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The Bears were back at Thomas & Coffey Park for round 3 of the NBN State League against the undefeated Lake Macquarie.


Coach Darren Elkin had to shuffle the side around due to strikers David Field (suspended) and Mick Ryan (injured) along with back Corey Fletcher being unavailable. Joel Page has been impressive from the bench in the 2 previous games and was awarded a starting spot while Tyson Fletcher took the spot of his brother in the line up.


The first half saw both sides playing very fast end to end football but surprisingly very few clear cut chances were created. The Bears had the best of the limited chances with Joel Page being in the thick of every one. The first chance came in the 14th min when Page hustled the Lakes defence and won the ball before playing what looked to be a perfectly placed ball for Robbie Turnbull. Turnbull was lining up his header on goal only to be marginally beaten to the ball by a defender who seemed to come out of nowhere and header the ball out for a corner. Joel Page was on the receiving end of a great cross ball from Tyson Fletcher in the 40th min but his shot failed to hit the target flying just wide of the mark.


Mick Holt was also getting forward and troubling the Lakes defence with 2 half chances in the remaining 5 mins of the half but both were unsuccessful and the score stayed locked at 0-0 for half time break.


Nathan Morris has scored some great goals in the past but the goal he scored in the 52nd min to give the Bears the lead will be talked about for a long time to come. Morris gained the ball 40mts from goal in a very congested centre of the pitch before beating a player, picking his spot and firing a rocket of a shot from 35mts out that gave Lake Macquarie keeper Brad Swancott no chance of saving as it flew into the top right corner of the net.


The Bears were now getting on top of the Lakes side and looking very likely to get another until Lakes hit back 7 mins later through a goal that was also finished with a quality that would rival the unbelievable strike of Morris. The goal was scored from wide on the right and hit from outside the area past Bears keeper Tim Pratt and into the opposite top corner of the goal to square the game up at 1-1.


The game had well and truly opened up after the equaliser and the already fast pace was now turned up a notch with Lakes unlucky not to score with 2 great chances in the 62nd and 63rd mins, the first was cleared off the line by Carl Thornton and the second saw the post save the Bears after Pratt was beaten.


After his earlier screamer, Nathan Morris was again looking to do the unthinkable but this time his 30mt snap shot flew like a scud just over the bar in the 81st min. The Bears were now pressuring the experienced lakes defence and a 88th min corner looked to be goal bound before a goal line clearance denied the Bears the lead. Lakes keeper  Brad Swancott spent 3 seasons as the Bears keeper and in his time with the Bears he pulled off some fantastic saves so it was no surprise that in the 90th min he reminded the Bears supporters just how good he is when he saved an extremely well hit shot from Joel Page to end the very even and entertaining game with the score at 1-1.


U/23's have their first point of the season with a 2-2 draw. The side once again deserved to win the game but failed to finish their chances. Hayden Nichols found the net with Luke Johnston also putting one past the keeper from the penalty spot. Youth Grade showed plenty of potential as they continued their unbeaten start to the season with a strong  2-1 win. Jacob Montgomery bagged a brace for the young Bears.


Next Sunday the Bears travel over the Blue Gum to West Wallsend, this match is always a hard fought and physical match that has plenty of history behind it. First grade kicks off at 2:30pm.



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