TOP FORM: The Lions take a bow after cruising to an easy win over Alstonville. NCF Publicity
TOP FORM: The Lions take a bow after cruising to an easy win over Alstonville. NCF Publicity

Lions move closer to FFA Cup elite bunch

EVEN winning coach Mike Smith said it was a "bizarre game" after Coffs United's 8-4 disposal of Alstonville in the Northern NSW preliminary final of the Westfield FFA Cup.

The score was indicative of several crazy aspects including Coffs requiring just nine minutes of the allotted time to secure the win, while leaving the other 81 minutes to going through the motions.

In the first five minutes, Villa pushed hard into Lions territory as if it were their intention to play as much as possible down that end of the pitch.

But in the sixth minute, the home side scorched the visitors with pure pace and it was Ben Mackay finding the back of the net for the first goal of his hat-trick.

Two minutes later, it was Nick Lambert delivering the first of his eventual hat-trick by finishing off a 60m charge that left Villa players jousting with shadows.

With a 2-0 lead after eight minutes, the outcome was just about settled.

Coffs were up 3-0 by intermission and Lambert was on the scoreboard again within 60 seconds of resumption.

Then, things started going off the rails as the Lions racked the cue.

"It was a bizarre game actually," coach Smith said.

"We turned off to be honest and lost out to a couple of really soft goals."

Coffs switched on again and took it to 6-2 before going back into hibernation

Two more goals had the visitors knocking on the back door before the local lads came back to life.

"At 6-4, it didn't look the best," Smith said.

"We had something left in the tank to get home but honestly, at 3-0 the game should have been over.

"At 4-0 the game's over, at 6-2 the game's over, except we kept opening up to them.

"It shows we've still got a lot of work to do on the defensive side.

"Attacking wise, we were fantastic when it counted, so I don't have any worries there."

Without being disrespectful of Alstonville, the Lions were a class above on the day.

However, by not keeping the razzle dazzle flowing for longer, the home team players perhaps robbed themselves of a golden opportunity to re-write the FFA Cup record book.

The purists won't like the score but the scattered moments of entertainment were hard to beat.

The Lions move to the qualification round in Lake Macquarie on June 20-21.



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