Round 8 - Narooma FC (5) def Bodalla Bulls SC (0)
The late withdrawal of Narooma's usual goalkeeper forced a raft of changes to the line-up minutes before kick-off. However, you were hard pressed to notice as the Reds heaped first-half attacking pressure on a youthful Bodalla team.
Several early Narooma chances ultimately culminated in a cheeky back-heel goal to Kyle Dixon, who found himself with time and space on the Bodalla six yard box after Sid Smith headed down a deep cross. Narooma were fortunate to extend their advantage minutes later when a relatively tame shot from Dixon was fumbled by the Bodalla keeper and trickled over the line. With Narooma taking control of the game, Mark Anderson came off the bench to nod in his first goal of the season and Narooma's third for the night.
As the first half drew on, Bodalla pushed to get back into the game with several pacey runs at the Narooma defence. However, the combination of Adam Dixon, Callum Annand, Ben Ritchie and Alex Saines has proven a formidable defensive line in the past, and Friday night was no different. With Ben Hay pulling on the goalkeeper gloves in an assured display between the sticks, and Ethan Anderson and Bill Adams screening in front, it seemed a frustrated Bodalla team was always destined to go to the sheds with nothing to show for their first-half efforts.
Speaking after the game, player/coach, Kyle Dixon, offered an honest appraisal of his team's performance.
"The score line might have said otherwise, but our first half performance was below par," he said. "We needed to be more confident on the ball and provide better support off it - and that's exactly what we spoke about at half time.
"We were a different team in the second half," Dixon said. "Our passing game improved, our composure, and our work rate.
"This team is now starting to prove that our goals can come from anywhere.
"That is something you love to have in your locker as a coach, and something that can be a nightmare for the opposition to defend against."
Round 7 - Narooma FC (2) def Broulee SC (1)
Despite several players going into the match under an injury cloud or carrying illness, Narooma started by far the stronger team. Jarrah Seaman proved a nightmare for the Broulee defence early on. Seaman's positive link up play with Kyle Dixon and Sid Smith through the middle of the park was a joy to watch and penetrated the Broulee defensive line time and time again.
The sustained Narooma pressure ultimately paid off when Sid Smith got his head on the end of a Kyle Dixon free kick to open the scoring. Seemingly unperturbed by conceding a goal, Broulee continued to grow into the game and exert their physical presence. Another standout performance by Alex Saines and Callum Annand in the back-line neutralised the Broulee threat and saw the Narooma boys head to the sheds with a one goal advantage.
With 20 minutes remaining, Kyle Dixon fired in a free kick from 30 meters out which found its way into the top corner to make it 2-0.
To their credit, Broulee never stopped pushing to get back into the game. Even when they lost a man to a red card on the back of several reckless challenges, they still managed to peg a goal back with five minutes to play, setting up an exciting conclusion to the match.
Narooma held on to claim all three points and leave Broulee languishing two points off the bottom of the table.
Round 6 - Narooma FC (2) def Moruya FC (0)
Narooma's passing game caused havoc from the outset for the visitors, with Bill Adams and Ben Smith both narrowly missing opportunities to open the scoring. Twice the Narooma men found the back of the net, only to see the goal pulled back for offside.
The persistent pressure ultimately proved too much for Moruya however, with Bill Adams and Kyle Dixon both scoring within a few minutes of each other to take the home team to the sheds at half time with a comfortable two goal lead.
It was much of the same in the second half for Narooma, with several chances to extend the score line going begging, including a failed penalty attempt from Josh Reakes that could only find the goal post, and another disallowed goal for a close offside call. Narooma's inability to add to their goal tally might have come back to bite them had it not been for another impenetrable display in defence by Ben Ritchie, Henry George and Callum Annand. In his first game back following a lengthy stint on the sidelines with injury, Annand also gave the home side purpose going forward, with several confident forays in attack and pinpoint balls into the box that continued to ask questions of the Moruya backline.
"Yes, we could have been more clinical in front of goal, but these are things we can work on at training," he said.
"The support we've seen here tonight from our junior base is unbelievable," Dixon continued. "This is just as much a win for football in the Narooma community as it is for us as a team."
"On behalf of the Narooma men's team, I'd like to thank all of the players, coaches, parents, supporters and volunteers that came out tonight to make our Junior Supporters Night such a success".
