Bobcats’ statement win on return to Far North Coast
MACLEAN Bobcats had a flying return to the Football Far North Coast Premier League with a defiant 4-2 victory at the Richmond Rovers on Saturday night.
The Bobcats were forced to move their round one home fixture from a flooded Wherrett Park in Maclean to the Rovers’ home in Lismore, but they weren’t going to let that dampen their spirits.
Coach Dennis Mavridis commended his side on their resolve, coming away with a resounding win after trailing 2-1 in the first half.
“It’s good to get that first win. Conditions were really tough for both teams,” Mavridis said.
“On the surface it didn’t look too bad at their grounds, but once the guys started playing you could tell how soggy it was. It was really a case of whoever made the least mistakes.”
Maclean took an early lead through Fraser Marsh before the Rovers struck back with two quickfire goals before the Bobcats found a crucial equaliser to steady the ship.
“For the first 15 or 20 minutes they looked the better team, but we looked threatening every time we went forward,” Mavridis said.
“It was classic Bobcats, slow out of the box. We had a couple of opportunities to score early on but after our second goal I felt we really started to settle in. We were pretty comfortable going in 2-2 at half time.”
Mavridis said the second half was where his side started to shine, executing the game plan to perfection.
“In the second half we controlled the match really well. I was happy with the way we adjusted to some pretty tough conditions,” he said.
“We created a lot of opportunities and kept them quiet.”
The game was the Bobcats first back in the Lismore based competition and Mavridis said it was an important win against some strong opposition.
“It’s good to return with a win. Historically they’ve (Richmond) always been strong from what I’m led to believe. Winning against a side that came third last year is a really good sign for us,” he said.
“Given the conditions, as good as the win was, there is still a lot of improvement to come.”
Mavridis said he saw what he has been aiming to build at the club coming to fruition as the Bobcats build momentum for what could be a big season ahead.
“There’s a real belief coming into the players. What we’ve been working on over the last couple of seasons is really starting to work. We’ll gain a lot of confidence from this,” he said.
The Bobcats’ Championship League side didn’t fare quite as well, going down 5-0 to Mullumbimby Brunswick Valley FC in their opening encounter.
Weather permitting, Maclean will travel to the Goonellebah Hornets for a round two clash on Tuesday night and despite some key injuries, Mavridis said his side will look maintain a strong start.
“Given the weather, I really doubt that one will go ahead. We’ll just prepare and see what happens,” he said.
“The only downside from Saturday is we’ve had a couple of injuries. There’s a cloud over Fraser Marsh for Tuesday and Nelson Burgess could have three to four weeks out. It’s great to get a win but in the worst possible conditions, an injury was always on the cards.
“We should also have Josh Arndell back from suspension for our next game, whether that’s Tuesday or next weekend.”
In other results, Goonellebah beat Lismore Thistles 3-1 and results were yet to come from Alstonville vs. Bangalow, and South Lismore vs. Byron Bay.