TAMWORTH FC claimed outright ownership of the Northern Inland Football Premier League’s Southern Conference first grade premiership lead with a 3-2 win over Oxley Vale Attunga Mushrooms in Tamworth on Saturday.
While they were forging to the outright lead in the Southern Conference at Tamworth’s Scully Park, Inverell’s Joeys FC had South Armidale Scorpions to thank for creating their outright lead in the Northern Conference.
Joeys were enjoying the bye while South Armidale downed North Armidale Redmen 3-1 on the Redmen’s home turf at Phil Wheaton Oval.
It enabled Joeys to retain a three-point lead over the Redmen, with South Armidale moving within a win of third-placed Demon Knights.
DK sit in third on 22 from East Armidale, who beat Guyra United 5-nil and now have 21 points from the Scorpions on 19.
In the Southern Conference, North Companions moved into second after a 5-3 win over Gunnedah United at Marius Street.
North led 5-1 at the break, following midfielder Nick Bowden hitting a hat-trick.
United replied with two second-half strikes from Andy Cygem to give the now second- placed Norths a scare.
North coach Gavin Thompson said it was their best first half of the season.
“It was fantastic,” Thompson said.
“We knocked it around well and created a lot of space.”
“I couldn’t fault anyone.”
The coach thinks a bit of complacency might have crept into the game as the second half unwound.
When Cygem hit a cross into the back of the net within 30 seconds of the second half starting, it kick-started United.
“We weren’t closing them down and weren’t physical enough,” Thompson said.
“We looked very suspect in defence against three strikers.”
Companions will need to play a full game if they are to get the points over Joeys FC next week.
“Every point is important now,” Thompson said.
“A top two finish is very desirable.”
Namoi United went on a scoring spree, scoring a 9-3 win over Moree FC while Tamworth FC claimed the outright lead with their 3-2 win over the Mushies.
FC led 2-nil after goals from Chris Hughes and Michael Roberts in a good first half.
However, OVA hit back strongly in the second half, with goals from Ben Genardini and Adam Watson cancelling out the FC first-half strikes.
The Mushies barely had time to celebrate their 2-all position before Kurt Barrow headed home the matchwinner in the 56th minute.