The Camden Haven Redbacks Premier League season continues to slide with an unprecedented third loss in a row, this time to the Taree Wildcats.
The Wildcats had a busy day on the scoreboard as the Redbacks slumped to an unbelievable 7-5 loss.
Having led 2-0 and again 5-3, the Redbacks had their opportunities to put Taree away, but they conceded four unanswered goals in a sloppy final 20 minutes.
With other games going their way, the Redbacks retain second spot but only two points separate the sides between second and sixth. Just three games remain in the competition and only five spots available in the finals.
There were still plenty of positives for Redbacks coach Simon Hancox as his team played some really good football in patches and at times during the game looked back to their best.
"It’s a difficult loss to put your finger on what exactly went wrong. To have led twice during the match, and back to playing some really good football at times, I felt we were in control of the game for long periods. But we let ourselves down in the last 20 minutes, and I personally wear the responsibility for what happened.
“As a coach, sometimes you realise you could have done more to protect the game by changing the shape on the field, and at 5-3 up with 20 minutes to go, I should have reacted to that and I didn't. I can't remember another game during my coaching or playing days with a scoreline like that, so I'm just going to shelve that one and assume I'll probably never see it again."
Toby Otto and Jeremy Robinson were the two standouts on the day. Otto scored two fantastic goals that will both be contenders for goal of the season and Jeremy Robinson worked his backside off on the flank providing outstanding goal assists for Otto’s first goal, and then to Jaryd Shaw and Ryan Squires in almost identical situations.
The Redbacks are looking for a large home crowd support to get behind the team this weekend when they take on the undefeated Wallis Lake, so come on out and support the boys in turning around the season when it counts. The last time Wallis Lake travelled to Laurieton was last years’ major semi-final when the Redbacks dominated the Forster side and qualified for the Grand Final with a 4-0 victory. It won't be so easy this time and the home side will be looking to avenge the 5-2 drubbing they copped in the first round down there. Current league ladder: Wallis Lake (37), Redbacks (29), Tuncurry (28), Taree (27), Kempsey Saints (27), Macleay Valley (27), Port United (19), Port FC (13), Port Saints (10).
Joining First Grade on the road, the Camden Haven Redbacks Reserve Grade side was needing a win to keep their slim semi-final hopes alive.
It was the home side who began the best with Taree making plenty of inroads through the Redback's defensive line. All the pressure was rewarded in the 22nd minute when an unmarked Taree player tapped the ball in at the back post for a 1-0 lead.
Two more defensive lapses before the break meant that the home side went into half time with a commanding 3-0 lead. Unfortunately the Reds were playing with little intensity and needed a huge lift to turn the game around in the second half.
The boys did lift in the second stanza, but despite playing better football, could not manage to get on the scoreboard. Taree was then awarded a dubious penalty and the game was sealed.
With a game against ladder leading Wallis Lakes next week the Redbacks need to improve in the areas of intensity and communication.