Suns shaded by the Sharks
By MARK ROBINSON
DESPITE a strong second-half performance, the North Coast Suns have opened their Summer Soccer Youth League campaign with a loss, going down 2-0 to Palm Beach Sharks at Crozier Field, Lismore, yesterday.
The well-drilled Sharks gave the Suns a taste of just how tough the Summer Youth League competition is going to be and looked sharp early on, creating several half chances.
Too often the Suns gave away possession when trying to work the ball out of defence, allowing the Sharks to maintain pressure, but the Suns did manage to create several opportunities of their own.
Tom Guttormsen used his skills to conjure a chance for Eden Robinson and Joel Rudgley looked dangerous at times, but after 28 minutes it was the Sharks who broke through.
A long ball was neatly headed down for the Sharks striker to finish from close range and they almost scored again before half-time, but were denied by the agility of Suns goalkeeper Rhys Evans.
After the break the Suns looked more positive and with a strong wind at their backs, pushed numbers forward and began to trouble the Sharks' defence.
Guttormsen rattled the cross-bar with a venomous volley, but the Sharks absorbed the pressure well and put the result beyond doubt when some loose marking allowed them a late goal eight minutes from time.
There was no doubting the Suns' level of commitment, with the match becoming physical at times and tempers fraying in the second half, but coach Jonathan Harlen has some work to do in tightening up the defence.
Joel Saye and Jack Williamson didn't look comfortable in their central defensive roles and with both players possessing attacking flair, there could be changes before the trip north to play the Sunshine Coast Hawks next weekend.