Grafton United defender Richard Akoto controls the ball during the Premier League clash between Grafton United and Northern Storm at Rushforth Park.
Grafton United defender Richard Akoto controls the ball during the Premier League clash between Grafton United and Northern Storm at Rushforth Park. Jenna Thompson

FOOTBALL: United triumph in season opener

FOOTBALL: Grafton United has kick started its North Coast Football Premier League campaign in the best possible way with a 3-2 victory against Northern Storm.

It was months of pre-season work coming to fruition for the men in purple, and captain Braydon Jones could not have been prouder of his troops.

While it was the captain slotting the winner with ten minutes to go, the first scoring opportunity came from an unlikely source, with goalkeeper Matt McMahon making sure he took the first penalty of the game.

"He has been calling out to be the penalty taker from the start of pre-season,” Jones said. "We got awarded a penalty with the first tackle of the game and it was too ironic to pass up. He sprinted from the other end just to take it.”

Midfielder Nathan Mark scored the other goal of the game, as United showed a level of resilience which was missing last year.

"It was a well-deserved win for the boys, there was plenty of hard work from everyone in the off season and you can see it has paid off,” Jones said.

"Including our last trial match, it is two wins on the trot, which doubles the amount of wins from last year.

”We have had a few hiccups in the past couple of weeks with players backflipping from the club, so it was good to settle down with a win like this. We just have to keep the momentum going.”

It was a tough opening round for our other Clarence Valley clubs with Maclean Bobcats and Westlawn Tigers succumbing to first-round losses.

Bobcats went down 2-1 against Urunga Raiders, while Westlawn put up a valiant fight to go down 3-0 at the hands of reigning premiers Coffs United Lions.