Brad Smith.
Brad Smith.

Cougars forced to settle for draw

MATCHES between the Capricorn Cougars and Whitsunday Miners are always tough and Good Friday’s scoreless draw at Ryan Park was no different.

Cougars coach Brad Smith knew the longer the game progressed, the better his team’s chances of winning would be.

And so it was as the Cougars’ second-half performance was far better than their lacklustre opening 45 minutes. The Cougars could best be summed up, on the day, as hoping things might happen in the first half and then making them happen in the second.

The problem for the Cougars in 2009 was failure to deliver good ball into the penalty area and turning chances into goals. Many of the faces have changed but those problems persist.

Jesse Thompson succeeded in getting into scoring positions on numerous occasions but dragged one chance into the side netting, totally missed a low cross from just a metre out. Mackay keeper Brad Moss then smothered the ball as he tried to round him.

Thompson was not alone. Tristan Fraser also missed a great chance with just Moss to beat and numerous efforts flew high and wide of the Miners’ goal.

It was the visitors that came closest to finding the net when a Brett Neeve free kick found Daniel Scotton unmarked but his header beat keeper Tim English and crashed against the Cougars’ crossbar. Mark Rhodes, too, had a clear chance but English saved at the second attempt.

Injuries to influential midfielder Anthony Hartnell and then, late in the match, centre back Dai Thomas will have given Smith concern with the Cougars away to the Sunshine Coast next week. Although the Cougars dominated the second half, anything other than a draw would have been rough justice for a Mackay team that battled hard.

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