review

GARANG HAT-TRICK WEATHERS STORM AS LIONS ROAR AGAIN

Who can beat Coffs City United?

That question will again swirl around the grounds in the Coastal Premier League after the Lions found the back of the net five times in a comfortable 5-0 win over third-placed Northern Storm on Sunday.

The Storm was riding their own wave of success having tasted defeat just once in their previous seven fixtures ahead of the top-of-the-table clash.

They had no answers for Lions marksman Mabior Garang who scored a hat-trick as Glenn Williams’ men went on with the job in the second half after they led 1-0 at the break.

“He had their defence doing cartwheels and running in circles. He was pretty tough to mark and handle, but it was a good result,” Williams said.

“I’m not going to say we dominated the game because I want to stay fairly level-headed, but at no stage did I think they were going to threaten us particularly in the second half.”

The win was the Lions’ seventh-straight and they have not conceded a goal in their last four matches.

They have scored 13 goals in their last 360 minutes of football, but could have scored a few more.

“Even though it was frustrating we didn’t score goals (in the first half) because their ‘keeper made a couple of cracking saves, we kept grinding and that was the pleasing thing,” Williams said.

“If you have a bit of arrogance it could frustrate you if things don’t go your way.”

Storm coach Eric McCarthy said his side were simply outplayed, especially in the second half.

“I don’t think we had a chance in the second half because we pushed on, but play broke down and they’re devastating on the counter-attack,” he said.

“Our midfield and our attack were off the pace. You can’t be relying on a back four and a ‘keeper to be keeping you in the game. There are eleven guys on the field and too many didn’t perform.”

They had no answers to Garang’s pace and strength on the ball.

“Mabior is skilful, fast, and surprisingly strong for an 18-year-old and there’s a bit of steel in him. He loves the physicality and he’s good at it,” McCarthy said.

“He has to be leading the golden boot. The kid is a freak. He’s brilliant.”

In other matches, Port United slipped to seventh spot as they slumped to a fourth loss from the last five matches in a shock 4-1 defeat to Coffs City Tigers at Dixie Park.

Kempsey Saints moved into fourth spot following a 4-1 win over Macleay Valley.

Port Saints conceded in the opening five minutes before they sparked into action to register a much-needed 3-1 win over Taree Wildcats to stay within sight of finals contention.

Boambee cruised past Sawtell in a comfortable 5-1 win to consolidate second position.

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