SHOALHAVEN United made up for their round nine 6-nil loss against Culburra with a 2-all draw on Saturday.
United coach Trevor Skingle had plenty of praise for his team.
“Really, we should have burned them and deserved to win, but you have got to be happy with a draw against the competition leaders,” he said.
“They boys played very well. They had a great start but let it slip just a bit. They had more chances and probably should have been four or five up before they equalised, so I think there was a little disappointment there when they walked off the field. But honestly, if I thought we would cop a draw against Culburra at the start of the year I wouldn’t have believed it,” he said.
Culburra coach Tony Gauci predicted United were going to be tough to beat at Lyrebird Park and he was not wrong, with United peaking at their home ground.
Gauci said he wasn’t too happy with how his team played but was happy to come away with a draw.
“We had a few players crook but that is no excuse, we just didn’t play as a team,” he said.
“They knocked the ball around ok but they were arguing, and just not concentrating on soccer.”
“The paper keeps saying that we have this superstar team, but it just goes to show that if you don’t play well on the day then it doesn’t matter who or what you’ve got.”
Culburra opened the scoring in the first 15 minutes after a mix-up in the box found Corey Ryan’s left foot.
Culburra then appeared to switch off for the rest of the half, something United’s Tait Arney made full advantage of 10 minutes before half-time.
A cross in the box and a fumble by Culburra saw Arney shoot for goal just inside the 18 yard box, easily finding the bottom corner of the net.
The score remained 1-all at the break.
In the second half United continued to play good football and soon managed to make in 2-1 after Shaun Aldous came off the winner with a one-one-one with the Culburra keeper.
In the final 15 minutes Culburra showed the form that has put them five points clear of the lead in the competition.
A goal to Jack Miller equalised the score and the game remained drawn at the full-time whistle.
Best on field for Culburra were goalkeeper Scott Merivale, Aaron Mason and striker Jack Miller.
For United, Zac Gordon, Arney and Aldous never stopped trying.
“I feel sorry for Tony (Gauci) - he must be the unluckiest coach in Nowra to never get his full side on the field. But honestly, that was the best team I could have put on the patch,” Skingle said.
“It is hard to single anyone out as it was a good team effort all round.”
Gauci made a special mention of the referee and called for everyone to show respect to the referees and linesmen.
“The referee had a pretty hard game on Saturday. He did a good job, but players and coaches need to realise that they are all volunteers and we need to get off their backs and give them a go,” he said.
He said he will be talking to his team at training during the week about this issue.
“They have got to get respect from coaches and players otherwise the guys are not going to do the job. I think everyone across the board needs to pull their heads in,” he said.
Next weekend Culburra will face Bomaderry whereas United will come up against Shoalhaven Heads.
Thoughts and prayers go out to the Watts family from the Culburra Cougars