Taree Wildcats held to draw by Camden Haven

TAREE coach Rod Bartley hopes his side isn’t in for a repeat of last season following a disappointing 2-2 draw with Camden Haven in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League clash at Laurieton.

The Redbacks are out of finals contention but shared the points with the Wildcats in a spoiling contest. Taree went into the game hoping to move closer to a top three or even top two place on the ladder. However, the draw means their spot in the top five could be in danger.

“The same thing happened last year – we went into a slump at the wrong time and only just made it into the final five,’’ Bartley recalled.

“We don’t want of repeat this season.’’

The Wildcats went into the match on the back of three impressive results. However, Bartley said they struggled to come to terms with a bumpy surface and an enthusiastic opposition.

“They out-enthused us, there’s no doubt about that,’’ Bartley said.

“It doesn’t matter where they’re on the ladder, Camden Haven’s always hard to beat at Laurieton.’’

Despite this Taree put in a goal to Jackston Witts in the seventh minute and went close soon after. Taree led 2-1 at the break and looked to be doing enough to secure a positive result. But an own goal in the second half flattened Taree and despite peppering Camden Haven’s goal they were unable to add to their tally.

Taree now has a must-win match against Port United at home on Saturday. A win here would give them a great shot at a top three finish but defeat could have the Wildcats battling to stay in the five.

“It’s the same for our reserve grade, this is the biggest day for the club in years,’’ Bartley said.

“Hopefully we’ll learn from last Saturday and bounce back this week.’’

Jordan Howard and Lucas Mepham were outstanding for the Wildcats while Josh Ferris was solid in goals.

Meanwhile the Newcastle Jets A-League club will visit Taree next week to start a five day northern tour.

The Jets will conduct a coaching clinic for nearly 250 juniors on Monday at Omaru Park. This was booked out within 24 hours.

They’ll head to Port Macquarie on Tuesday where players and coaching staff will visit schools before playing a match against a Football Mid North Coast northern and southern selections on Tuesday evening at the Regional Stadium in Port Macquarie.

Football Mid North Coast chairman Mike Parsons said on the Friday Sport segment on the Manning River Times Facebook page last week he hopes the Jets will visit this area annually. However, he added the support for next Tuesday’s match will be pivotal to the club’s plans. Four Taree players have been named in the southern selection.

Jackson Witts opened Taree's scoring in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League clash against Camden Haven. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.

Jackson Witts opened Taree's scoring in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League clash against Camden Haven. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.