Bobcats suprise favourites
By Grant Neilson
Lismore premier league soccer
IN their opening match in the Far North Coast Premier League football competition the Maclean Bowling Club Bobcats and the Byron Bay Rams treated the spectators to one of the highest class games of football seen at Maclean in a long time.
In an open, free-flowing match that ended in a 1-all draw both teams showed that they have the quality to go a long way in this seasons competition.
Reigning premiers Byron Bay arrived at Maclean expecting to come away with full points, but from the opening minutes they knew they had a difficult task as the locals controlled possession and pushed forward.
Then on the break the Rams opened the scoring after 15 minutes when the bundled the ball over the line.
The Bobcats should have been on level terms five minutes later, but Izaac McClymont's penalty kick was well saved by the Byron keeper.
Although Maclean created numerous chances prior to the break the score remained 1-0 till half time.
For the opening 20 minutes of the second half the Bobcats expansive passing game was cutting Byron Bay to pieces and only brilliant goalkeeping kept the Bay in front on no less then five occasions.
Finally the Bay's luck run out when Aaron Bylos finished off another Bobcat movement and the teams were back on level terms.
The game really opened up from this point as both teams went in search of a winner and in the final 10 minutes Byron Bay appeared to be finishing over the top of the Clarence team as their fitness appeared to wilt in the heavy conditions.
But the game ended in an entertaining 1-1 draw and both coaches were left to rue missed chances.
For the Bobcats the back four all played with great poise and were well marshaled by Denver McClymont on his return to the Bobcats.
However, most will concede the Byron keeper was the player of the match as he kept his team in the game when they were under enormous pressure.
The Premier reserves match was an even more exciting affair as the young Bobcats made a remarkable comeback to win 4-3.
At the half time break the Bobcats looked down and out at 3-1 down with Lance Knibbs scoring for the locals.
But after an inspirational half-time talk from coaches Mick Corbett and Col Stephens, the Bobcats scored three unanswered second half goals to steal all the points.
Phil Hirst showed all his experience scoring once and Renald Munro twice showed a very cool head from the penalty spot to score in an outstanding comeback.