Grafton’s Reese Masters (left) chases Shorn Kippax.
Grafton’s Reese Masters (left) chases Shorn Kippax.

Westlawn mows down City Bulls

SATURDAY’S soccer action at McKittrick Park featured the visiting Westlawn Panthers who downed Grafton City Bulls 5-0 in third division.

The second division Grafton City Rhinos did not participate in the day’s entertainment as they had a bye.

The fourth-placed Westlawn Panthers travelled to McKittrick Park looking to consolidate their place while the Grafton City Bulls were hoping to arrest a three-game losing streak and move off the bottom of the table.

However, as the respective places on the points table might seem to indicate, it was the Panthers who proved far too classy for their cross-town rivals.

Both teams began strongly in a see-sawing first 10 minutes. . But Westlawn took the lead on the quarter-hour mark when a corner kick fell at the feet of an unmarked David Groth who slammed home from short range.

From this point, Westlawn began to control the ball better than their City opponents and on several occasions nearly caught out the Grafton defence on the fast break. The Panthers were winning most of the 50- 50 contests while the City players were standing off, something you just can’t get away with at this level.

This was proven after 30th minutes when Shorn Kippax was fed a nice through ball from midfield and then sent his shot low from just inside the penalty area to beat the diving City goal-keeper.

The City Bulls had two excellent scoring chances just before halftime but neither Jamie White nor Reece Masters were able to find the back of the net so it was Westlawn who went to the break with a 2-0 advantage.

The second half was only three minutes old when Westlawn scored their third goal. Paul Stockton was at the end of a cross from left field and unmarked he had plenty of time to slot home the goal although his shot was partially blocked by City keeper Ray Hanna.Two minutes later, the Bulls nearly pulled a goal back but Luke Sopchak’s deflected shot sailed over the crossbar. Fifteen minutes later, Jason Limbert for City received an excellent cross after good lead-up work from Shannon Connor but his shot scraped paint off the bar, rather than rattling the back of the net.

Five minutes later Westlawn had no such problems, converting at the other end when defender Michael Bowles made a break from centre field and found himself in the clear with only the keeper to beat. The goalkeeper came off his line to narrow the angle and half blocked the shot.

The Panthers were soon again on the board when a long-range shot from a fairly acute angle by youngster Anthony Wall just snuck over the City keeper’s outstretched gloves into the corner of the net. By this stage of the match, the City players had had enough and most were going through the motions waiting for the full time whistle.

Best on field for the City team were young defenders Luke Sopchak and Jordan Marsh. Although the opposition scored plenty of goals, there would have been lots more had it not been for the tireless efforts of this duo.

In next week’s matches, both Grafton City sides are away from home.

Third division travels to the coast to take on top-of-the-table Iluka FC with the action kicking off at 1pm. The second division City Rhinos venture to Coffs to tackle Coffs United Lions at 3pm.

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