CPL PREVIEW: Rangers hunting Lions at home
WITH the Coastal Premier League lifting the standard of football considerably, no game will be an easy one as the season wears on.
The pick of the fixtures this week is the top-of-the-table clash between the Macleay Valley Rangers and Coffs City United Lions, with the match-up sure to produce some quality football.
Here is a preview of the Round 3 games coming up this Saturday, July 18.
Boambee FC v Port Saints – Ayrshire Park, 3pm
Boambee and Port Saints met in February this year in an FFA Cup fixture and while Boambee were convincing winners on the day, the Bombers have had a slow start to the season.
The fact they still sit third on the ladder speaks to their quality and round three presents an opportunity to leapfrog either Coffs United or Macleay Valley Rangers if they can get the job done against the Saints.
The Saints sit fifth, a 1-0 win against Northern Storm last weekend giving them their first points of the season. They were able to frustrate Storm with a well-organised defence, and with Boambee leaking goals this season there’s an opportunity away from home.
“We’ve always got to think we are in the contest,” Saints coach Darrell Pascoe said.
“We played them in an FFA Cup game before COVID, and they got the better of us that day, quite convincingly, which was a good lesson for us.
“It showed the boys what quality to expect in the Coastal Premier League this season. We always go into a match with belief, and it will be a great game against the Bombers this weekend.”
“We’re a pretty young team, we’ve got some experienced guys in the squad, but right throughout our whole team, we are a young side. It’s an exciting year for the Saints, and we have plenty of improvement ahead of us.”
Northern Storm v Kempsey Saints – Plantation Rd, Korora, 3pm
Northern Storm host Kempsey Saints at Korora on Saturday afternoon, in what will be another fascinating match-up as we gradually learn more about each team.
Kempsey Saints have had two very close encounters with top teams, first losing 4-3 to Sawtell in round one, then last weekend a narrow 3-2 loss to Boambee.
We feel there’s more to come from Kempsey Saints this season.
Northern Storm were unlucky last week against the Port Saints and this match could go either way. It should be entertaining, with goals at both ends.
Macleay Valley Rangers v Coffs City United – Optus Park, Kempsey, 3pm
It’s a top of the table clash as Coffs United Lions travel to Kempsey to take on the in-form Macleay Valley Rangers.
Both sides have hit form early on in the season, Macleay winning their first two Rounds against Port Saints and Sawtell FC, and United defeating Port United and Taree Wildcats.
It’s an exciting match-up so early on in the competition, and United coach Glen Williams is expecting a challenge.
“Our games from years gone by have always been a tough battle. We will work this week at training and go to the game with a good mindset,” he said.
Rangers coach Chris Walker said his side weren’t at their best last weekend and is looking forward to seeing improvement against the Lions.
“Footballing wise we weren’t at our best (against Sawtell), but the team can’t be faulted for the effort and mentality to grind out a win after playing 70 minutes with ten men,” he said.
“We will work on our game and bring everything to the contest on Saturday.”
“I think the boys will be looking forward to testing themselves against one of the competition favourites when coming up against the Lions.”
The match is what the CPL is all about, and as competition favourites themselves, Lions v Rangers this is a fixture not to miss for the Kempsey following.
Williams agreed the new competition had lifted the quality of local football.
“We are loving it, playing more competitive games every week lifts the excitement from the players’ point of view,” he said.
Taree Wildcats v Port United – Taree Zone Field, 3pm
Taree Wildcats will hope to start their season when they are visited by Port United this Saturday.
Taree’s 5-1 loss to Coffs United sounds worse than it was, with three goals scored within the first 20 minutes of the first half.
While outclassed for portions of the match, Taree also showed some real quality which they will look to improve on as the season continues.
Port United defeated Coffs Coast Tigers in a close encounter last week.
Coffs Coast Tigers v Sawtell FC – Polwarth Drive, 5pm
Coffs Coast Tigers and Sawtell FC have both had slow starts to the season, though with every match a difficult one in this new competition, both sides have shown what’s possible.
Tigers are yet to record a win, while Sawtell had a challenging outing against Macleay Valley Rangers last week, which they will want to bounce back from.