MATCH REPORT: Round 08 vs Northern Rovers FC

10 May

NRFL Men's First Team Round 08 Match Report: East Coast Bays vs Northern Rovers, Bay City Park, Saturday 6th May 2023.

Bays return to goal scoring form with big win over local rivals, Rovers 

East Coast Bays returned home after the shock loss to North Shore last week in the hope of bouncing back straight away. Sam Wilson and Michael Kolston returned to the starting line up in place of Leo and an injured Liam Andersen. Former Bays players Jason McKeown (injured) & Tom Damon (coming back from injury) were in attendance at the game. 

The game started with some pretty awful wet & windy weather. Bays made a perfect start to the game scoring in only 58 seconds. Nicolai made a break down the right and crossed to the back post. Sam brought the ball down and passed to David who shot home right footed. 1-0 to Bays in the first minute after not being able to score from 33 shots last week! Some of the Bays supporters in the clubrooms had not even settled in when that first goal was scored.

Jack played a long diagonal ball down the right flank. Nicolai cut in and his shot was blocked for a corner. Down the other end, Freddi broke down the right and his cross was just over the top of Harbottle in the middle. Louie claimed the ball comfortably. A through ball down the middle found David who strode forward & let fly just past the post. Bays had a free kick but Jack’s shot was wide & over. Mak crossed from the right but again it cleared all his teammates in the middle. A Bays break down the left saw Thomson, David & Sam link up and a cross to the centre only just cleared Nicolai.

Bays continued their relentless attacking. The second goal came in the 34th minute when Moses got the ball and crossed. David powered his inch perfect cross home, past the Rovers keeper. EC Bays now lead 2-0. Nicolai then had a left footer go just wide. Only three minutes later Bays were further ahead. A series of shots were blocked in the penalty area as Moses, Nicolai & Sam all had shots saved. From the last one the rebound fell to David and he rolled the ball home for his hat trick. Bays were 3-0 up and controlling the game comfortably. Nicolai set up Thomson who set up Sam and his left foot shot from the edge of the box went just wide. Nicolai then did one of his trademark cut ins from the right and the very busy Rovers keeper saved his left foot shot low down.

The half time whistle went and the score read EC Bays 3 Northern Rovers 0. The score line did not really reflect how even the game was in the first half but Bays were far more clinical in front of goal. The game had been quite competitive but a couple of lapses in the Rovers defence led to a couple of simple finishes for David. The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Bays had a chance to go further ahead. A break down the left led to the ball ending up in the middle but Declan sliced his chance wide from close range. Moses put in another great cross. David sent a glancing header goal wards. Edwards made a great save to claw the ball away from going into the top corner. Rovers came close to scoring when a through ball right down the middle found Freddi but as he closed in on goal, Louie was out quickly to save at his feet before being fouled in Freddi’s follow through.

Freddi was a constant presence up front for Rovers. He escaped past Jack but Louie comfortably took his cross into the middle. Down the other end, Moses was fouled just outside the box but the disappointing free kick went straight into the Rovers wall. After the free kick, Webb was booked for dissent. Rovers made their first changes in the 58th minute with McQuay & Bracken came on for Turner & Middledorp. Great teamwork between Callum, Moses & David led to a shot from Thomson going straight to the keeper. An excellent one two between David & Thomson led to Thommo’s shot going under the keeper. Luckily, for Edwards he got a faint touch on the ball to slow it down going towards his goal, before being cleared away. Kinghorn came on for Rovers in the 67th minute.

Bays made three changes with Leo, Oscar & Nick coming on for David, Thomson & Mikey K in the 68th minute. Leo made an instant impact playing a great ball down the right flank to Nicolai. He cut inside his defender and his right foot shot was saved. The rebound fell to Sam who tucked the ball home to make the score EC Bays 4 Northern Rovers 0. That was the last touch for Sam as he left the field and was replaced by Bailey in the 72nd minute. In a rare Rovers attack, James managed to block a shot by Green. Bays had a lucky escape when a Rovers shot deflected off Jack and hit the top of the crossbar. The corner was played to the back post and Webb put his free header over the bar. Bracken was then booked for a pull back on Bailey. Rovers made another change in the 76th minute with former Bays player Harry Bartlett coming on for Osborne.

In the 77th minute Callum collected a poor clearance by the Rovers defence. He played in Nicolai who burst into the box. His right foot strike deflected off a Rovers defender and beat the Rovers keeper at his near post. The score now read EC Bays 5 Northern Rovers 0. Bailey was enjoying his new role as left wing back. Leo played the ball down the left and Bailey had a right foot shot go straight to the keeper. Oscar played in Nick who played in Bailey. His first shot was blocked and his second shot hit the base of the post before going out for a goal kick. Bays made their last change in the 85th minute with Josh Coe coming on for Nicolai, who had a great all round game.

Another ball was played down the left side. Nick passed to Bailey who passed to Oscar. Oscar cut across the Rovers defence and let fly with a long-range right foot rocket. Unluckily for Oscar, the shot hit the crossbar and went out for another goal kick. Tom Shaw was then booked for a foul on Moses. There was just enough time for one more clear chance for Bays. A Callum free kick to the back post was headed down by James but Jack shot over from close range. Not long after, the final whistle went and Bays had won a good battle 5-0 against their local rivals. Now it was time to head into the clubrooms to dry out after what had been a very wet afternoon watching a great game.

Bays had deservedly won by a decent margin and bounced back straight away. With other results going Bays way they returned to the Top of the Table. David was deservedly awarded the Bays player of the day for his first half hat trick. And Bays all time record appearance maker Jason McKeown was awarded an engraved silver tray in recognition of his almost 20 years playing career at Bays. Next week it is a home tie in the Chatham Cup against Sunday league side Rapa Nui FC at the earlier kick off time of 2pm. See you all there.       

Final Score: East Coast Bays 5 vs Northern Rovers 0

East Coast Bays: L Caunter, J Edgeler, S Wilson (B Stevenson 72), C Simmonds, D Sweeney, M Akimana, N Berry (J Coe 85), M Kolston (T Kim 68), T Nkoy (N Gaze 68), D Brown (O Garcia 68), J Caunter

Northern Rovers: Z Edwards, K Friday, T Webb, M Osborne, G Freddi, J Green, T Shaw, L Harbottle, Y Mak, L Middledorp, R Turner

Subs: E McQuay 58, J Bracken 58, L Kinghorn 67, H Bartlett 76

East Coast Bays Goals: D Brown 1, 34 & 37, S Wilson 71, N Berry 77

Offical Attendance: 92,103 plus Gordy Ross

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