Pride v Newcastle

Round 1 report by Chris Tanner
Eastern Pride v Newcastle United

Roach star's in Pride's season opener

Morwell - Neville Roach almost stole the show on Saturday night with an exciting NSL debut, in which he scored an exciting goal. Unfortunately for Eastern Pride fans it wasn't enough as the game ended in a 1-1 draw against Newcastle United.

The opening stanza of the first half clearly belonged to Pride, with Juan NILO and Neville ROACH continually upfront and threatening. Newcastle had to wait until 13 minutes into the game when John BUONOVOGLIA threatened the goals with some speedy play and had two opportunities to score, but was thwarted by the good work of Bojo JEVDJEVIC in goals. Esala MASI for Newcastle also threatened with some powerfully taken shots, but was off target.

Special mention must also go to Eastern Pride player Ante DEAK who continually kept running hard at the Newcastle defence and was able to fire some powerful shots on goal. The score at half time was 0-0.

Then came the Neville ROACH show, he had already excited the crowd with excellent foot skills and one, two passing and back heeled passes. From a well taken John Hutchinson throw, Pride defender Paul Wearne headed the ball in close range of the goal, in stepped ROACH at the 50 minute mark, with a superb shot on goal that rocked into the back of the net and set the Pride fans alight.

He nearly scored 73 minutes in the game when he broke free and had a chance to beat the keeper on a tight angle, but good work by Newcastle Keeper Brad SWANCOTT defied ROACH his second goal of the game.

Newcastle maintained its pressure on the Pride defence and was rewarded with a penalty when John BUONAVOGLIA was infringed upon by a Pride defender, denying him access to the ball and referee Gerry CONNELLY awarded a penalty. Anthony Surjan stepped up to the spot and made no mistake.

Both sides tried to clutch the winning goal with efforts from Newcastle's MASI and Pride's DEAK, both unable to score, and the game finished fittingly at a 1-1 draw.