Oxley Vale Attunga proved too good for Kootingal in round 10 of the Northern Inland Premier Men’s competition, while Gunnedah edged out Moore Creek and South United defeated Tamworth.
The Mushies led by four at the break at Riverside Park, all courtesy of James Kitcher.
“The first 30-minutes were hard fought and they [Kootingal] matched the Mushies blow for blow,” OVA coach Tim Coates said.
“We wasted some good chances, and the assistant was kept busy with some offside calls.”
“The game then changed with James Kitcher notching the first of his four for the day.”
Mitchell O’Keefe bagged a brace in the second half, while Will Menz and Joel Carter added to their season tally.
“The second half again some spirited play by Kootingal who are improving as the season goes on with some strong young players and an excellent effort from the keeper,” Coates said.
OVA next weekend tackle Moore Creek.
Despite the loss, Kootingal coach Chris Jarrett had plenty of positives to draw on post-match.
“We were happy with nil-all after 32 minutes against top of the table OVA, but they then ran away with four goals in the first half and another four goals in the second half,” he said.
“Despite the 8-nil loss, special mention to our long serving goalkeeper Hugh Gentle who made numerous outstanding saves against a very well organised OVA attack.”
The challenge of first grade isn’t lost on Jarrett, with his young squad continuing to develop week after week.
“The game was a great experience to our young players as to the speed and intensity of Premier League as we continue to focus on whole of team mobility in transition right throughout the duration of the game,” he said.
At Geoff Morgan Field, Gunnedah inflicted more pain on a battered Moore Creek. The home side led 3-1 at the break before adding another four in the second stanza. The full-time score 7-2.
Among the highlights, the performance of 14-year-old Jesse Giles who featured in both first and reserve grade, along with four goals to player/coach Andy Cygan.
Birthday boy Eli Rankmore grabbed two goals, while Casey Targett found the back of the net on one occasion.
“It was our first game without the foreign guys, we played with a back three and they did a great job with the young keeper behind them,” Cygan said.
“Our goalkeeper was outstanding with a low down save onto the post at 1-0, which allowed us to go and score the next and give us a two-goal cushion.”
Phong Nguyen and Andre Caetano gave the visiting Mountain Goats hope of an upset, though in the end Gunnedah proved too good for the young squad.
“We need to focus more on doing the simple things. With lack of training makes it hard to perform in high level,” stand in player/coach Andre Caetano said.
“This club has some great young players coming through and some of them are impressing me how they give 110% every game.”
In the weekend’s other match, South United narrowly escaped victorious over Tamworth. United coach Darrel Mole describing the win as “a little rusty” after a disrupted fortnight.
“Tamworth came at us hard in the first half with their young players chasing the ball down relentlessly. But we stood up to the pressure well,” Mole said.
Locked at nil-all at the break, Mole’s half-time talk did the trick with the fourth placed United finding the back of the net early in the second stanza.
“The team implemented the plan perfectly resulting in a goal to Harry Pollock soon after half time and another to Blake Hawker shortly after that,” he said.
A late goal to Tamworth did little to upset the momentum of Souths, who next weekend face North Companions at Gipps Street.
“Lucas Buckley had a strong game at right back, making some good impact in attack and Lachlan Smith was solid in goals but all players contributed to a good team win.
North Companions will head into the match after a weekend off with the Bye.