Kempsey Saints Football Club made the trip to Laurieton to take on the Camden Haven Redbacks last Saturday. With both grades from each club sitting alongside each other mid-table it was vital points to move towards the top half of the table as the first round nears completion.
It is always a tough day with an away game at Laurieton with a very vocal home crowd and a bumpy pitch that never seems to play well no matter the weather conditions on the day. First grade knew they had a game on their hands from the outset, with a fast and physical game. It was clear that the Redbacks also had their eyes on full points and played a different structure from previous years with an attacking 3-5-2 causing Saints problems early in the half.
Saints adjusted and played themselves into the game. Some chances fell to both sides but scores were locked 0-0 at the break. Saints were positive with their talk and knew there wasn’t going to be too many goals in this one with tight defence from both sides.
After the break it was Redbacks who came out the best and after several plays that pressured the Saints goal they finally put one away. It was broken play and a ball that looked like it could have been cleared several times that brought Saints undone.
To the away teams credit there was no panic and Saints stuck to their game plan, too many times this year Saints has conceded a second goal immediately after conceding their first.
This game saw them retain their structure and they were awarded when a free kick about 25 metres out from the Redbacks goal was converted by midfielder Dan Baker.
Saints continued to press and were again rewarded when striker Liam “Jingu” King got the second goal.
King played himself into the right hand corner of the 18 yard box and with a clever run slipped a ball under the Redbacks keeper from a very tight angle.
The Redbacks never let up and it was game on until the final whistle. Full points to Saints with a hard fought 2-1 win. Top Pub Top Player was youngster Ryan Griffin.
Reserve Grade were desperate for full points after a week off with the Premier League bye.
Saints did not make this one easy for themselves with a very loose structure and too much one out play leading to frustration rather than chances.
The only goal of the game was scored by Saints midfielder Tom Salter to give the visitors a 1-0 win. Coach Alex Breckell has much work in front of him with this side.
They still haven’t fielded their best squad in any game this year, and when everyone is available it will be competitive to get a start in the current premiers and champions team.
Top Pub Top Player was Josh Hughes.