In wet, humid conditions Optus Park played host to one of the most thrilling matches of the 2020 Football Mid North Coast season so far as Macleay Valley Rangers hosted Taree Wildcats in round 2 of the Coastal Premier League Southern Conference.
The afternoon's entertainment saw spectators go back and forth from their vehicles as rain inconsistently fell.
Rangers started the game constantly peppering the opposition goal-keeper forcing various saves and close misses however no opportunity was clear-cut.
Taree then joined the party by forcing saves from Rangers goal-keeper, MJ Sultana, and missing some of their chances.
To the ire of Rangers supporters Brett Morn was called offside in the 32nd minute after slotting away a rebound from a teammates shot.
In the 37th minute controversy struck as Taree were awarded a penalty inside the box.
Taree made no mistake making it 1-0 before again doubling the score minutes later to take an unbelievable 2-0 lead into half-time.
The Wildcats had only won one game all season and were defeated 5-0 the previous match against Port Saints, making their lead a shock for everyone at Optus Park.
Rangers coach Chris Walker said his half-time chat was positive despite the scoreline.
"I just tried to simplify it a bit, try not to get too frustrated - we definitely created a lot of opportunities in the first half we just couldn't find our target," he told the Argus.
The early stages of the second-half saw no change to the scoreline as both sides struggled to dominate with Rangers defender Troy Ward capping off an excellent performance to head away a Taree shot on the goal-line at the 60th minute mark.
From there, the Rangers onslaught and comeback was on.
Brett Morn started proceedings, putting away an excellent finish to make it 2-1.
Rangers midfielder Kurt Riordan then put in an absolute shift, creating havoc for the Taree defence.
A great run from Evan Clarke down the sideline in the 70th minute saw a cross come into the box as Riordan leapt above the pack to head in a goal and make it 2-2.
Frustration then became apparent as Taree received a yellow card for descent not long after.
Three close chances came for Rangers but none were able to break the deadlock with Taree also missing an opportunity for the winner.
Then late in the game the Rangers best combined to bring a roar from the crowd.
The ball continued to bounce around the box around the 85th minute mark and silence spread across the crowd with hearts in mouth.
Defender Troy Ward fired off a shot, forcing the keeper to parry the attempt but the head of Riordan popped up again, putting the ball in the net to finish an enormous comeback and deliver Rangers an expected win.
"I'm pretty proud of the boys efforts to comeback from 2-0 down at half-time but a bit disappointed to find ourselves in that position - it's good we were able to show some fight and comeback in the end," Walker said.
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