THREE North Coast Football teams have progressed through to the round of 16 in the knockout Northern NSW Solo Cup.
Coffs United, Woolgoolga and reigning premier Maclean now eagerly await the third round draw which is being held this week to see who they play in the next stage of the competition.
The third round matches will see the Northern Pool teams start to take on some of the stronger teams from the Newcastle and Hunter region which will give a true indication of the local competition’s level.
The evidence on the weekend suggests that the local teams should give a good account of themselves. Coffs United flexed their muscle at Toormina Oval as the Lions easily swept aside Pacific Palms 7-1.
Nick Lambert was the star of the show and he scored a hat-trick within 50 minutes to give the Lions an unassailable 4-nil lead that continued to grow.
Anthony Wiseman scored a double and Nathan Silvy also made it on to the scoresheet but the final goal of the day, which was Lambert’s fourth, was simply the icing on the cake.
Sawtell was the only North Coast football team that didn’t progress but they challenged Tamworth club Oxley Vale Attunga.
The Scorpions will rue some missed opportunities that could have seen them equalise late to send the match into extra time where their fitness would have been a factor.
Maclean continued their undefeated start to the season at the Maclean Showground on Saturday night with an impressive 2-1 victory over Port Macquarie.
Broden Hirst got on the end of a well-worked move by the Bobcats and finished confidently to give Maclean a perfect start against formidable opposition.
It could not have been a better start for the home side and after the game Bobcats coach Grant Neilson was understandably rapt with how his side had begun.
“We were slow out of the blocks last week and I knew we couldn’t afford to repeat that against such a quality side,” he said.
“Port are the champions of their league and undefeated so far this year so it’s very pleasing to see our blokes start so positively.”
A bizarre moment which stripped the Bobcats of their advantage threatened to turn the game completely on its head just before half time.
In a terrible defensive mix up, the Bobcats failed to deal with a kick out from the Port goal keeper which somehow bounced over Maclean keeper Graeme Court’s head and the goal bound effort was then sneakily tapped in by a Port striker for the equaliser.
In the 55th minute the Bobcats regained the lead after a neat passing move found its way to Jarrod Doyle on the flank who then duly delivered a tantalising cross with Hirst sliding in at the far post to complete his brace and make the score 2-1.
Woolgoolga also faced a big reputation opponent but, just as Maclean did, the Wolves prove that reputations count for nothing on the scoreboard.
Woolgoolga were far too sharp for the Macleay Valley Rangers and their 3-1 victory will give them plenty of confidence for their match against Sawtell on Wednesday night at the High Street fields.
SOLO CUP RESULTS
Maclean def Port City United 2-1
Oxley Vale def Sawtell 2-1
Coffs City United def Pacific Palms 7-1
Woolgoolga def Macleay Valley Rangers 3-1