FFA Cup Review Qualifying Rounds 1 & 2 Northern Conference
The 2018 FFA Cup is officially underway in Northern NSW, with four teams through to the next stage of Qualifying as Rounds 1 and 2 took place in the Northern Conference over the weekend.
In Football Far North Coast, favourites’ Bangalow Bluedogs SC and Lismore Thistles cruised into Round 3 with emphatic wins over Casino RSM Cobras and Ballina SC respectively.
Lismore Thistles showed no signs of rust in their first competitive hit-out of the season, with an 8-3 win over Ballina on Friday night. On Sunday, Bangalow SC also scored 8 in their 8-1 win against the Cobras.
Bangalow have been an ever-present in the Northern Qualifying Rounds since 2016, though have never made the FFA Cup NNSW Quarter-Final Playoffs in Speers Point. Club President and stand-in coach Paul Hanigan said the aim this year is to make the Qualifying Rounds in Coffs Harbour.
“Sunday was our first game of the year, we’ve had a tough pre-season and everyone has been working really hard, so it was good to get the result.
“We had a decent run in the cup last year, and we’re looking to do it again. We have a stronger squad and we weren’t that far off the mark against Coffs United (in 2017), so we’re confident we can go a long way in the FFA Cup in 2018.”
Bangalow Bluedogs and Lismore Thistles join Goonellabah FC (bye) and Lennox Head FC (bye) in FFA Cup NNSW Qualifying Round 3 (FFNC).
The draw for Round 3 will take place Monday March 5th.
In North Coast Football, Coffs Coast Tigers defeated Grafton United 6-0, whilst Northern Storm FC narrowly defeated Maclean Bobcats 1-0.
Northern Storm scored an early goal and held onto their lead, though Bobcats captain Jared Doyle admitted his side should have done more with their second half chances.
“We had the ascendancy and they caught us on the break. We went into our shell, took the foot off the pedal and didn’t really play well until the second half where we had a few chances, but they didn’t go in for us.”
“No excuses really. We were patchy I guess, and lacking a bit of fitness.”
Meanwhile, Coffs Coast Tigers started their campaign well, and will look to build on their strong showing in the FFA Cup last year, where they progressed to the fifth round following some great results against Urunga Raiders and Macleay Valley Rangers.
Early signs were good against Grafton United, as the Tigers scored six in the first 45 minutes. However, the second half told a different story. Grafton shored up their defence and the Tigers’ energy faded to ensure the final score remained 6-0.
Round 2 Fixtures will be played on the weekend of the 10th/11th March, with dates and times to be confirmed. Round 2 fixtures are as follows
Northern Storm FC vs Coffs Coast Tigers
Orara Valley FC vs Boambee Bombers
Urunga FC vs Westlawn Tigers
Sawtell Scorpions vs Coffs City United FC