By Casey O'Connor
The Stanthorpe United Men’s team enjoyed a strong 3-0 win over Highfields Football club in their inaugural game in the Football Toowoomba Premier league last Saturday night.
It was refreshing to see local club rivalries put aside with the team representative of some of the best football talent Stanthorpe has to offer.
Early nerves were evident, however the Redbacks were quickly into their rhythm as Captain Mat Purcell and midfield partner Ace McDonald lead the way taking control of the midfield battle and providing great service to players out wide and the strikers up front.
Jared Hitchener’s high work rate out wide was rewarded with United’s first goal. Receiving the ball just inside the Highfields half, Hitchener dashed down the right flank outpacing three defenders and calmly slotted the ball inside the near post to give United a 1-0 lead.
Minutes later a 25 metre shot from Purcell forced a great save from the Highfields keeper. From the ensuing corner Josh Crestani guided the ball into the net off a deflected header. There was plenty of sideline celebrating from Crestani’s brothers Cameron and Andrew who were at the game.
After a good performance in the team’s warm up game against Warwick earlier in the week, Ben Rametta continued his excellent goal scoring form. A strong individual effort from Rametta resulted in United’s third goal just before half time.
At the break, Coach Brad Rub highlighted some areas to work on in the second half. While United dominated field position and created a number of opportunities they could not add to their tally.
United keeper Jamie Carnell had little to do in the second half, but when he was called into action showed courage, commitment and confidence, diving at opponents feet and quickly defusing potentially dangerous attacks.
Aiden Halford played a tough, but disciplined role in the central defence and directed his young backline of Lanza, Hitchener and Crestani well.
Coach Brad Rub was pleased with the team’s winning performance saying it will give the players plenty of confidence going forward.
Rub has however identified some areas in which the team can improve saying that while the team created opportunities up front they can be more clinical.
The result may provided the perfect start for United, but the squad is under no illusion how much harder the Toowoomba competition will be as the season unfolds. And it starts Sunday at 3pm at Captain Cook Reserve Fields when the team clashes with Toowoomba outfit Rockville Rovers. The game will pit the coach Brad Rub up against his former club. Rub said is looking forward to the head to head clash.
The players would love to see a big contingent of Stanthorpe football fans at Captain Cook Reserves to support them.