NPL Round 12 Weekly Wrap
It's getting tight at the top of the NPL table as teams enter the back end of the season and look towards the finals.
Review all the weekend's action in the weekly wrap.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES QUEENSLAND COMPETITION TABLE
|2||Brisbane City FC||12||9||1||2||44||21||+23||28|
|3||Brisbane Strikers FC||12||8||0||4||38||23||+15||24|
|4||Redlands United FC||12||7||2||3||45||26||+19||23|
|5||Sunshine Coast FC Fire||12||7||1||5||35||15||+20||22|
|6||Moreton Bay United Jets FC||12||6||1||5||19||25||-6||19|
|7||Northern Fury FC||12||4||2||6||27||29||-2||14|
|8||Palm Beach Sharks FC||12||4||1||7||26||30||-4||13|
|9||Western Pride FC||12||4||1||7||17||25||-8||13|
|10||FNQ FC Heat||12||3||2||7||14||35||-21||11|
|12||Queensland Academy of Sport||12||1||2||9||13||33||-20||5|
Palm Beach Sharks 0
Moreton Bay United Jets 1 (Mitchell SCHEUMACK 18’)
Attendance: 100 (approx.)
Moreton Bay Jets have completed the first double in the club’s short history, defeating Palm Beach Sharks 1-0 at Mallawa Drive on Saturday evening.
Mitchell Sheumack’s first ever National Premier Leagues goal ultimately proved decisive for the visitors in the wet conditions, the 17 year old defender heading home from a corner kick on 18 minutes.
Sharks spurned a chance to level terms late in the second half when Chris Lucas saw his 77th minute penalty saved by Jets custodian Christian Smith.
The result marks the second time Jets have defeated Palm Beach this season following a 3-2 opening round home win and solidifies the club’s spot in the top half of the table to ensure the Jets remain in finals contention.
The defeat was the Sharks first in four games, and sees the Gold Coast based side sit ten points adrift of the NPL top four with ten games remaining in the regular season.
Redlands United 3 (Zak BRATTAN 53’, Ramone CLOSE 80’, George BARBAROUSES 84’)
Brisbane Strikers 0
Attendance: 200 (approx.)
Redlands United have maintained their spot in the National Premier Leagues top four with an impressive 3-0 win over fellow finals contenders Brisbane Strikers at Cleveland Showgrounds on Saturday night.
Despite a scoreless first half that featured few genuine chances for either side, the second half belonged to Redlands – the steady rain slickening the surface and aiding the Devils fleet-footed forwards.
Zak Brattan opened the scoring for the hosts early in the second half, the midfielder striking a volley at the top of the box that ricocheted in off the post.
The goal opened up the contest, however Strikers remained second best until Ramone Close extended Redlands advantage with ten minutes remaining – the former Redlands junior shaking a defender before slotting his shot into the bottom corner.
Kiwi George Barbarouses netted his second of the campaign four minutes later to seal the points for the hosts, the attacking midfielder beating Strikers goalkeeper Will Rockett one-on-one after latching on to Close’s deft nod on.
The result narrows the margin between the sides to a single competition point in the ongoing battle for third place on the NPL table.
Queensland Academy of Sport 1 (Elliot RONTO 89’p)
Western Pride 2 (Zelmar MARTINEZ 10’, Russell WOODRUFFE 51’p)
Attendance: 500 (approx.)
Western Pride turned around a two game losing streak on Saturday night to defeat Queensland Academy of Sport 2-1 at Kippen Park to continue their stop-start season.
Zelmar Martinez opened accounts early for the Ipswich-based Pride, the attack-minded left back turning in captain Will Jordan’s cross on 10 minutes.
Pride held the lead til the half, then extended their advantage after Peter Drager was brought down in the penalty area – Drager’s strike partner Russell Woodruffe subsequently converting the spot kick for his sixth goal of the season.
A late penalty ensured a tense finale when referee Ben Cook spotted an infringement from Joel Hancock in the box; Elliot Ronto scored the ensuing penalty for the Academy, his third of the season.
