Image: Northern Daily Leader

Premier Division – Round 7 & 8 Review

June 7th, 2021

Oxley Vale Attunga claimed a maximum six-points from the weekend’s Northern Inland competition action, while Gunnedah suffered a loss on Saturday which saw them lose ground on the first-placed OVA.

With both round seven and eight played over the weekend, the Mushies took full advantage with a 2-nil win over Tamworth on Saturday. On Sunday, they edged out North Companions, 2-1.

James Kitcher and Mitchell O’Keefe led the way for the top-of-the-table side against FC, in what was a replay of the 2020 decider.

“The game was played with pride, passion and skill. On the day football was the winner with both sides trying hard,” OVA coach Tim Coates said.

Coates commented post game he thought “Mushies did the job as a unit” on both days with the side now seven-from-seven to start the season.

“The woodwork was called into play with one great long range shot to James Kitcher. Some great long efforts from Adam Watson were also dealt with effectively by the Tamworth FC keeper.”

OVA (21 points) are now seven points clear of their closest competitor, Gunnedah who are on 13-points). North Companions are third with 12-points.

“We have some improvement left and with players coming back into the squad from illness, work commitments and injury we look forward to the rest of the year,” Coates said.

At Marius Street, North Companions edged out Gunnedah 1-nil, though a string of injuries could yet derail Northies season.

“It was a tough weekend for us having to play the top two teams in the competition,” coach Gavin Thompson said.

“From the weekend minor niggles have become long term injuries which is really going to test our depth in the coming rounds.”

Kilian Pain drew praise from Thompson, while the match winning goal came via the touch of right back Mick McGufficke.

“We had good structure, kept possession well, created quite a few chances, and defended solidly. To keep a third consecutive clean sheet was very pleasing,” Thompson said.

Having lost three of his left side attack just 24-hours before kick-off, Gunnedah coach Andy Cygan was forced into a reshuffle, compounded by an early injury to Matt Davis.

“We decided to play 3-4-3, Matt Davis playing at the back pulled his hamstring after 10 minutes resulting in a centre mid playing at the back,” Cygan said.

“We had no fresh substitutes, so Aiden Chorley played 60 minutes on the wing after playing reserves and did very well.”

Meanwhile, South United were too good for Moore Creek. The full-time score, 2-0.

On Sunday, Moore Creek scored a 4-0 win over Kootingal, while Gunnedah drew 2-2 with South United. North Companions were defeated by OVA 2-1.

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