THREE first-half goals to striker Shane Button helped Shoalhaven United to a 4-1 victory against Huskisson in their round one clash at Lyrebird Park.
The scoring was opened after just three minutes when Button found the back of the net from a cross to put his side in the lead.
United were in control were most of the first half, with Huskisson struggling to get the ball out of their own half.
The high possession rate paid dividends for United in the 28th minute when Button scored his second, which their coach Trevor Skingle later described as one of the best goals he’s seen in his time with the club.
After Brett Ringland made a break down the left-hand side, Billy Wallington gave the perfect cross for Button, who then slotted it into the bottom corner.
Button completed his hat-trick shortly before the break, after winning a one-on-one contest with the goalkeeper to give the home side a 3-nil lead at the break.
United’s Dale Baxter had the misfortune of one of his boots being busted in the first half and had to borrow his coaches “golden boots” for the second half.
The change of boots reportedly made a big difference and resulted in Baxter scoring United’s fourth goal after 63 minutes.
Huskisson never gave in and were finally rewarded for their persistence late in the game, when Sam Boardman scored a consolation after taking advantage from a defensive blunder from United.
United coach Trevor Skingle said there is still plenty of improvement in his side, but was fairly happy with the result.
“To be honest, the first 20 or 25 minutes would have to be the best we’ve played in a long time,” he said.
“Overall all I was semi-happy, but it’s only one game, so we’re not getting too ahead of ourselves,” he added.
Huskisson coach Ian Osterloh thought his side played a lot better in the second half, but were always on the back foot after conceding three first half goals.
“It’s definitely not the start we would’ve liked,” he said.
“We had a few problems with our shape and structure in the middle of the park, so this was a little bit of a wakeup call,” he added.
Skingle said Button was an obvious choice for one of their best players, while he though goalkeeper James Spackman and defender Brett Ringland did a good job at the back, after being promoted from reserve grade.
Osterloh named Brendan Hiriart as their best, while he thought newcomer James Delamenty had a strong game as well.
Despite the result, Osterloh felt there were enough positives to suggest they can bounce back when they host Bomaderry next week.
United will get a chance to avenge their grand final loss from last year, with an away trip to take on the red-hot Culburra.