TFFC Tigers versus Port FC
THE Tigers were looking to upset one of the competition front runners after the Premier League game was shifted from a very wet Tuffins Lane in Port Macquarie to Tuncurry on Saturday.
However after 10 minutes the Tigers were rocked by an early goal to the visitors, with FC’s Brad Spokes picking out Aaron Grose at the back post with a great cross that caught the Tigers napping. Not to be discouraged though the Tigers wrestled their way back into the match at around the 20 minute mark with a delightful passage of play that saw Matt Dowie improvise a great lobbed pass to Chris Ceccato, who made no mistake with a blistering half volley that cannoned in off the far post to level the score.
Port retook the lead when the Tigers defence gifted the ball back to the Port FC midfield and left themselves exposed on their right flank with Grose making no mistake again to put the visitors back in front at 30 minutes gone. Moments later Tigers keeper Scott White acrobatically tipped over a thunderbolt, before Port equalised from the ensuing corner despite the Tigers appeal for hand ball. The Tigers lost rising star Kristian Weir soon after when he aggravated an injury sustained in the previous round with the Tigers sorely missing his combination with Mitch Minors.
The second half saw the Tigers attack with renewed enthusiasm, but their opponents speed and accurate passing always posed a threat. The half was not more than 15 minutes old when Tom Brittle appeared to have fouled Grose in the Tigers penalty area, but the referee waved away the linesmans flag and allowed play to continue. The referee did however point to the spot shortly after when Brodie McGowan slid underneath Prestergard and was adjudged to have brought him down. Grose brought up his hat-trick from the spot, and it looked like the score might blow out.
However, much to their credit, the Tigers stayed in the game, with good controlled play creating good chances for Dowie, Jason Ward and Ceccato, perhaps the best falling to Brittle who just needed to get a touch to get the Tigers back on the scoreboard. The introduction of Tim Barber with a little over 10 minutes remaining saw the Tigers lift again, and it was great work from Adam Christensen and Barber that led to Minors smashing home a spectacular volley from the top of the box. Both sets of players were left scratching their heads though after the referee disallowed the goal, with the linesman adjudging Barber to have been in an offside position. Despite mounting further pressure on the FC goal late into the game, the Tigers could not score another and finished the game on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline.
The Tigers face a resurgent Camden Haven Redbacks this weekend but will be without key men Weir (injured) and Dowie (suspended). Reserves kick off at 1.15, firsts at 3pm.