Thistles’ hopes on line in clash with young Bluedogs outfit

LISMORE Thistles' semi-final hopes will be on the line when the Blues travel to Bangalow to take on the youthful Bluedogs in FNC premier league soccer tonight.

Thistles have slipped four points adrift of the top five after a 1-0 home loss to Alstonville last Friday night, and must now win this crucial catch-up game to keep their finals hopes alive.

The Blues will start as clear favourites with several regulars returning to bring them to full strength, while the Bluedogs are missing their most experienced players in Victor Pires and Thiago Priori in midfield and possibly also striker Taha Belaazziz.

A lack of training has also affected the second-last Bluedogs, who lost their first round encounter with Thistles 5-0 and are still looking for their first win.

"We haven't been able to train for over a week," Bangalow coach Neil Fuller said.

Young strikers Noah Stokes and Nathaniel Bensley will bear much of the responsibility for triggering an upset for Bangalow.

The Bluedogs will try to pull away from fellow relegation candidates Ballina, who are just a point behind, before the two sides meet in the final round.

Kick-off is 8pm.


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