Hungry Tigers mix it with ‘benchmark’ Boambee
A FLURRY of late chances went begging as last season's premiers kicked off their Coastal Premier League campaign with a draw.
On balance, the 1 - 1 draw was a fair result for Boambee FC, who hosted Coffs Coast Tigers at Ayreshire Park on Sunday, but there is certainly room for improvement.
The home side were out-enthused for much of the first half, with the Tigers hungry for the ball and quick on the break from the outset.
Within the first ten minutes the Tigers found themselves in on goal, but were ultimately unable to capitalise on a series of good attacks down the flanks.
At the half-hour mark, against the run of play, it was the home side who scored first - through a perfectly struck free kick from Tyh Murphy.
The young attacker is something of a dead-ball specialist and he lifted the ball over the wall and into the top-left hand corner from more than 20 yards out.
If the Tigers felt hard done by they didn't show it and right on half time they got the breakthrough they deserved when James Palmer found himself on the end of a perfectly weighted through-ball over the top, placing it neatly past an on-rushing Darcy Newell.
Halftime saw a change in attitude from Boambee, who showed more intent to gradually gain the upper hand as the half wore on, spurning a few good chances in the final 20 minutes.
Christian Penny came closest when his bullet-header hit the upright from a well taken free kick.
There was also an entertaining pinball skirmish near the Tigers' goal line as attackers and defenders took turns at lashing at the ball before keeper Luke Kliendienst dived through a sea of bodies to claim.
Boambee Coach John Ferguson said his side weren't urgent enough in the first half, allowing the Tigers too much time and space on the ball.
"Second half we were far better defensively and far more committed and we made a number of chances," he said. "We just didn't finish."
"It is all about finishing - particularly in front of that big white thing - you have to put the ball in the onion bag.
"But that is football sometimes, particularly early in the season."
Tigers' coach Felipe Barrera was pleased with his side's showing against what he described as the competition's "benchmark club".
He said despite it being a tough few weeks trying to get players up to speed physically and mentally, his squad came out hungry to play football.
"It is early days for us but we had a game plan and I was happy with the performance," he said.
"We sort of ran out of legs towards the end but the first three quarters of the match we played some really good football."
On Saturday Boambee FC are away to Kempsey Saints at 3pm at Eden St fields and Coffs Coast Tigers host Port United FC at 5pm at Polwarth Drive.