Nathan Wade’s half-time prediction came to fruition at Korora Oval on Saturday as Port United held off Northern Storm 2-1.
The United coach kept his message simple in the sheds as they continued their strong start to the 2021 Coastal Premier League.
Last year’s CPL southern conference champions have now claimed seven points from a possible nine on the road in the opening three rounds.
They had played well enough in patches in the opening 45 minutes that despite being a goal down, were well in the contest against the Storm.
A penalty to Matt Broderick cancelled out James Gorrie’s first-half strike before Matt Bale put United in front for the first time with 20 minutes remaining.
“I said to the boys at half-time ‘if you get one you’ll get two’ and it was like I got lucky with the prediction,” Wade said.
“They are a very good side this year and if anyone beats them on their home field they’ve thoroughly deserved it; they’re definitely top four the Storm.”
Wade’s men rode their luck early in the second half and could have gone two goals down when Storm midfielder Jyelei McKell hit the side netting.
But then they steadied the ship before holding on to claim an important victory.
It will be the confidence gained from overturning a one-goal deficit on the road that will stand United in good stead for the rest of the season.
“Last year we’d lost a couple (early in the season) and it puts pressure on the team when you look at the ladder,” Wade said.
“We’re not playing catch-up and with three away games we’re happy with seven points; we’d sign up for that any day.”
Storm coach Eric McCarthy lamented a handful of errors that proved costly.
“We put in an awesome hour, but football is a 90 minute game,” he said.
“I think a bit of panic set in when they equalised and Port were pushing so hard that I think we folded and gave it to them.
“We had a couple of guys out there who know themselves they can play better than they played on Saturday.”
The change in the game happened when Broderick converted from the spot.
“As soon as the penalty was scored, our heads seemed to drop a little bit, then we made a mistake from a throw-in and they scored again,” McCarthy said.
“We threw the kitchen sink at them but couldn’t get an equaliser.”
In other matches, Boambee were too good for Kempsey Saints in a 5-2 victory, Port Saints held off Coffs Coast Tigers 2-1 while Sawtell and Coffs United couldn’t be split in an eight-goal thriller.
Taree Wildcats’ challenging season continued when Macleay Valley Rangers ran rampant and registered a 7-0 win at Omaru Park.