Nick Ashe.

It was a rough round one for the Cootamundra Strikers being drawn in a difficult game against South Wagga in Cootamundra.

The side were competitive throughout the first-half which included a screamer by Nic Ashe to keep the Strikers within touching distance.

Ashe hit the ball from near the halfway mark and it bounced and spun over the goalie’s head in to the back of the net.

Unfortunately for the Strikers first-grade men the South Wagga side flexed their class in the second period, pulling away from our men and winning by a sizeable margin (6-1).

Despite the hefty loss, Strikers faithful in attendance were still treated to a young side who were tenacious in defeat, pressing South Wagga throughout the 90 minutes making their life much harder than anticipated.

Strikers coach Mick Godbier thought his side followed his tactics perfectly and expects them to continue to grow as a core during the season.

“We expected it to be a tough game, they (South Wagga) are a great side, they were one of the best teams last season and from our game against them you’d expect them to be right up there again,” Mick said.

“Speaking to the boys at the end of the game they were obviously disappointed, they’re competitors and they’d like to win every game, we’re also realist though and understand that at the moment teams like South Wagga are just a level above us, I think we will take plenty away and improve next game.

“There was plenty of positives to come from it, they played how I wanted them to, the pressing game into our counterattack is something we’ve worked on at training and it was something I thought translated into the game.”

Cootamundra’s draw continues to provide no favours at the beginning of the season with the Strikers set to travel to Leeton to battle the reigning premiers.

Leeton were beaten last week 3-1 in a shock game against Tolland.

Coach Godbier expects another difficult game but hopes to see growth from his sides performance last week.

“They were the premiers last year for a reason, that quality doesn’t disappear, we expect it to be an equally tough game and hopefully we will be up to it.”

First-grade men results: Hanwood 5 def Young 2. Tolland 3 def Leeton 1. Lake Albert 10 def Tumut 1. South Wagga 6 def Cootamundra 1.

First-grade fixtures: Wagga United vs South Wagga. Leeton United vs Cootamundra Strikers. Hanwood vs Tumut Eagles. Wagga United vs Young Lions.

For the full story purchase this week’s edition of the Cootamundra Times.