserved winners 4-2.
For Tigers Madison Williams was superb with well timed runs and clinical finishing.
For Wolves Shane Courtenay had a solid game at leftback.