Spirited GCC Fightback Downs Capalaba
Words: Michael Flynn
A second-half brace to Rhys Saunders saw Gold Coast City fightback from a goal down to overpower Capalaba FC 3-2 in their BLK Silver Boot opener on Friday night.
Saunders struck twice in ten minutes prior to the hour to seal the win for City, adding to a first-half penalty from Roman Hofmann.
The match marked City’s second straight win of the pre-season and their first since prior to the Christmas break.
City started brightly – captain Justyn McKay headed wide in the opening exchanges – before a handball allowed Hofmann to open accounts from the penalty spot.
However, Capalaba delivered a swift reply to level terms when Andrew Thompson converted a stunning free-kick past an outstretched Shane Viitakangas shortly after.
The Bulldogs continued to prove a threat in the attacking third and edged ahead ten minutes before the break when Samuel Watt out-foxed Viitakangas to take advantage of a City turnover.
City coach Grae Piddick introduced former Atletico River Plate youth player Saunders at half-time and the impact proved immediate as he converted at the back post to level terms.
Saunders then delivered again just minutes later to return City to the lead – unleashing a stunning slalomed run to blitz the Capalaba defence before holding his nerve to with a composed finish past goalkeeper Samuel Chandler.
City continued to threaten with Troy Ruthven and Morgan Saunders coming close to sealing the win in the final half-hour as Capalaba increasingly relied on the counter-attack.
But the hard-work was nearly undone when a turnover in the closing stages offered Capalaba a half-chance only for an alert Hofmann to close down the danger with a timely tackle.
City continue their pre-season tomorrow in the Macron Cup against fellow PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues club Olympic FC.
Their next fixture in the BLK Silver Boot will also be against a league rival when they line-up against Brisbane City next Friday.
2016 BLK Silver Boot – Group C
Friday, January 22
Lions Stadium, Brisbane
Gold Coast City FC 3 (Roman HOFMANN 20’(p), Rhys SAUNDERS 50’ 59’)
Capalaba FC 2 (Andrew THOMPSON 28’, Samuel WATT 35’)