Premier League combatants likely to be missing key players for local derby

NORTH Companions might have paid a heavy price for an 8-1 thrashing of Gunnedah Hawks in Gunnedah on Saturday.

The Gavin Thompson-coached side lost stalwart midfielder Ben Todd (ankle) and young striker Jake Thompson (dislocated collar bone) during the clash at Wolseley Park.

It dampened their celebrations as they prepare for a big local derby against an Oxley Vale Attunga side which also had a good 7-nil win over Namoi United in Tamworth. 

But OVA has its own problems too and could also be missing key players for this Saturday’s derby.

Adam Watson returned from a hamstring injury for OVA in second grade to score a hat-trick of goals but might have re-injured the muscle while striker Luke Purcell picked up a fifth yellow card and will miss the match.

Ben Genardini and Brendan Fergie both grabbed goal doubles with Chris Fenton, Matt Dunn and Glenn McKnight also on the scoresheet for OVA.

At Johnson Field in Tamworth Gunnedah United were looking capable of upsetting Tamworth FC when they led 1-nil after a brilliant Andy Cygem strike.

A great goal by Michael Roberts, the first of his hat-trick, levelled  the game at 1-all before Matt Budden’s desperate tackle earned him a red card, Tamworth FC a penalty and a 2-1 lead.

Roberts completed his hat-trick while Ben Finn, who replaced the  hard working Cameron Potter, also scored to give the reigning premiers a 4-1 win.

“The scoreline was no reflection of our performance,” Richard Grant told The Leader.

“We were up for the game; Andy scored a great goal from 30m, we were playing passionate, tough and strong, working our backsides off against a good side.”

However Budden’s tackle, the last man in defence, was a killer.

Tamworth FC coach Wayne May said his side fought back well in the second half.

“We had a new backline and it took a while to gel,” he said.

“Steve Marshall and Kelly Nystrom were both out but Jeffo (club stalwart Robert Jeffery) and Hayden Davidson filled in admirably with Michael Roberts pushing up front, where the  Englishman created plenty of chances too.

In Northern Conference matches North Armidale beat Guyra United 6-nil in Guyra and Inverell’s Joeys FC beat East Armidale 1-nil at the Inverell Sports Complex.

NORTHERN CONFERENCE: North Armidale 33, Joeys FC 32, East Armidale 22, Demon Knights 22, South Armidale 21, Guyra United 4. SOUTHERN CONFERENCE: Tamworth FC 33, North Companions 33, OVA 32, Gunnedah United 13, Gunnedah Hawks 7, Moree FC 6, Namoi United 6.

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