Bobcats edge out City Bulls
THE Maclean Bobcats came away with the points in a hard-fought and important 1-0 victory over Grafton City Bulls on the Maclean Showground on Saturday.
With each team having only secured a solitary point for a draw from their first three outings, the two sides were keen for a victory to stay in touch with the competition front-runners.
An under-strength Grafton, with only one bench player, had the benefit of a tailwind in the first half, but failed to exploit this and both teams took a while to settle.
The playing surface did not help as the field was fairly rough, no doubt from the show the week before. With the two sides jockeying to establish early dominance, it was Maclean who looked the more organised of the two. City could not capitalise on some excellent scoring opportunities in front of goal and exactly the same could be said of the Bobcats who also squandered some great chances. City’s best chance of the half came from striker Jamie White just before the half-hour mark when he broke down the middle of the field only to see his shot pass wide of the right-hand upright after the Maclean goalie had narrowed the angle by coming off his line.
With only a couple of minutes left before the break, City midfielder Sean Bentley found himself in the clear, but again the shot on goal by City was just wide of the target.
The second stanza began with a flurry of scoring chances, and at one stage the Maclean attackers were queuing up for shots at goal only to be denied by City keeper Ray Hanna.
At the other end of the park Jamie White nearly opened the scoring for City in the 11th minute when he dribbled into the box only to have his shot blocked one on one by the Maclean keeper. A minute later, Jamie nearly made amends, but this time his shot just grazed the right-hand post from a tight angle.
Just on the quarter-hour mark, it was Maclean who finally scored the only goal of the day’s proceedings. A corner from the right side of the field was headed home by an unmarked Michael Graham from close range, giving the City goalie no chance at all. Shortly after the goal, Bobcat attacker Toby Walters, who had been causing the City defence problems all day, was unlucky not to double the Maclean lead when his shot went into the side netting rather than between the sticks. With only a couple of minutes remaining on the ref’s watch, City youngster Michael Cooper made a break down the left only to see his shot saved by a diving goal keeper.
Next week, the action returns to McKittrick Park where the City Bulls take on the Westlawn Panthers in third division with the action kicking off at 1pm. The second-division City Rhinos can relax next weekend as they have a bye.