Naracoorte United learn plenty from preseason competition at Murray Bridge

Naracoorte United travelled to Murray Bridge to take part in the inaugural Rural City of Murray Bridge Cup.

The preseason competition, which was played from February 26-28, saw Murray Bridge United, Renmark Olympic, Southern Breakers and Naracoorte United compete against each other.

Each team played each other once, before a finals series took place on Sunday.

A number of Bordertown-based players featured for Naracoorte United across the three days, but the team unfortunately returned home without a win.

On Friday night, United lost to Renmark Olympic 3-1, despite dominating the game for large periods.

The first half was tight and physical, but it was Naracoorte who were unable to finish off any of their chances. Renmark were able to steal the lead before halftime, before adding on a further two goals in the second-half.

Bordertown's Qussay Ibrahim gave United something to cheer about, scoring a goal in the final 10 minutes.

The following day saw Naracoorte draw 0-0 with Southern Breakers, despite United controlling around 85 per cent of possession.

Bordertown's George Sheunesu Matutuva and Andrew Diment were able to get space in attacking areas, however, their shots just missed the mark.

A win against the Southern Breakers would have given the team a great opportunity to push for a spot in the final.

After a five-hour break, Naracoorte ended the day with a tight 1-0 loss to Murray Bridge United.

Against arguably the strongest team in the competition, Naracoorte showcased they were capable of mixing it with technically sound players.

Strong defensive performances stopped Murray Bridge from scoring in first-half. A poorly directed pass in defence proved to be the difference between the two sides, with the pass resulting in the home side scoring.

Andy Munro, Kevin Marshall, Ciaran Shouksmith and Hossain Panahi were some of the many standouts during the hard-fought match-up.

Finishing with zero wins meant Naracoorte had to play in the third versus fourth playoff on Sunday morning against the Southern Breakers.

Looking to finish the tournament on a high, United put in their weakest performance. Although substitutions brought a spark, the Breakers were able to go into halftime with a 1-0 lead.

A cross from Panahi found its way into the back of the net for Naracoorte, but the Breakers took their chances better, winning the game 2-1.

The final saw Renmark Olympic play Murray Bridge United, with Olympic shocking the favourites to win 1-0.

Clubs are keen to continue the competition next year, with Naracoorte United senior coach Daniel Sribar already wanting the club host the event in 2022.