A few hours after the Socceroos went down 3-1 to Chile, the Seahorses had a similar encounter at Bangalow. The similarities include the scoreline – a 3-1 loss and the fact that the result that did not reflect the tenacity of the Seahorses outfit. The major difference, however, was the quality of the refereeing which seemed of a higher standard than that observed in the World Cup match.
After a lacklustre performance from both sides in the first half the Bangalow Bluedogs scored a lucky long range goal mid-way through the second half that wrong footed Ballina’s ‘keeper Lockie Brenton to trickle into the near post. A few minutes later Bangalow snatched their second with a floating cross that hit both uprights before spinning over the line.
The two goals had the effect of motivating and frustrating the Ballina boys and this showed with some wayward shooting from way outside of the box. However coach Chris Layland changed the tempo of the game by making three late substitutions, the evergreen Justin Stockham, the flashy TJ and the dynamic Ben Presbury. They combined their talents to open up the Bluedogs defence and Ballina scored 15 minutes from full time with a nice ball through to Ben Presbury who delivered a knock out cross to the feet of Matt Jeffery who neatly found the back of the net.
It was all Ballina in the last ten minutes with numerous chances that could have easily earned them a point. The highlight was a stunning desperate slide into the Bangalow box from Matt Jeffery which left a gigantic skid mark across the opponent’s goalmouth. In a case of world cup déjà vu the earlier scoreline was emulated with Bangalow securing their third goal against the run of play in extra time.
Next week Ballina face another local derby against the Lennox Sharks – Ballina were not at their best last round and they will look forward to securing the three points in front of their home crowd at Saunders Oval next Saturday – come along and support your team – kick off 3pm.