Kempsey Saints Football Club has just had a huge weekend with senior football playing their second round and all junior teams starting their season. The junior competitions are spread over Friday night and Saturday mornings with the competitive age groups playing clubs from Stuarts Point to Camden Haven. Saints are still receiving late registrations but with the club nearing capacity in all age groups it is struggling to fit extra players in. The club urges everyone to register earlier next year as they can then nominate more teams to accommodate all players.
Premier League continued its campaign with games against Port United but the results in both grades didn’t go as they would have liked. First Grade knew it was going to be a test of ability and character with United being a grand finalist last season. United played a tight and physical game from the outset, and were able to retain possession for longer periods of play than Saints. This put Saints under pressure but they were able to still play football with the first 20 minutes, outside backs Josh Wilson and Lachlan Jay got themselves high on each side of the field and were heavily involved in all aspects of Saints game.
An attacking raid by United into the Saints penalty box saw an accidental handball by a Saints defender penalised by the referee. United went one goal up despite the best efforts of keeper MJ Sultana. The half finished in a real arm wrestle with United having the better of the contest.
Early in the second half a United player weaved through an empty channel in the Saints midfield and put United 2-0 up. This goal seemed to deflate Saints with is simplicity and shortly after a cross from the right found an unmarked United attacker who fired a rocket of a shot into the top corner of the Saints goal to make it three.
Saints did rally and Tristan Smith showed Saints could also score from outside the box, when he cleverly lost his defender and floated one into the top left corner of the United goal. This made it 3-1 and Saints were unlucky when striker Liam King put another chance just wide of the mark. The final 20 minutes of the game was all United and Saints played survival football. United finished twice more to make the final score 5-1. Top Pub Top Player was Smith and Coaches Award to Josh Wilson.
Reserve Grade saw a seven game unbeaten run come to an end with a narrow 1-0 loss. Being last year’s Premier and Champions, Saints has a target on themselves with every team going to lift to try and knock them over. Saints fielded a very young and inexperienced side that will get much out of the encounter and will definitely improve with more game time. Top Pub Top Player and Coach’s Award went to youngster Josh Hughes.
This weekend is a break for all competitions but Saints Premier League has the third round of the national knockout the FFA Cup. Saints takes on its Port namesakes with a trip to Coffs Harbour International Stadium awaiting the victor.
Kempsey Saints needs to show much more consistency for longer periods of time than it did against United to be competitive. Coaching Director Matt Baker has been working hard through the week on components of the game that were lacking last weekend. This is the only home game Saints has in the FFA Cup and invites all football fans to come along to Eden St for a 3pm kick-off.