Nelson Bay FC juniors advance to second round of Newcastle Football Youth Cup tournament

Nelson Bay FC’s talented Under 13s/1 team have advanced to the second round of the prestigious Northern NSW Football Youth Premier League Cup.

NELSON Bay Football Club continues to unearth exciting talent across the Port Stephens region.

Established for 50 years in the Newcastle Football Association and renowned for its thriving junior development system, the Bay have reaped plenty of dividends with a long list of honours in both the male and female ranks.

The historic club recently showcased its current crop of rising juniors in the prestigious Northern NSW Football Youth Premier League Cup.

This tournament is exclusively for those teams competing in the NNSWF Junior Youth Premier League top-tier systems – beneath the National Premier League adult competition – with community clubs featuring teams in A Grade open to compete.

Nelson Bay FC entered their Under 13/1 and Under 14/1 squads, who both compete in the A Grade Inter District series, in a double header opening round fixture against Thornton Redbacks at Alan & Don Lawrence Sports Field.

The revamped Bay Under 13s side registered a 5-all draw with the Redbacks after regulation time but advanced to the second round 3-1 on penalties.

After a slow start with a new lineup and playing a different system, the Bay struggled to find momentum and errors led to conceding goals.

The players rallied and continued to play positive expansive football and despite trailing 5-3 at the break produced a spirited second half revival and held their nerve to move directly to knockout penalties.

Nelson Bay’s talented goalkeeper Misha Gutsulyak proved the hero – making two extraordinary saves to deny the higher ranked Thornton team progress.

Best on ground was the Bay’s hat trick ace and key striker Toby Kidd with team mates Zac Hearfield and Henry Lilly also among the goal scorers.

All three converted their penalty attempts to help the Bay advance.

Nelson Bay’s promising midfield playmaker Zane Gollan stole the show as the Under 14s recorded an emphatic 5-0 victory over the Redbacks.

Gollan demonstrated his silky skills as the Bay gained the upper hand in a strong midfield battle – creating chances for the pacey forwards using the full width of the pitch.

Fred Ball opened the scoring just before the break after capitalising on a flowing move from the left wing with a ball cut back and smashed into the net.

The Bay hit their straps after the interval, converting chance after chance and playing neat short pass possession football to carve open the Thornton defence.

Second half goals from Gollan, Harper Bradley, Noah Dunphy and winger Ashton Kime sealed a comprehensive triumph and set up another Youth League Cup double header against Broadmeadow Magic at Tomaree Sports Complex..

Nelson Bay FC Head of Coaching Steve Punshon told News Of The Area that having two junior community sides in the second round of the coveted Youth League Cup was “no mean feat”.

A proud Punshon praised the Under 13 and Under 14 coaches, managers and playing squads for their preparation and application.

“Our teams are showing bravery, taking on the challenge of higher ranked teams so early in the season which is a great opportunity for the coaching staff and players to get some valuable game time and enjoy the excitement of the Cup,” reflected Steve.

“Playing against higher ranked opponents in the next round will require a huge effort from both groups but with home support and the electric atmosphere of the Cup, you just never know,” he added.

By Chris KARAS

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