Kempsey Saints Football Club travelled to Taree last Saturday to take on the Wildcats. It was an important match for both clubs with the league ladder starting to divide into two halves full points would move the winner more securely into the top half.
Saints has never found Omaru Park a happy hunting ground as Taree have far greater success at home on their small field and with the other home ground advantages that many of the southern clubs get making points difficult for visitors.
Taree found Saints out early and showed greater enthusiasm and intensity from the start.
They took advantage of being a bigger team than Saints and won possession on nearly all the 50/50s with far more clever gamesmanship than the visitors were capable off.
Taree got an early break when a play down Saints right hand side went untracked and the ball had to be played out for a corner.
The ensuing corner went through several nearside defenders and found an unmarked Taree player in front of goal who put away a simple header.
Taree continued on and another run down the right hand side saw a Taree player come down in the box twice in the same tackle and a dot shot was awarded for his efforts.
This took the home side to a two goal lead which was the score at the break. Saints returned and slowly played themselves back into the game.
Clearly Taree were now playing deeper to protect their lead and Saints keeper Jacob Lyttle was rarely troubled in the second half other than with the obligatory long balls from the Wildcats.
Saints looked like they might get one back with several good chances going unrewarded in front of goal.
The last 15 minutes was Saints best but was way too little too late and showed how the game could have been if they had turned up at the first whistle.
The conditions worsened with strong winds and rain late in the game and the referee finished the game without the required stoppage time.
Coaching staff has some decisions ahead with several players taking until late in the game to show any real intensity.
With only 9 games left in the regular season, Saints needs to play their best football far more consistently. Top Pub Top Player was midfielder Dave Henry and Coach’s Award went to Shae Baff.
Reserve grade turned it on in their match with a far better display of football than the previous week.
Coach Alex Breckell obviously had been working hard through the week as it was a side with far greater direction and drive than the one that drew against Port Saints.
This one was never in doubt and a 4-0 win to the visitors showed that Reserve Grade doesn’t find the trip south daunting at all.
All football is off over the long weekend and Saints take on West Kempsey rivals the Macleay Valley Rangers in their next game on Saturday June 16.