Macquarie United coach Alan Auld is adamant his side can’t underestimate a youthful Newtown this weekend as the ladder leaders continue to strive for consistency.
Macquarie remained top of Dubbo and District Football Association’s A Grade ladder with a 3-2 win over Dubbo FC last weekend, and the focus is now on Sunday’s clash with the bottom-placed Newtown.
Auld isn’t taking anything for granted and while his side has lost just the once this season, he knows there’s still work to do.
“We play really good in patches but not for the 90 minutes,” he said.
“I know it’s hard for any side to be at that level week in, week out but we want to work on not letting teams back into games and not allowing soft goals.”
That inability to close out games comfortably meant the men in sky blue had to work extremely hard to hold off the Bulls on the weekend.
An under-strength Macquarie shot out of the blocks in what Auld described as a “danger game” and a Leigh Osbourne double created an early 2-0 lead.
Auld’s men continued to create chances and hit the post numerous times before the Bulls got into the game and hit back via a penalty.
However, the two-goal cushion was restored shortly before the break when Will Grant scored for the ladder-leaders.
Macquarie again failed to capitalise on chances in the second half and a goal from the Bulls set up a nervy final 10 minutes.
“It was panic stations a bit and it was a bit uncomfortable,” Auld said of the final stages.
“We had a couple of injuries in the game as well so we were a bit all over the shop but we held on and managed to hold them out for 10 minutes or so.
“All in all it was an okay result but we could have scored two or three more times.”
The win was pleasing for the coach given the likes of Steve Howlett, Matt Taylor and Daniel Goodstat were missing while goalkeeper Pat Auld was late and the fact he started off the bench caused a reshuffle.
Howlett will also miss Sunday’s clash with Newtown at Lady Cutler 2 due to the fact his wife has recently given birth to twins.
“Newtown won’t be easy because I believe they’re a side which will surprise people in a couple of years,” Auld said.
“The competition is pretty even and they’re not far off winning a game or two.”
Newtown heads into the game after a 3-1 loss to Orana Spurs. That result ensured Spurs remain just two points off Macquarie in the battle for the minor premiership.
The other match last weekend saw South Dubbo Wanderers score a 4-0 win over Wellington.
Wanderers, in fourth, meet Spurs this weekend while the Bulls take on Wellington.
Including this coming weekend, there are five rounds remaining.