Comeback kid’s red-hot return

Toby Sunderland stars as Narrabri FC wins the round one local derby

Narrabri FC attacking midfielder Toby Sunderland takes on Crossroads Eleven FC's Josh Boyd. Sunderland was the man-of-the-match in his first game in two years on Saturday.

Narrabri’s two Namoi Soccer League sides went head-to-head on Saturday, kicking off their 2018 campaigns.

And for the fourth times in as many attempts since the regional competition returned last year, Narrabri FC was victorious against rivals Crossroads Eleven FC.

The side in blue started its minor premiership defence with a 4-0 victory, after taking a 1-0 lead into half time.

The performance of 18-year-old Toby Sunderland was the major talking point at full time.

The attacking midfielder put in an eye-catching 90-minute performance, scoring one, setting up another, and having another disallowed.

It was a dream return to the game for Sunderland, who suffered a knee injury in 2016 while playing for Northern Inland Premier League side Namoi FC.

His best on ground performance was acknowledged by his teammates, with Sunderland picking up Narrabri FC’s players’ player prize.

Sunderland was pleased with both his and his team’s performance.

“The feeling was unbelievable, just to be back out on the pitch with the boys after two knee reconstructions and two years out,” he said.

“When the ball hit the back of the net for my goal it was the best feeling.

“Then to win man of the match was the icing on the cake.

“It was a real team performance and I’m very proud of the boys.”