Soccer star: Northern Storm’s Sam Sawtell gets away from two Maclean players.
Soccer star: Northern Storm’s Sam Sawtell gets away from two Maclean players.

Clash of best in north division

THE Maclean Bobcats’ weekend started in the most difficult way.

Needlessly forced into a weekend double header, they travelled to Lismore to take on Goonellabah on Saturday in an effort to win a spot in the quarter-finals of the statewide Solo Cup competition.

Goonellabah v Maclean signalled the contest between the two most dominant teams in their respective leagues on the North Coast, Goonellabah being the undefeated leaders of the FFNC Premier League against Bobcats who were yet to drop a point in the NCF First Division.

Then on Sunday the Bobcats had to travel to Coffs Harbour because opponents Northern Storm had refused to reschedule their NCF league encounter.

As expected ,the Goonellabah Hornets started strongly in Saturdays Solo Cup encounter but the Bobcats’ disciplined defence served them well. In a free-flowing opening stanza it was the Bobcats who were more threatening and on the 25-minute mark they took the lead.

A ball deep into the box fell to Jesse Browning on the point of the penalty area and his cross-come-shot floated inside the far post to give the Bobcats a 1-0 edge. The goal was perhaps fortunate but placed in a dangerous area to create the indecision in the Hornets defence.

The game ebbed and flowed from there but a sweeping Bobcats move released former Goonellabah winger Brodon Hirst and his switch to another former Hornet favourite in Jarrad Doyle to stab home a second for the Bobcats was as ironic as it was hurtful for the FFNC front runners.

The second half was no less intense, with the two top NSW North Coast sides going head to head in the newly formed Solo Cup.

Both teams had their chances to add to the score but even Hornets coach Mark Ambler was to concede that the better team won on the day. Ambler went on record on NBN television prior to the match stating that the winner of this match “had claims to the being best team on the entire North Coast”.

Whilst the Bobcats are far from convinced that is the fact, they are proud to join fellow NCF teams Woolgoolga and Coffs United in the quarter finals of the Solo Cup in a sign of the strength of NCF.



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