MOREE FC first grade have secured a home-ground semi-final after defeating Gunnedah United at the weekend.
The first-grade team is now sitting third on the ladder in the Southern Conference, with a four-point buffer between them and the team in fourth.
First grade coach Darrel Smith said there was a lot the team had to work on before the semis, despite beating Gunnedah four goals to three.
“We played well in patches but we need to work on our composure for the whole 90 minutes,” he said.
For the first 15 to 20 minutes Moree dominated possession but did not score.
Then their momentum dropped off and one of Gunnedah’s star forwards, Zac Garnett, managed to score the first goal.
“Before the game we had spoken about man-marking Zac, so for him to have room to score was disappointing,” Smith said.
Play stayed fairly evenly matched until just before half time when Harry Depczynski made a run down the sideline, and took a shot at goal.
The goalie managed to stop the ball but dropped it, allowing Ryan Kemp to finish off the goal.
The second half started off one all, with Moree aiming to take control in the mid-field.
The game remained even until a period of 15 minutes where both teams scored some “scrappy” goals due to defensive errors.
One remarkable goal came from Moree’s goal keeper Angus McVey putting in a long kick, which sailed all the way down to the other end of the field.
Gunnedah’s goalie and defender ran into each other attempting to defend the goal and Josh O’Neile put the last kick in about a foot away from the goal to score.
A great through ball from the mid-field allowed Kemp to run in and score his second goal of the match, sealing the game 4-3.
“Gunnedah is very physical, and move the ball around a lot,” Smith said.
“Their sweeper stopped a lot of through balls from the mid-field.”
Moree FC will now face either East Armidale or Joey’s FC of Inverell, depending on the results of the coming weekend’s games.
Unfortunately, reserve grade are not through to the semis, sitting in fifth position on the ladder.
Lyndon Madden was the first to score for Moree in the reserve grade game against Gunnedah on Saturday.
Moree dominated early on but could not keep up the momentum.
“The team kept giving up possession and making silly defensive lapses which allowed Gunnedah to score easy goals,” Smith said.
The score line ended up six to two in Gunnedah’s favour.
“It was very disappointing - the first 15 minutes is how we can play - but we stopped doing those basic things.
“There were games throughout the season that we probably should have won but didn’t. If we had we could have been in the semis too.”
Both first and reserve grades will play Wee Waa FC this Saturday.
First grade will then play the semi-final on September 1 at the Moree and District Services Club.