Maclean Bobcats’ Brad Usher (left) haggles with Orara Valley at the Maclean Showgrounds.
Maclean Bobcats’ Brad Usher (left) haggles with Orara Valley at the Maclean Showgrounds.

Bobcats on prowl

THE Maclean Bobcats premier league side continued its strong start to the 2010 season on Saturday evening with a 3-1 over the Orara Valley Dingoes at the Maclean Showgrounds.

The Bobcats went into the match with several key players missing through injury and the disruption was evident in the first 25 minutes with the slick Dingoes outfit controlling possession and mounting pressure on the Bobcats.

Had it not been for Maclean’s well-organised defence and some great goal keeping, the team would have trailed early and could have found it hard to recover against such a quality side as Orara. Then against the run of play, the Bobcats underlined their promise when taking the lead with one of their very first chances. On debut, Tom Whalan latched on to the end of a long throw to smash the ball home from close range and hand the Bobcats an unexpected 1-0 lead.

This seemed to spark the Bobcats into action. After working hard to assert their dominance, the Bobcats made it count just before halftime when livewire Broden Hirst went on a penetrating run, teeing up Jesse Browning who showed class to calmly slot home at the far post and hand Maclean a 2-0 lead at the break.

In one of the best halves of football so far this season, the Dingoes were unlucky to head into the sheds two goals down. Ten minutes into the second half, it looked as though their luck was beginning to change when controversially awarded a penalty. Despite the linesman signalling for a free kick to the Bobcats, he was ignored by the referee who awarded in favour of Orara and the subsequent dot shot was calmly dispatched to bring the score back to 2-1. A physical battle ensued with both midfield units working tirelessly. It wasn’t until with 20 minutes to go that the Bobcats were able to put the Dingoes’ challenge to bed. The impressive Hirst was again the provider, running on to a Matt Bryant switch before cutting the ball back to Frazer Robinson who smashed the ball home from the edge of the box for a 3-1 scoreline. .

Bobcats coach Grant Neilson was reluctant to talk up the victory too much, instead focusing on areas for improvement. “I’m very happy with the result,” he said. “Orara are a well-coached team and they’re hard to break down so I’m pleased that our guys kept pressing all game and got the result.”

In other games, the Bobcats Youth team had a 4-0 victory over the previous table-topping Orara. Pat Delaney was inspirational, scoring the first with a free kick before teeing up Grant Neilson and Dom Haupt for the next two.

The Bobcats women’s side also had a great victory, exacting some revenge against Urunga, the side they lost to in last season’s grand final. But the under-strength men’s third division side went down 6-1 to a well-oiled Iluka.

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