Australia Cup dream over for Coffs City United Lions

Lions chased the game in the second half.

THE dream of a place in the round of 32 in the Australia Cup ended for the Coffs City United Lions last Saturday, with the Coastal Premier League champions going down 3-1 to Broadmeadow Magic of the National Premier League.

There was a carnival atmosphere at Forsyth Park as hundreds of children chanted “Lions” to the beat of the drum and Louis the Lion whipped up a frenzy of activity, including a penalty shoot-out.

However when the referee blew the whistle the Lions began the match making a catalogue of errors, gifting Jayden Stewardson with the first goal for Broadmeadow Magic in the first minute.

The Lions regrouped and came close to scoring when Martin Kelleher lost his marker in the penalty box and nodded just wide of the post.

Ten minutes later Chris Dooley latched onto a through ball and lobbed the advancing Magic goalkeeper only to see the ball go agonisingly over the bar.

The Lions defence stood firm for the rest of the first half and the match was finely poised at 1-0 at the break.

Lions coach Glen Williams said, “I think our preparation was sound with a good hit out versus Kempsey the weekend before.

“One thing we spoke about before the game was to minimise rookie mistakes because a team like this will punish you quickly, like they did with the first goal.

“After that we settled into a rhythm and had two chances where we hit close to the target.

“Against a team like this you will only have five or six chances so you have to hit the target,” he said.

The Lions came out firing in the second half, coming close to an equaliser on a number of occasions.

As the Lions poured forward, Magic’s measured passing game exposed the gaps and Jayden Stewardson added two more goals to complete his hat-trick.

Martin Kelleher offered a glimmer of hope when he broke through the defence and slotted home with ten minutes to go as the Lions threw everything at the Magic.

It was a valiant performance which kept the crowd cheering until the final minute and a team effort which filled coach Glen Williams with pride.

“Second half we kept to our plan and we’re pressing them and creating some opportunities that we didn’t take,” he said.

“Pressing hard means leaving gaps, that turned into them scoring another two.

“With ten minutes to go we created a slight chance that Martin Kelleher calmly slotted to make it 3-1.

“To say I am proud of our effort would be an understatement, even at 3-0 down we kept pressing and had the belief that we were still in it with a slight chance.”


Leave a Reply