Kempsey Saints bounced back to form in the Premier League to secure a 4-1 victory on the road against the Tuncurry Tigers to lift themselves into equal first place.
Saints set the tone early with high intensity and enthusiasm putting the Tigers on the back foot and creating plenty of chances.
Kempsey weren’t wasteful with their opportunities and their dominance was rewarded with a 3-0 half-time scoreline.
Defender Troy Ward opened the scoring with a long range effort that caught the Tuncurry goal keeper off his line.
Saints’ advantage was doubled when Dan Baker converted from the penalty spot after a Kempsey attacker was brought down in the Tuncurry box.
The final goal before the break was scored by attacking midfielder Dave Henry, who made no mistake when the ball fell to him in a dangerous position.
However, the Tigers came out in the second half determined to make amends for their poor opening 45-minutes.
The Tigers applied the pressure to the Saints but solid scrambling defence prevented them from capitalising on early opportunities.
Goal keeper Jacob Lyttle produced brilliant stops which included successfully completing a save from the penalty spot.
However, the Tigers eventually broke the defensive line of Saints and squeezed a goal passed Lyttle’s near post late in the match.
The three-goal advantage was quickly restored though as Saints’ Tristan Smith tapped the ball into the back of the neat after great lead up work from Josh Wilson.
The Top Pub Top Player of the match was awarded to Wilson who also received the Coaches Award.
The reserve grade side played out a hard fought 1-1 draw in the 2017 grand final rematch.
The even contest saw both sides struggle to create clear cut opportunities.
Tuncurry were first to score but Saints midfielder Mitch Clarke levelled the scores from a dead ball situation.
The Top Pub Top Player was shared by Clarke and Jamie Barnett, who also won the coaches award.
“Saints couldn’t be prouder of the efforts of its senior teams this year,” Saints first grade coach Kevin Sinclair said.