AIRBORNE: Westlawn Tiger Cormack Grant finds some air during his side’s 2-1 loss to North Coast Football Premier League leaders Coffs Lions. Photo: Debrah Novak
AIRBORNE: Westlawn Tiger Cormack Grant finds some air during his side’s 2-1 loss to North Coast Football Premier League leaders Coffs Lions. Photo: Debrah Novak

Tigers find positives in loss to competition leading Lions

WHO knew a struggling lighting system could reflect an onfield performance?

Much like Westlawn Tigers, one of Barnier Park's large lights worked well for the most part but a few flickers at crucial times during Saturday's showdown made for a frustrating night.

Westlawn almost produced one of the upsets of the North Coast Football premier league season before losing 2-1 loss to competition leaders Coffs United.

The home side lived up to their moniker with a tigerish performance against a Lions outfit that had only failed to win once in their 12 matches so far this season.

The Lions were 2-0 ahead courtesy of two converted penalties five minutes either side of halftime.

But Westlawn rallied with a late goal to James Joyce, who scored a header of which Tim Cahill would have been proud.

Although the narrow loss continues Westlawn's ugly habit of failing to turn good performances into results, coach Robert Usher was eager to focus on the positives.

"I can't fault the players, they executed the game plan perfectly and they fought tooth and nail on the pitch," he said.

"We gave them a massive fright and were unfortunate not to take a point.

"But the result doesn't matter so much, as long as we take confidence from our efforts and play like this for the rest of the season."

With the highly anticipated local derby between Maclean and Westlawn coming up next weekend, Usher said he wanted Saturday's performance to be a sign of things to come.

"The task for us now is to replicate this form in the coming weeks," Usher said.

"If we play like this against Maclean we have a massive chance of winning the game."

Coffs Lions dominated possession on Saturday but Westlawn's backline was impenetrable with centre backs Matthew Cheney and Jesse Hinds providing stability and experience in the young side.

Westlawn had the lion's share of attempts on goal with Joyce and Sheldon O'Loughlin both coming close as the Tigers pushed forward when they gained possession.

But an unfortunate handball in the box and a controversial penalty decision gave the Lions a comfortable lead before Joyce scored late to give Westlawn hope.

Despite continuing to mount pressure on the Coffs defence, Westlawn couldn't find the equaliser.



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