NPL Round 19 Weekly Wrap
The league leaders taste their second defeat of the season as the NPL Queensland finals race heats up. Review all the Round 19 action in the Weekly Wrap.
NPL QUEENSLAND COMPETITION TABLE
|2||Brisbane City FC||18||13||2||3||55||27||+28||41|
|3||Sunshine Coast FC Fire||19||12||1||6||48||20||+28||37|
|4||Brisbane Strikers FC||17||12||0||5||57||32||+25||36|
|5||Redlands United FC||18||11||2||5||64||34||+30||35|
|6||Moreton Bay United Jets FC||18||9||2||7||31||36||-5||29|
|7||Northern Fury FC||19||8||4||7||44||39||+5||28|
|8||Western Pride FC||18||6||2||10||28||37||-9||20|
|9||Palm Beach Sharks FC||17||5||1||11||30||46||-16||16|
|10||FNQ FC Heat||19||4||4||11||25||55||-30||16|
|12||Queensland Academy of Sport||19||1||2||16||16||53||-37||5|
Brisbane Strikers 2 (Alex HENDERSON 57’, Jonti RICHTER 73’)
Queensland Academy of Sport 0
Crowd: 200 approx.
Brisbane Strikers returned to the NPL Queensland top four for the first time in over a month after defeating Queensland Academy of Sport 2-0 at Perry Park on Thursday night.
Second half goals to imposing central defender Alex Henderson and fleet-footed winger Jonti Richter proved decisive for the hosts, who exacted revenge for a 2-1 loss to QAS at the same venue earlier in the season.
Academy shot-stopper Fraser Chalmers effected a series of saves to keep terms level in the first half before Henderson turned the ball in from close range just before the hour following a neatly worked short corner-kick from Richter.
Academy were hamstrung by an injury to enigmatic frontman Abraham Yango before Richter sealed the result on the counter attack – the classy winger finishing off Greg King’s run through the heart of defence with a solid low strike.
The result sees Strikers leapfrog of Redlands United in the fight for the fourth and final NPL Queensland finals series position. Academy remain in last place – a position they have held since the mid of May.
Palm Beach Sharks 0
Brisbane City 2 (own goal 14’, Nathan BIRD 90’+4)
Crowd: 250 approx.
Second-placed Brisbane City narrowed the gap at the top of the NPL Queensland table on Saturday night, defeating Palm Beach Sharks 2-0 at Mallawa Complex on the Gold Coast.
A first half own goal to Nick Hulme separated the teams for over an hour in the tight contest before Nathan Bird secured City the three points with the final kick off the match.
The visitors took the lead inside 15 minutes following a lively start, striker Antonio Murray playing a square ball across goal which wrongfooted Sharks custodian Ryan Meskell after deflecting off the desperately lunging Hulme.
Sharks spurned a series of opportunities in the second half as they sought the equaliser, Chris Lucas and Jarrod Kyle testing young City shot-stopper Tim Allen repeatedly from distance.
A late corner saw Sharks send all but Meskell into the penalty area, allowing City to break away after gathering the clearance – Bird finishing off a swift down field movement to net his second goal in as many weeks.
The win narrows the margin between second-placed City and league leaders Olympic FC to eight points with three rounds remaining. However, City still hold a game in hand on their cross town rivals.
Northern Fury 6 (Gareth EDDS 17’ 41’(p) 43’ 57’, Michael EISENHUT 20’, Reyze KELLY 51’)
Olympic FC 3 (Tim SMITS 23’, Luke HOWELL 56’, Jai INGHAM 77’)
Crowd: 600 approx.
A four goal haul to former Fury A-League star Gareth Edds has led Northern Fury to a sensational 6-3 victory over a ten-man Olympic FC at Townsville Sports Reserve on Saturday night.
Player-coach Edds, who was making his first start for Fury in two months, scored a first half hat-trick before netting a fourth prior to the hour to seal the result.
Michael Eisenhut and Reyze Kelly also scored for the hosts in the impressive win; while Tim Smits, Luke Howell and Jai Ingham netted consolation goals for the visitors.
Fury took a two goal lead inside 20 minutes - Edds spectacularly opening accounts in the 17th minute with a 20 yard strike before Eisenhut, whose runs tormented the Olympic defence all evening, doubled the advantage with an angled shot three minutes later.
Smits pulled a goal back for Olympic when the striker steered home a cross from close range shortly after, however the visitors’ comeback fatally stalled when young goalkeeper Matt Lugo was dismissed prior to half time after felling Eisenhut in the penalty area.
Edds converted the subsequent spot kick then secured his hat-trick two minutes later when his toe-poked shot bounced in off the upright for a 4-1 half time advantage.
