NPL Round 10 Review: Winners march onwards
The NPL battlefield has settled after round 10, with the ladder leaders intact as the mid-table teams fight to keep pace.
By Matthew McInerney
SWQ Thunder | 1 – 1 |Moreton Bay United
Gatton Football Club
Jets and Thunder end in stalemate
South West Thunder will be kicking themselves. Moreton Bay United will be licking their wounds.
In the end, a 1-1 draw was an unexpected result.
The sixth-placed Moreton Bay United was expected to win and jump into the top four, but nobody informed 12th-placed Thunder of that script.
The Toowoomba outfit went ahead in the 27th minute courtesy of an Anthony Grant goal, a one-goal advantage they held for 50 minutes.
Riley Campbell was Moreton Bay’s saviour, his 77th minute goal the equaliser and enough to secure a vital competition point.
Moreton Bay will fight for their second win in five weeks against Gold Coast United on Saturday, while the Thunder have a strong chance of securing victory against the Fire.
Brisbane City FC | 1 – 3 | Olympic FC
Corporate Travel Management Stadium
Who can stop Olympic FC?
The only undefeated team left in the NPL extended its lossless run to 10 games with a 3-1 win against Brisbane City.
Steve Whyte, Kieran Sanders and Zalefy Nazareth all scored as Olympic FC extended its record to 8-2-0, and maintained a two-point lead atop the table.
The loss, and other results, means there is now a clear, seven-point gap between sixth and seventh - a divide which, while early, may shed some light on the race for the championship.
Redlands United FC| 3 -1 | North Queensland United
Redlands send NQ United packing
Alexander Warrilow doubled his season’s haul when his hat-trick fired Redlands United to an impressive victory against North Queensland United.
They didn’t have it their way the whole time. Corey Waples scored the only goal of the first half as NQ United held a 1-0 lead at the break.
Whatever was said in Redlands dressing room worked.
They came out a different side, and Warrilow picked his moments in a 23-minute onslaught that consigned North Qld to its sixth loss, and delivered Redlands United just its third win.
Lions FC | 3 – 2 | Gold Coast United
Lions win five goal thriller
Shaun Carlos ensured Lions recorded its seventh win of the season and maintained third on the NPL table in their come-from-behind win.
His 90th minute goal, his second for the game, broke the 2-2 deadlock with Gold Coast United, who had equalised just two minutes before the end of regulation time.
Gold Coast led after a Nicholas Panetta goal in the 17th minute but Lions not only held on, but took control late in the contest.
Lions will shoot for their fifth straight win when they host Cairns on Saturday, while Gold Coast face another tough challenge in Moreton Bay United.
Brisbane Roar FC Youth | 1 – 0 |Magpies Crusaders FC
Logan Metro Sports Complex
Young Roar snap up Magpies
Rahmat Akbari scored the only goal of the contest as Brisbane Roar Youth sneaked home 1-0.
Magpies Crusaders had won just one game in its first seven outings, but despite their lowly sitting on the NPL ladder looked to be in good enough form to secure a point.
The Crusaders just couldn’t find the net - a seemingly ongoing issue for the side which scores just 1.5 goals per game - and while they kept the Roar scoreless for more than 70 minutes, they didn’t snuff out the threat.
Akbari’s 74th minute winner saved the Roar from what could have been an embarrassing result.
The Roar, now fifth, have the opportunity to not only bounce back, but prove they’re premiership contenders against Western Pride at Briggs Road on Saturday.
Cairns FC | 2 – 4 | Western Pride
Southside Comets Football Club
Pride conquer the north
One of the longest road trips in the NPL proved no barrier for Western Pride as the Ipswich club maintained pressure on top-placed Olympic in the race for the title.
The Pride were in the ascendency as an Adam Endean double led the side to a 4-2 win at Southside Comets Football Club.
Dylan Wenzell-Halls’ first half goal extended his season’s goal-scoring tally to 20 - equal to two teams’ total for the season and more than six others.
Cairns, who are currently ninth but with two games in hand, will face another tough challenge in Lions FC this week.
Sunshine Coast FC | 1 – 7 | Brisbane Strikers FC
Sunshine Coast Stadium
Strikers find joy on the Sunshine Coast
Questions were asked of Brisbane Strikers’ standing as premiership contenders after a slow, opening three games to their NPL campaign.
Six straight wins and 26 goals later, the sleeping giant is well and truly awake.
A 7-1 win against Sunshine Coast Fire may not be too much to read into given the Fire’s struggles, but the Strikers are in great form ahead of arguably the game of the season: a match with undefeated Olympic.
The Fire, who score one goal per game but concede 5.9, have their best chance to secure their second win of the season when they travel to South West Thunder.
The 12th-placed Thunder are ripe for the Sunshine Coast’s picking, provided they fire.