Narrabri Sporties FC played its final away game of the 2020 Namoi Soccer League season on Saturday and got the job done with a round 11 win against Wee Waa United FC.
The Narrabri side put a 4-2 round eight defeat at the hands of Wee Waa behind it to beat the defending champions 5-3 at Cook Oval.
The two sides went into the break having both scored two first half goals, but the visitors stepped it up a gear in the second stanza, outscoring Wee Waa 3-1 to secure all three points.
Despite conceding three goals, Sporties FC’s defence was impressive on the day.
In the absence of starting fulbacks Nathan Trindall and Jess O’Neil, a new-look partnership in the centre back roles between Jake Brayshaw and Matt Hall was instrumental in the victory and limited Wee Waa’s chances in front of goal.
Sporties FC goalkeeper Zaac Brayshaw was also kept busy and made several crucial saves to limit Wee Waa’s dangerous attack to three goals.
At the other end of the field Sporties FC young gun Colby Williams started the game at striker and was too hot to handle for Wee Waa’s defence in the first half, scoring both of his team’s goals, while right midfielder Brenton Cochrane put in a superb 90-minute performance in which he set up three goals and almost scored another with a thunderous volley which cannoned back out off the crossbar.
The first goal of the game was scored in the opening 10 minutes when Williams pounced on a loose ball inside the 18-yard box and calmly converted. The chance was set up by Cochrane who charged down the right edge and beat a defender before cutting inside and squaring a cross into the box. Striker Blake Jarrett got onto the end of the cross and had a shot cleared off the line by Wee Waa defender Mark Rottger before Williams ran onto the loose ball and placed it just inside the right post.
It was the start Sporties FC was after, however the hosts quickly levelled the score when Nathan Hamblin charged through the visiting team’s defence and fired a powerful strike into the bottom right hand corner.
Wee Waa’s leading goal scorer David Avery then found the back of the net to put his side ahead 2-1 with his ninth goal of the season.
Wee Waa looked set to enter half-time with that 2-1 lead, but in the 40th minute Williams scored his second when he ran onto a Cooper Brayshaw through ball and made no mistake with a one-on-one chance to make the score 2-all at the break.
Sporties FC came out firing in the second stanza and quickly regained the lead when Cochrane set up another goal.
Again, he charged down the right hand side and cut inside before whipping a powerful cross into the box. It found Jacob Sunderland on the back stick who made no mistake from close range, scoring his fourth goal of the campaign to make the score 3-2.
Midway through the second half Sporties FC doubled its lead when Jarrett scored, reacting quickest to a loose ball after a Cooper Brayshaw strike from outside the 18-yard boxwas superbly tipped onto the crossbar by Wee Waa goalkeeper Steve Phelps.
The visiting side’s fifth and final goal was scored with 18 minutes left to play when Sporties FC right back Izaac Jeffries ran onto a Cooper Brayshaw inswinging corner from the left and at the back stick headed the ball past Phelps into the back of the net.
Late in the game Wee Waa found the back of the net one last time when Alex Lucero scored the goal of the game. He ran onto a Dean Hamblin cut back from the right edge and from just outside the 18-yard box curled a shot into the top right corner.
While it was the best of the lot it was merely a consolation goal, with the full time whistle sounding soon after to confirm Sporties FC’s ninth win of the season in 11 matches.
The ladder leaders are on 28 points with a game left to play, 13 points clear of second-placed Narrabri Elevens FC which scored two victories on Friday and Saturday against Moree Services FC to jump both Moree and Wee Waa on the ladder.
In the 12th and final round of the regular season this weekend Sporties FC will host Moree Services FC at Hogan Oval, while Wee Waa United FC will host Narrabri Elevens FC at Cook Oval.
The Elevens will finish second with a win or a draw, but a Wee Waa win would see the defending champions reclaim second spot and the right to host the September 19 preliminary final.To order photos from this page click here