THENambucca Strikers hosted fierce rivals, Coffs United, in the first leg of the North Coast Football semi-finals at the weekend.
Coffs have had the wood over the defending champs this season but the Strikers were at full fitness and have been hitting form at the right end of the season.
The Strikers came out of the blocks firing. Clay Urquhart chased down the defence, forcing a back pass that the keeper could only clear back into his path, and the first time shot through the legs of the keeper opened the account for the locals.
It was soon two to the good when a cross from the left by Urquhart was deflected by the Coffs defender towards his own goal. The ball spun off the crossbar and the keeper’s attempt to clear saw him punch the ball into his net for an own goal.
The goals were coming thick and fast with the Strikers playing a high, pressing line led by their hard working midfielders Brad Wilkes and Lochy Paix. Wide men, Shawn Snowden and Andy Gaterell, were full of running and after a through ball was put down the right flank, Urquhart ran on un-challenged. The keeper seemed to be daydreaming and his advances were too late as Urquhart calmly slotted for an early 3-0 lead.
With the backline as tight as ever and distributing to Daniel Glasson and the rest of the playmaking midfield early, the Strikers were camped in their opponents’ half and were enjoying the lion’s share of possession. Beau Jagoe, Ricky Forbes and Dan Flack were in charge at the back with custodian, Aaron McIntosh rarely troubled.
The fourth goal was absolutely breathtaking. Ryan Flack pulled a ball down outside the 18 yard box, out on the right side, and unleashed a fierce volley that the keeper could only help into the top corner. A stunning goal and contender for goal of the season.
The fifth for the half came from the head of Cameron Molloy from close range after more pressure in the Coffs box.
It was a perfect half of football by Nambucca.
The second half saw more chances for the Strikers to increase the lead and put the two-legged tie to bed in game one.
United were next on the scoresheet, however, after being awarded a penalty, which they calmly converted. The Strikers received their own penalty moments later which Urquhart converted to make it a personal tally of three for the afternoon.
The seventh goal for Nambucca was something else, as Lawson Tinmouth found room out wide and delivered a 37 yard screamer to leave the keeper stranded. Cruise control for the Strikers.
A last goal to the visitors made the final score 7-2.
It was a wonderful display by the Strikers with every man putting in a stellar performance. Barring a calamity away to Coffs on the return leg, the grand final awaits, but the job is only half done. The away goals rule means Coffs will need to win 5-0 as a minimum. There are of course more permutations but the Strikers will be heading to Maclean St, Coffs, with the same attitude as always … to win the match. Come along to support the lads from 3pm.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.