Back to the drawing board
NORTH Coast Football’s (NCF) State Youth League teams found the best players from Macquarie a real handful on the weekend.
Aside from the 15-years boys recording a 2-0 loss and missing out on the Pacific finals for the Manchester United Premier Cup, there were two other losses suffered by the locals at Woolgoolga’s High St fields.
The talented 16-years girls team was the only NCF squad to post a victory on the weekend winning 4-1.
This win now puts the girls on top of the Northern NSW table.
The contest was physical from the beginning with several girls taking heavy spills in the first half. During this period Macquarie had the better of the 50-50 challenges to win possession and succeeded in scoring a goal in the 30th minute.
After the break though the local girls were outstanding.
Three minutes into the second half Jess Gunning scored to give the squad a confidence boost.
A Macquarie girl went down halfway through the second half and due to the opposition having no fresh subs left, it was given no option but to play with 10 players. This gave NCF more time and space as the Macquarie team tired.
Jess Gentle gave NCF the lead in the 71st minute and late in the clash, Gentle and Gunning scored again to complete the rout.
For the boys it was different.
Ben Sonter has been in outstanding form in front of goal so far this season for the 14-years boys and he scored another double on Sunday.
The goals scored early and late against Macquarie weren’t enough to stop his team losing 3-2.
Macquarie being a skilled team wised up early to Sonter’s pace, and balls were quickly directed to the keeper to clear the ball before the striker could reach it.
Macquarie did manage to score before half-time to equalise.
After the break NCF had a shuffle of players due to injury and fatigue which seemed to unsettle its game plan for a while. During this time Macquarie managed to come back and score the two match-winning goals.
It was a worse story for the 13-years boys. Macquarie handed the young boys a football lesson scoring five unanswered goals in the opening stanza.
If it wasn’t for the efforts in goal of Yamba’s Harry Menzies who produced three or four Premier League-standard saves from near point blank range, the half-time score could’ve easily been 10-0.
Menzies’ skill and technique was superb but his team-mates in front and all over the park lacked effort and team uniformity in that first half.
With only small glimpses of any football, North Coast came off at half-time with heads hung low.
Mitchell Gunning and Luke Pilpel were two players who gave a maximum effort but it appeared the rest of the team did not turn up prepared for this game.
After a wake-up call from the coach, the North Coast boys returned to the field with more passion and managed to stop the haemorrhaging down back to have parity on the scoreboard in the second half.
The final score was 7-2.
Menzies was replaced in front of goal with Urunga’s Josh Jarret and the right full back position saw Kalem Rollason fill it while Cormack Grant moved to right wing after a mixed first half performance at right back.
This move proved effective and a early ball from Mitchell Gunning found Adam Pickup (Boambee) in the middle and his ball over the top of the Macquarie central defender found the fast running Grant out pace the full back and blast a great shot into the roof of the net from around 18m.
Some great passing from Daemon Power-Casson to his midfield finally gave Macquarie players something to think about.
From one such pass Power Casson found Nathan Pollitt who in turn found Travis Marker, back to Gunning who split the Macquarie defence apart with a great pass to the right-hand side where Grant again out paced and hassled the Macquarie defender to run into the penalty area and drill a another great shot past the ‘keeper.