Two goal hero Scott Mooney engineers 5-0 victory for Nelson Bay FC

Nelson Bay FC first grade midfielder Scott Mooney (right) scored two goals in the 5-0 win over Southern Lakes. Photo: Shoots and Scores Photography.

A ROUSING performance by midfield maestro Scott Mooney has spurred Nelson Bay FC Men’s first grade side to a winning start in the 2024 Newcastle Football Zone Three competition.

The club warrior nabbed two goals in a dominant 5-0 away victory at Southern Lakes as the revamped Bay line up showed they will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Mooney snared a brace of goals either side of a pin-point attacking header by talented target man Nathan Willoughby in a sharp display to earn the Players’ Player of the round award.

Midfield ace Joel Ingram and speedy winger Dylan Baillache rounded up the scoring for the Bay.

Head Coach Shaun Shelley praised the efforts of his new group and described the emphatic first-up victory as “a positive start to our top grade campaign”.

It followed the club’s third round exit from the National Football Australia Cup after a 5-2 loss to Cardiff City.

In reserve grade action Nelson Bay secured all three points after a decisive 2-0 triumph following neat goals by Steve O’Dea and Bailey Meir.

The rejuvenated squad that includes the leadership team of O’ Dea, Adam Strath and Alex Gray and featuring several promising juniors from the club’s Under 18 ranks, gave a strong showing in their first League game of the season.

Experienced mentor Shelley is in the unique position of operating both men’s and women’s first grade squads, ably supported by men’s Assistant Coach Jakob Graham and Johnny Andrijic (womens).

Shelley has set some realistic targets for both groups.

“We are aiming to build on the finals appearances in the men’s senior sides from last season,” the astute Shelley told News Of The Area.

“Coaching is the easy part; we need to build belief in this new group and create a culture to show our players and community we are a team they can get behind – for today and the future,” he added.

An excited Shelley steps into the role having bolstered his men’s squad after recruiting 32 registered players across first and reserve grade – eighteen of which are new to Zone League football.

To support the structure a leadership group within the playing squad has been established, with Lachlan Rowan, David Nicholls and seasoned campaigner Mooney leading the way.

All eyes will be on Naran Singh, a skillful number ten recruited from Armidale.

The Bay will look to Singh as the playmaker to keep things ticking over in midfield, ensuring speedsters Baillache and Jarryd Clifton receive plenty of service to create opportunities for sharp-shooter Willoughby and Blake Sibbald to find the back of the net.

Other players of note to watch are giant goalkeeper Matt Guest, who joins the Bay after a stint at Newcastle Croatia, along with Mooney, Strath and Josh Oldham offering experience and guidance.

Stalwart David Nicholls will be sidelined for up to twelve weeks with a broken collarbone and the capable Strath (broken toe) which will test the club’s depth.

Nelson Bay FC will host fixtures at home against Lambton Jaffas this Saturday April 20 and Lake Macquarie on April 27.

By Chris KARAS

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