Castlemaine Goldfields Football Club’s senior teams claimed their first points of the season in their clashes at Soldiers Memorial Park, Chewton, last weekend.
The women chalked up a 2-1 win against Lara early in the day before the Division 1 men dominated their match against North United but could not put the ball in the net.
They had to settle for one point from a 0-0 draw.
If the ball had been coated in wet paint, the crossbars and the North United keeper would have had a glossy new look by the end of that match, so often were they struck.
Castlemaine’s played with such fierce intensity in the first half that their Ballarat-based rivals had little possession and rarely crossed into their own attacking zone.
In fact, they managed only one shot on goal for the half, and it didn’t come within a bull’s roar of scoring.
The Maine, on the other hand, peppered the goals, striking the crossbar twice, hitting a handful of gilt-edged chances straight at North’s keeper, spraying balls high and wide, and having some well-struck shots brilliantly saved.
It was a frustrating dominance lead by defensive midfielder Angus MacLaurin, who combined skill and desperation to cut off potential forward thrusts, win back possession and set up teammates with his vision and accurate passing. Unfortunately, he lay on a stretcher by the sideline waiting for an ambulance for most of the second half after injuring a knee.
Captain and fellow midfielder, Jono Burris, also played a superb game, combining courage, hard work and deft reading of the play to win countless touches.
Defenders Steve Marsh, Paul Hovius, Oscar Wood and Conner Bethune were well organized and resolute, with the latter making some slashing attacking runs down the left flank.
Right-winger Ben Adams attacked with pace and confidence while his counterpart on the left, Tristan Van Pagee Anderson, created goalscoring chances with his silky skills.
But half-time came and went without a goal. Castlemaine continued to attack as the game wore on, though ever so gradually North battled their way into the match, creating scoring chances of their own and almost breaking local hearts in the final minutes when a ball ricocheted off a North attacker’s shins then squirmed just wide of the upright as Maine keeper Julien Whitcroft-McGlade could only watch and hope.
In the end, Castlemaine had to settle for a 0-0 draw and their first point of the season.
A solid effort from all players kept Castlemaine in the game until late in the piece when a defensive slip let North United in for their second goal and all but ended hopes of a home team comeback.
As with their Division 1 counterparts, the team could not find anyone to put the ball in the net.
Sam Doolan and Steve “Squirrel” Argent looked dangerous up front but could not find that final decisive touch to score.
Captain Jim Kourkoulakos, Nathaniel Muller, Aaron Shooter and Patrick Wallace steered the ship steadily down back, keeper Kane Parker made some solid saves under pressure and Otto Van Pagee Anderson used his vision and skill creatively through the midfield.
Lewis Fortuna, Tony Cormack and the rest of the gang battled as hard as ever but the ounce of luck needed to score did not fall their way.