Cobram Roar travelled to Albury on Sunday to take on a much-improved Albury Hotspurs outfit that made Cobram fight all the way to secure all three points, with a hat-trick to Billy Marshall sealing the win.
Cobram introduced 15-year-old Zac McLeod for his first senior start and also welcomed back coach Adam Gatcum from suspension.
Cobram made the worst possible start, with Hotspurs catching the Roar defence napping in the opening minutes to break through and open the scoring.
Cobram players were well off their game and making very simple mistakes as Hotspurs looked very threatening and could have easily doubled their advantage with McLeod making some very brave saves.
Cobram finally responded after 15 minutes when some great work in the box by Marshall allowed him to turn and shoot to score his first goal of the match.
Five minutes later Marshall had a double when Bill Puckett sent him through and his run into the box was well-finished to give Cobram the lead for the first time in the match.
The second goal seemed to allow Cobram to switch off again and a set piece picked out an unmarked Hotspurs player in the box to head home and level the scores after only 30 minutes.
Hotspurs continued to look threatening on the counterattack as their quick wingers were causing headaches for the Cobram full backs.
On the stroke of half-time Cobram almost restored the lead, when a cracking volley by Smith outside the box came back off the cross bar, leaving the scores even at the break.
After half-time Cobram seemed more settled and solid in defence and began to attack in numbers with Puckett, Tyler Seabrook and Gatcum all testing the keeper before a superb through ball by Gatcum released Puckett, whose first time shot from outside the box sailed into the top corner for the goal of the match and restored Cobram’s lead.
Hotspurs continued to push and did look dangerous going forward, but the Roar defence held strong and denied everything Hotspurs threw at them.
Cobram finished off the match with 15 to play when Marshall secured his first Roar hat-trick and all three points for the side as it recorded its third straight win.
The win takes Cobram to only two points behind ladder leader Wangaratta, which sets up for a cracking match this Sunday at home, as Cobram hosts the Red Devils for a chance to go above the pre-season favourites.
Cobram Roar will also be hosting its life members and sponsors, which sets up what should be a fantastic day for the top-of-the-table match-of-the-round.
Score: 4-2. Goals: B. Marshall 3, B. Puckett. Best: B. Marshall, T. Seabrook, Z. McLeod.
The reserves continued their great start to the season and pushed further forward on top of the ladder with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Hotspurs.
A first-half goal to youngster Lachie Osborne, his first ever in reserves, was enough to secure the three points, although a late penalty miss to Hotspurs saved Roar as the players missed handfuls of chances to kill off the match.
Score: 1-0. Goal: L. Osborne. Best: L. Osborne, J. Keating, S. Cigana.
The undefeated under-18s came up against a third-placed Albury Hotspurs.
In what started as a tight tussle going to the half-time break at 0-0, Roar came out firing in the second half.
Will Seabrook opened the scoring, before Hotspurs hit back levelling it at 1-1.
Hotspurs could not cope with Cobram’s increased intensity and desire to win the ball, with a brace of goals from Max Cabading, as well as one each to Joseph Ballerini and Hamish Sweeney, and the the players overrunning their opponents in what was truly a great team effort.
All 16 members of the squad put in 100 per cent when given their chance.
Score: 5-1. Goals: W. Seabrook, M. Cabading 2, J. Ballerini, H. Sweeney. Best: K. Attana, M. Cabading, L. Osborne.
The team took to the pitch with enthusiasm after a week off.
They played a great team game and were solid in defence.
An early goal from Hotspurs saw the boys lift their intensity and level the score after a cross from Cooper Sorrenti resulted in an own goal.
A great strike from Jack Cassidy from a free kick found the back of the net taking the boys to a 2-1 lead at half-time.
A short lapse in the second half saw Hotspurs get two quick goals giving them the lead.
The Roar boys did not drop their heads but lifted their game with a goal from Cooper Sorrenti levelling the score at 3-3.
An outstanding effort form the whole team.
Score: 3-3. Goals: C. Sorrenti, J, Cassidy, own goal. Best: C. Sorrenti, T. Hyde, J. Cassidy.
The Roar under-12s were up against the Albury Hotspurs, with both teams on the same points on the ladder.
The Roar players were challenged early with the defence being very solid, however, a quick counterattack saw Lachlan Nolan put a great through ball to Jackson Koopman to be one-on-one with their keeper to slot one in at the second minute of the game.
Defenders Zainul Alibraheem, Brock Churchin, Michaele Mustica, Liam Kelly and Thomas Corso played their hearts out but let the Hotspur attack slip through to score.
Neil Suphun came off the bench to score almost immediately, then Albury scored again leaving the half-time score 2-2.
It was then a battle of defences, where both teams had numerous opportunities to score but did not.
Jafar Aledeli and Ciaran O’Sullivan both played well to keep the score level.
Score: 2-2. Goals: Jackson Koopman, Neil Suphun. Best: Zainul Alibraheem, Thomas Corso, Jafar Aledeli, Liam Kelly and Ciaran O’Sullivan.
●Under-11: Albury Hotspurs 1 drew with Cobram Roar 1.
●Under-13: Albury Hotspurs 1 lost to Cobram Roar 3.
●Under-13 girls: Albury Hotspurs 9 d Cobram Roar 0.
●Under-14: Albury Hotspurs 3 lost to Cobram Roar 4.