Raiders held to a draw by the Maclean Bobcats

Chaney Simmonds in action with the Urunga Raiders.The Raiders have moved to third on the competition ladder courtesy of their 6 nil romp over the Boambee Bombers, with the Maclean Bobcats just a point behind in 4th spot on a competition table as congested as the Bray Street intersection at Easter last weekends match started to have season defining ramifications for both sides.
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The Raiders only change being Adam Marks in to replace Frankie La Spada and Jason Hillier the Center referee in his customary periwinkle blue tunic released the sides at 2pm on a soft Cabbage Patch. You could say that the Bobcats did well on the day given that they weren’t there for the opening 15 minutes and so only played for 80 but that would be too kind.

The Raiders with a ‘carpe diem’ attitude took the opportunity presented by the Cats slow start and the lead 3 minutes after the whistle had left the thin lips of Mr Hillier. Tommy Frewen rounded the Bobcats (and Ex Raider) Sam Ireland whose clumsy challenge was wisely ignored by Hillier advantage given, Frewen chipped the ball for Ben Dooley to advance on goal and slot past Graham Greenkeeper the Bobcats custodian. It was the dream start for the home side and it woke the Bobcats to the challenge ahead as they started to climb out of the bus and into the game.

‘Freight train’ Fraser Robinson began to bounce around and off the Raiders back four always looking for any advantage, and eventually found one 23 minutes in skating down the right flank and driving into the Raiders penalty area with as much subtlety as the carbon tax.

You know what I mean, you think its going to hurt and it does, yep, that’s Fraser ‘a carbon tax’ of a player. His shot looked to be covered by Jake Tarrant but slipped from his grasp and was finished on the far post by Patrick Delaney to even the score, extinguish any previous maroon and white advantage and send the sides to the sheds at 1-1.

The break suited the Bobcats, they began to use a glut of possession and really pressure the Raiders back four, Jacob Leslie and Robbie Marshall both not only making several keys tackles to deny the visitors but also able to set up a way out of defence for the home side. The Bobcats however were given a corner off one such tackle and were able to find the net via the ‘freight train’.

Look he’d read the flight of the ball like Stiltsy reading the form guide at the OVH, checking his run and then accelerating to punch in a header from point blank that Jacob Tarrant later confessed to being happy to not be in the way of. Well he couldn’t be Tarrant was mid goal and in traffic as Robinson head hit the ball like a hammer meets an anvil (or so I’m told) yes the slap of plastic on skull and the Bobcats 2-1 leaders but a good 35mins to go this for mine was the best part of the match.

The Bobcats with one eye on the clock and the other on the increasing pressure the Raiders were beginning to assert, probably thinking how they might savour the three points surely coming their way.

But the Raiders unbeaten at the Cabbage Patch all of this season and last were not going quietly into the night. Robbie Marshall able to hit the post after a midfield drive followed by a deceptive shot that the Geenkeeper had given up on ricocheting off the far post, it was so close and that after Gary Carmichael had nearly put the ball in his own net trying to clear a Chaney Simmonds cross.

The Raiders late changes and altered formation were creating more opportunities and free kicks for the home side. Sam Ireland again the transgressor 23m from goal as he clattered into an innocent Homes. Hillier awarded the direct free kick to the Raiders and this is where it all went pear shaped for the visitors.

As they argued with Hillier, Paul Pomroy realizing time was of the essence placed the ball correctly and prepared to fire only to be met with several clearly offside Bobcats players led by Sam Ireland but this did not not deter Pomroy who thumped in the equalizer just past Stiltsy’s right earhole and into the vacant Maclean net needless to say the Bobcats were not impressed however the goal was awarded.

The symmetry did not go unnoticed by Raiders coach Tom Campbell as it had happened to the Raiders in round three at Toormina as the Urunga players remonstrated with the referee Sawtell whacked in the winner before the wall was set and again at the Cabbage Patch.

Well not a winner but it felt like a 2-2 win for the home side as both sides left the field with a final even scoreline probably a fair result on the day.

In other results the U21s had a resounding 7-1 win over the Bobcats they stay on top of the table, the U/17s thumped Nambucca 7 nil as well to remain on top. While the women’s matches were called off due to ground conditions umm no not gravel either just water. The next match for the Raiders will be v Sawtell at the Cabbage Patch on Sunday 22nd July.

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