It wasn’t a game that reached any heights of football purity, far from it, a grafting physical affair that must’ve had Storm’s coach Jade Porter scratching his head at the break, just wondering what he had to do to get the ball past the creaking Urunga defence and Lee Kennedy the Raiders keeper. Kennedy called on more than once (along with the woodwork) in the opening 45 minutes and stood tall denying Mykel Watson on 11 minutes who hit the ball as sweet as a nut from distance Kennedy moving sharply parrying the shot. The Storm were playing an attacking style of football that the Raiders were struggling to contain. Otis Barney and Jamie Kennedy causing plenty of angst amongst the Raiders back three running straight and running hard, perhaps stretching the laws of the beautiful game at times but how else do you approach a club that you rarely get an away result from.
It was a round 11 of the North Coast Premier League competition, a round where both clubs remembered and honoured the contributions of Dixie and Rachel Erlandson who so tragically lost their lives in 2015, a shield created and played for between the two clubs since that time and currently held by the Raiders. That grip didn’t look so good in that first 45 minutes though but try as they might the Storm couldn’t crack the last line of maroon defence.
Only ten minutes into the second half and the Raiders pressing the Storm defence. Nathan Parkin finding himself a long way from his central defending position, harried by the razor sharp Aaron Searle. Searle throwing himself at Parkin in an attempt to dislodge the big fella and gain possession. Look it just didn’t work Searle bounced off Parkin somewhat akin to tennis ball hitting a wall I mean it looked really funny, anyhow Searle shook his head covered in 23-micron hair and only minutes later able to create the defining moment in the match. A move hatched in the midfield where Urunga’s Kale Hopper found Searle who was well positioned outside the Storm penalty area with a cleaver chip.
Searle able to deftly flick Hopper’s pass for Cale Simmonds to run onto. Simmonds let the ball run across his body and Nathan Skinner clattered into Simmonds, ball and all so penalty kick awarded and Hopper neatly slots past Felix Sinzinkayo. It was the only goal of the match producing a 1-0 scoreline for the home side. The Raiders certainly looked better in the closing stages, as you do 1 up at home, but the win really built upon stoic first half defending and several slices of luck.
The Raiders will be backing up that effort with a catch up match tonight (as in Wed 20/6) when they take on the table topping Boambee Bombers, what a match that promises to be. Kick offs at 6 and 8 at the Cabbage Patch. In the earlier result the Raiders Reserve grade got up 2-0, goals to Joshua McGovern and Aaron Searle (he had a big night)
Go you Raiders!