Bobcats caught in finals limbo
FOOTBALL: The finals hopes of the Maclean Bobcats hang by a thread after their 1-1 draw against a resurgent Westlawn Tigers outfit.
With the Bobcats sitting fifth on the North Coast Football Premier League ladder and needing the three points to close the gap on Northern Storm Thunder, sitting one spot ahead in fourth, their season all comes down to the final round of the competition.
Maclean coach Dennis Mavridis was left to rue what could have been against Westlawn. Creating opportunities but failing to take full advantage, the Bobcats were in the box seat to secure the win in the final stages of the second half.
Leading 1-0 thanks to a Luke Hanlon goal, the Bobcats looked to see out the clock until a mistake in the final two minutes had Westlawn gain possession of the ball and score in their only real attacking opportunity of the match.
"It was disappointing to see opportunities go begging, especially with the amount of possession we had in the second half. We should not have conceded," Mavridis said.
"Looking back on our year, we can't use this draw as an excuse because at the pointy end of the season we were aiming to be in a better position and now we're scrambling."
Mavridis said the match was close in the first half against an improved Westlawn, before they were able to earn the upper hand after the break.
"We controlled the ball a lot better in the second half and maintained possession a lot longer and had more intensity in our game," Mavridis said.
"There were a couple of good opportunities. Daley Durrant had a cracking shot from about 25yards out that screamed off the crossbar, and then after our first goal had another scoring opportunity close to the goal but the ball just bobbled away from him.
"In that second half we dictated play and kept them in their own half, but an uncharacteristic mistake led to a handover in possession in a bad spot and they broke away for their only real chance of the game and converted."
The draw means the Bobcats need to win against second-placed Lions and Northern Storm Thunder to lose against Coffs Coast Tigers if Maclean is to play finals football.
"We need to win, there's no other equation," Mavridis said.
"I think we can sneak a win, but obviously we will need to be on our game.
"Of the top three teams this season we haven't taken a point off any of them, which is a real disappointment, but there's no better place to start than this weekend."