Well-saved: The Sawtell defence stop Tigers captain Dane Dixon getting his head on the end of this set play.
Well-saved: The Sawtell defence stop Tigers captain Dane Dixon getting his head on the end of this set play. Bruce Thomas

Win proves Tigers critics wrong

THERE’S no doubt that the biggest surprise packet of the 2010 season is the form of Coffs Coast Tigers.

Considered sporadically brilliant but prone to costly lapses, few outside the club thought the Tigers could be a genuine premiership threat when the season started. Those same pundits are eating their words now.

Thanks to a 5-2 victory over Sawtell on Sunday the Tigers have now won four matches in a row and surged into second position on the Men’s 1st Division table.

The comfortable victory didn’t look like eventuating in the early exchanges though.

The Tigers seemed uninterested in playing football early and the Scorpions had venom in their tails pushing hard to try and seal an early goal to put the Tigers on the back foot after their first round drubbing.

Joel Parkins had two early chances to put Sawtell ahead but his first chance hit the post and his second effort minutes later forced a top shelf save from Tigers keeper Jake Mahoney.

On the 15 minute mark a Sawtell shot from distance was adjudged to have been handballed in the penalty area and a spot kick ensued.

Matt Parkins stepped up to take the penalty after creating most of the Scorpions’ early chances. His penalty attempt sailed high over the cross bar and the subsequent miss sparked the Tigers from their early dream-like state.

No more than five minutes after the missed chance the Tigers scored the opening goal of the match when Kodjo Adjassou turned provider for Otis Barney. Barney shrugged off two Sawtell defenders to drive a shot into the bottom left corner of the goal.

After taking the lead the Tigers settled into a better rhythm and returned to their free-flowing best. In the matter of 15 minutes the Tigers made the Scorpions suffer when Adjassou weaved past his marker after a steady flow of possession cleverly placing his shot past the valiant Sawtell keeper.

Minutes later Markis Nebo and David Adjassou combined down the right hand side of the park and Nebo drifted past three or more would-be defenders in green to clinically place his shot past an isolated keeper. The Tigers three up and the game looked to be in the bag.

To Sawtell’s credit they didn’t give in and forced a save or two from Mahoney who absorbed the threat well.

Barney was a constant problem for the Sawtell defence and he managed to get into the box only to be chopped down by the Sawtell keeper who was lucky to stay on the park receiving a yellow card. The resulting penalty was dispatched by Dane Dixon to give the Tigers a 4- 0 lead at the break.

Coffs Coast Tigers came out after the break looking to put the game beyond any doubt and did so just minutes after the resumption of play when Barney ghosted in behind the Scorpions defence to receive a deft ball from the inform Fabrice Wamara to score his brace and the Tigers fifth.

From this point on the Tigers went quiet again only to let the Scorpions back into the match.

Sawtell kept fighting hard and Joel Parkins lifted the spirits of his side to score from the penalty spot and get the Scorpions on the board.

There was still 20 minutes to play and it was the Scorpions that finished the game strongly. Again it was Parkins who scored in the later stages of the match.

The Tigers will now focus on their top-of-the-table clash with Boambee in a fortnight to try and claim top spot on the ladder for the first time since 2004.

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