A tale of two halves for Gunnedah

GUNNEDAH United could have “thrown the towel in” when it slumped to a 5-1 half-time deficit against North Companions in Saturday’s NIF Premier League clash at Marius Street in Tamworth.

Instead, the Richard Grant-coached side elected to have a dig and play some football.

That was complemented by Andy Cygem’s strike in the opening minute to make it 5-2.

Cygem added another 20 minutes later for a 5-3 score but,  try as they might, the visiting royal blues couldn’t find any further replies.

The first half was a “debacle”, Grant said.

“They scored one in the third minute and we replied (Dale Roberts) in the 10th and things didn’t look too bad but then they scored another in the 14th and two more almost straight away.

“We weren’t playing that badly but we made some mistakes and they punished us for them.

“Their five goals were all nice goals too, well worked and good team goals – a couple of screamers and a couple with nice touches.

“We just didn’t have an answer.”

Dale Robert’s goal was also a “screamer” from outside the box.

Grant said “the boys were pretty animated at half-time” and vowed to do something about their four-goal deficit.

That they did respond with a good second-half display was one of the positives for the United coach.

“They (North) did get a bit nervous when we got back to 5-3 and they tightened up a lot, played a percentage game.”

He thought   Cygem was outstanding.

“He might be pushing 40 but he’s a wily old campaigner,” he said.

“He took his chances well.

“Rob Pryor was crook from the flu too and that took a lot of his power.”

Dale Roberts was good in midfield against the likes of Ben van Aanholt and Ben Todd, who dominated parts of the game.

“The pleasing part was that we didn’t throw the towel in,” he said.

“We’ve got South Armidale at home this week and it was important to respond in the second half.”

Across Tamworth, the Tamworth FC-Oxley Vale Attunga Mushroom local derby also featured a game of two different halves.

Tamworth FC led 2-nil at half-time at Scully Park after goals from Chris Hughes and Michael Roberts.

Ben Genardini and Adam Watson then equalised in the second half before Kurt Barrow headed home the winner for Tamworth FC.

“We came back at them in the second half,” OVA coach Tim Coates said.

“It was 2-all for a while and then they scored to make it 3-2 from an error by our defensive unit.

“I don’t thnk they were the better side –  the wind and conditions played a big part in the game. 

“Tamworth FC were more creative off their heads, used the long ball.”

Losing  Watson when he aggravated his hamstring didn’t help midway through the second term.

Glenn McKnight and Ryan Searl were the best for Mushies.

Tamworth FC’s best was goalkeeper Troy Osborne.

“We knew they would throw everything at us in the second half,” FC coach Wayne May said.

“They scored two good goals early in the second half but the boys hit back, scored the winner and had a couple of other good chances too.”

“Bart Twyford also caused a lot of problems for the Mushies with his long throw-ins.”

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