Round 5 - Narooma FC (7) def Bodalla Bulls SC (2)
Bill Adams was unfortunate not to get on the score sheet after navigating several challenges to be clear in on goal, only to be cut down by the last man on the edge of the penalty area. Josh Reakes took full advantage of the resulting free kick to make it 1-0, and shortly afterwards added a second with a glancing header on the near post off a Kyle Dixon corner.
To say the first half was one-sided would be unfair on Bodalla, who fought back strongly before the break and nabbed a goal for their effort. If not for some resilient defensive work by Ben Ritchie, Adam Dixon and Alex Saines, with Ethan Anderson screening in front, Narooma might have gone into the break wondering where it all went wrong.
From there it was all Narooma, with Ben Smith working tirelessly on the flank and Henry George showing just what the Narooma lads were missing in their loss to Broulee two weeks prior, with an energetic performance off the bench.
Mark Singleton claimed arguably the goal of the night, on the back of excellent team build-up play, while the ever-present Dylan Staunton took full advantage of a defensive blunder to claim a goal for himself. Another goal to Josh Reakes cancelled out a consolation goal to Bodalla, with the score finishing 7-2.
Round 4 - Narooma FC (2) def by Broulee Stingrays SC (3)
Narooma dominated possession for large portions of the first half and looked to have the game under control. Striker, Sid Smith, came agonisingly close to scoring on more than one occasion, only to be foiled on the line by some desperate Broulee defending. Failure to convert early chances ultimately came back to bite the Narooma men when, against the run of play, Broulee scored from distance, 10 minutes from the break.
Narooma returned from half-time with much of the same - positive attacking play, for no reward. In what seemed to be a recurring event, Narooma were shocked yet again when a well taken Broulee free kick extended the deficit. When Broulee added a third off a set piece shortly after, you could begin to sense that it was not going to be Narooma's night.
It was a case of too little, too late for Narooma unfortunately, with the boys left to contemplate what might have been had they played with the level of intensity and enthusiasm seen in the last 15 minutes of the game.
Narooma coach, Kyle Dixon, remained positive in his assessment of the game. "I can't ask for too much more from the boys," he said. "Short of putting the ball in the back of the net, we were easily the better team tonight.
"Football is like that though," Dixon said. "Lose concentration and you get punished.
"Unfortunately we were punished three times by Broulee tonight, and hats off to them, they've earnt the win."
Round 3 - Narooma FC (3) def Moruya FC (0)
This fixture was always going to be an interesting match-up. The last time these two teams met in pre-season competition, Moruya triumphed with the reverse result, humbling the reigning premiers with three unanswered goals.
Fast forward a month and it is clear that player/coach, Kyle Dixon, has spent considerable time on the training pitch with his Narooma team to address its defensive vulnerabilities.
The weight of possession was firmly in Narooma's favour throughout the first half. Patient build-up play was ultimately rewarded when Sid Smith opened the scoring with a well taken finish into the top right of goal. Shortly afterwards, Mark Singleton added to Moruya's woes, seizing the opportunity to slam home the scraps after Moruya failed to adequately clear a corner.
Narooma FC regained control of the game and put the result beyond doubt when Josh Reakes added a third goal with 20 minutes remaining.
Dixon was cautiously optimistic in his appraisal of the result.
"I am glad to get the win and mostly pleased with our performance," he said. "However, we have our goalkeeper to thank for the clean sheet."
"There were a few periods where we lost focus and could have easily copped a goal or two," Dixon said. "We will regroup at training this week and work to address that ahead of our next game".
Round 2 - Narooma FC (7) def Bodalla Bulls SC (2)
First half goals to Sid Smith, Kyle Dixon and Josh Reakes set the tone for the match, on the back of a passing game that was, at times, unplayable.
The Narooma team only added to Bodalla's woes in the second stanza, with Dylan Staunton collecting his first goal for the club, Sid Smith adding his second for the game, and Josh Reakes two more to complete his hat trick.
However, the solidity of Narooma's defence was not to be outdone by the prolificacy of its attack. Adam Dixon offered a work rate that can only be described as tireless, while Alex Saines and Henry George showed invaluable versatility on the flanks.
Player/Coach, Kyle Dixon, was pleased with his sides progress so early in the season, but was realistic in his assessment of the victory.
"Bodalla were missing a few of their stronger players - players that can change a game," Kyle said. "That being said, we're yet to hit full strength ourselves, so we'll continue to focus on our own game and integrating new players into our system." Narooma now has a week off before taking on Moruya, who put Broulee to the sword 4-2 in the early game.