NORTH Companions might have had a slow start to their new NIF Premier League season at Moree on Saturday but it quickly warmed into a five-goal success.
The Men In Black overcame a tardy first 15 minutes to take control of the game and ease their way to a 5-1 win after a 1-nil second grade success.
Coach Gavin Thompson was delighted by the efforts of his new-look side which has lost a number of key players in the off season.
However the likes of Zach Cam, Will Kam, Jake Thompson, Nick Bowden and Ben Todd led the way brilliantly for a side which also had 15-year-olds Matt Clarke and Matt Kelly making impressive Premier League debuts.
Moree had threatened early and went close to scoring from a header in the first 10 minutes but the visitors slowly worked their way into the game before taking control midway through the first half.
Cameron Hyde’s good work paved the way for a good pass to Kam which he slotted for the first goal of the season.
Then David Ifield produced a solo run from midfield to beat a number of defenders and then calmly slot the side’s second
Up 2-nil at half time, the visitors continued their dominance in the second half, with Ben van Aanholt notching the first of his double from a goal- mouth scramble.
However Moree hit back and when Northies were adjudged to have fouled a Moree attacker, Josh O’Neill slotted the spot kick for a 3-1 deficit.
However, Northies restored their three-goal lead soon after when van Aanholt broke free on the right and rocketed the ball low into the net.
Northies also created plenty of chances but failed to take them before Jake Thompson was dragged down in the penalty box and then scored from the penalty spot for the 5-1 result.
Gavin Thompson was happy with the win which continued the good form his side showed winning the Johnson Cup pre-season tournament.
“We are fortunate to have met Moree early in the competition,” Thompson warned.
“We know the return clash later in the year will be a different proposition as key players return to fitness including super striker Josh O’Neill, who made his comeback after a major injury last season.
“We know Dipper (Darryl Smith) will have Moree peaking at the right time later in the year.
“He has a good side with a lot of quality players.”
He said Northies are not as strong as they have been but the performance of the “young guys around the old heads was pleasing”.
“At one stage we had three 15-year-olds and three 16-year-olds on the pitch,” he said.
“The PL debuts of Matt Clarke and Matt Kelly were extremely impressive with the work rate of Sam Williams – after playing a full game of second grade – sensational.
“On a sour note we lost Cameron Hyde with a possible season-ending injury.”
In the other game OVA beat Gunnedah Hawks 5-nil while the other four games were washed out and are likely to be replayed on April 26/27.
First Grade: OXLEY VALE ATTUNGA 5 (Brendan Fergie 2, Adam Watson 2, Tim Sweeney gls) d GUNNEDAH HAWKS 0.
NORTH COMPANIONS 5 (Ben van Aanholt 2, Will Kam, David Ifield, Jake Thompson gls) d MOREE 1 (Josh O’Neill gl).
Second Grade: OXLEY VALE ATTUNGA 4 (Ben Genardini 2, Matt Dunn, Tim Hassan gls) d GUNNEDAH HAWKS 2 (Charlie Vernon, Michael Kleinschafer gls).
NORTH COMPANIONS 1 (Rhys McIntosh gl) d MOREE 0.