Kelly continued the onslaught following the restart, nudging a through ball past substitute Olympic custodian Brandon Cuminao to allow craft a simple finish into an empty net.
Olympic pulled a goal back from another cross, Howell steering his header into the far corner of the goal. However, Edds restored the margin and sealed the result only a minute later with his fourth – a beautifully struck 35 yard volley that snuck in at the crook of the goal.
Exciting wing talent Ingham netted a final consolation for the visitors as the match drew to a close, finishing assuredly from close range for his tenth score of the season.
The win keeps Fury in the hunt for the September final series and extends a run of form that has seen the club lose just once in eight games. Olympic remain atop the NPL Queensland table, their lead now narrowed to eight points over cross town rivals Brisbane City.
FNQ FC Heat 2 (Cameron MORRISON 25’, Jamie CARROLL 47’(p))
Western Pride 2 (own goal 19’, Lincoln RULE 42’)
Crowd: 550 approx.
FNQ FC Heat came from behind twice on Saturday night as the Cairns-based club held Western Pride to an entertaining 2-2 draw in slippery conditions at Borzi Park in Mareeba.
Cameron Morrison cancelled out an early own goal from the hosts, before Jamie Carroll scored from the penalty spot to counter Lincoln Rule’s first half strike for Pride.
Pride first took the lead on 19 minutes when Tamas Maffe-Stump’s challenge saw the ball deflect off his leg and past Heat custodian Mikel Breckenridge.
Morrison replied for the hosts six minutes later, curling a deft strike in off the far upright for his fifth goal of the season. However, Rule restored the visitors’ single goal advantage at the break when he pounced on a poorly cleared corner at edge of the area.
Heat levelled terms once again shortly after the restart though – striker Caroll converting a penalty kick for his seventh of the campaign after referee Jason Crow adjudged a Pride handball in the box.
The draw keeps Pride in eighth on the NPL Queensland table while FNQ FC Heat remain in tenth position, but draw level with Palm Beach Sharks on 16 competition points.
Moreton Bay Jets 5 (Royce BROWNLIE 6’ 16’, Jonny KAIMARAMA 20’, Mitchell SCHEUMACK 44’, own goal 45’+1)
CQFC Energy 4 (Warwick JANSEN 10’,Jordan MILLER 37’, Braedyn CROWLEY 56’, Sander WATERLAND 65’)
Crowd: 250 approx.
Moreton Bay Jets remain in the NPL Queensland finals race after recording their second straight win on Saturday night to overcome lower table battlers CQFC Energy at Wolter Park.
Striker Royce Brownlie scored a brace for the hosts in the high-scoring, tit-for-tat affair that saw the teams exchange blows throughout an attacking opening stanza.
Brownlie set the precedent in spectacular fashion for the hosts, firing the Jets ahead in only the sixth minute with a blistering 25 yard strike.
Four minutes later Energy replied through Warwick Jansen, the youngster pouncing on a parried save to register his first goal of the campaign.
Jets replied with two goals in quick succession – Brownlie tapping in from a parried Tim English save to cap off an inspired run from teammate Scott McNeil, before Jonny Kaimarama netted his first of the season in only his third appearance for the Jets.
Jordan Miller pulled a goal back on 37 minutes for the visitors when the midfielder headed home from eight yards.
However, Jets took a three goal advantage into the break courtesy two headed goals prior to the half-time whistle – Mitchell Scheumack nodding home from close range before Energy’s Matteson Maguire turned the ball into his own net from a Jets cross.
Energy narrowed the margin to a single goal in the second half courtesy of close range finishes from Braedyn Crowley and forward Sander Waterland, however were unable to find an equaliser in a frantic close to the fixture.
The win keeps Moreton Bay in sixth place and seven points shy of the NPL Queensland top four with three rounds remaining.
Sunshine Coast Fire 1 (Nico BECHAR 10’)
Redlands United 0
Crowd: 400 approx.
Sunshine Coast Fire climbed to third place on the NPL Queensland table on Sunday afternoon following a hard fought 1-0 win over Redlands United at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Winger Nico Bechar’s lobbed strike proved decisive for Fire in the much-needed win, which eases the pressure on Kevin Aherne-Evans’ side as they seek a spot in the inaugural NPL finals series.
A tenth minute Alex Barlow through-ball freed Bechar for his eighth goal of the campaign, the Frenchman lobbing his shot over Redlands custodian Mitch O’Brien.
Fire held firm for the remaining 80 minutes to record their seventh clean sheet in their past nine outings – a continuation of their league best defensive record. The win is Fire’s fifth in six matches and returns the side to third place for the firs time since early April.
The result drops Redlands to fourth place and sets up a must-win home clash for the Devils against fellow finals contenders Northern Fury next weekend.
Words: Michael Flynn (Football Queensland)