However, Pride held on in injury time for the fourth win of the campaign.
The result moves Pride level with Palm Beach Sharks on 13 competition points and ten points shy of finals contention, while QAS remain at the foot of the NPL table for a third straight week.
Sunshine Coast Fire 9 (Leon DWYER 6’, Nico BECHAR 21’ 44’ 82’, Jeremy LYNCH 32’ 38’ 48’, James VERDIN 67’, Chris TOOVEY 79’)
CQFC Energy 0
Englishman and new CQFC Energy head coach Raymond Wood received a baptism of fire on Sunday afternoon as his side fell 9-0 to a rampant Sunshine Coast side at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Frenchman Nico Bechar and Jeremy Lynch were the stars for the hosts, inflicting the bulk of the damage by scoring a hat-trick each.
Fire dominated their opponents from the outset, Leon Dwyer opening the scoring with barely six minutes played.
Bechar and Lynch then netted twice before the break to give Fire a 5-0 half-time advantage, before both completed their personal hauls in the second half – Bechar taking his season tally to six goals, and Lynch to a club best eight goals.
James Verdin and Chris Toovey chimed in after the hour mark to complete the nine-goal rout and allay head coach Kevin Aherne-Evans season long concerns in the front third of the pitch.
The result also sees Sunshine Coast maintain their league-best defensive record and remain a single competition point outside the top four.
Northern Fury 1 (Jake NAVARRO 5’)
FNQ FC Heat 1 (Charlie BEVERLEY 90’)
Attendance: 1980 (approx.)
A late equaliser from Australian schoolboy representative Charlie Beverley has seen Northern Fury and FNQ FC Heat share the spoils in a dramatic north Queensland derby at Townsville Sports Reserve on Sunday.
Despite boisterous support for both teams from the bumper crowd neither side was able to take control of the contest, with both teams finding scoring chances hard to come by.
Alex Navarro opened accounts early for the hosts, poaching on a loose ball following a corner to score through a congested penalty area on five minutes.
Despite the arm wrestle in the centre of the pitch, Fury looked likely to avenge their opening round defeat to Heat – the Cairns-based side conceding four yellow cards in ten minutes as they grew increasingly frustrated.
Unpredictably, the visitors levelled terms in the final minute of regulation time. The quick-thinking Beverley chipping Fury ‘keeper Bradley Burrows after he leaving his line to punch a long throw, the clearance only going as far as the edge of the area to the awaiting Beverley.
The unlikely derby draw was soured for Heat however when Josh Jennison was shown a red card in injury time.
The shared points sees both sides remain in the bottom half of the NPL table, with Fury sitting in seventh and FNQ FC in tenth place.
Olympic FC 1 (Jai INGHAM 6’)
Brisbane City 3 (Antonio MURRAY 8’, Eric FRAZIER 41’ 70’)
Attendance: 1200 (approx.)
Brisbane City confirmed themselves as genuine NPL title contenders on Sunday after handing league leaders Olympic FC their first defeat of the season, prevailing 3-1 at Goodwin Park.
Eric Frazier continued his recent run of goal scoring form – recording his third brace in four matches – to add to Antonio Murray’s opener for City in the come-from-behind win.
Olympic’s Jai Ingham followed the form guide early, giving the hosts the perfect start when he latched on to Jack Petrie’s pass to finish from a tight angle.
However, City bounced back only two minutes later courtesy of the irrepressible Murray – the league’s leading goal scorer running on to a through-ball before slotting a customarily clinical finish into the bottom corner of the net.
Frazier netted his first somewhat against the run of play just prior to halftime, cutting inside from the left byline before sneaking a well-placed shot in at the near post.
The American then sealed the result with a spectacular 30 yard thunderbolt with 20 minutes remaining, leaving City’s increasingly immovable back four to hold out the hosts until the final whistle.
The result goes someway to avenging City’s humbling 6-2 opening night home defeat against the same opposition and sees City reduce Olympic’s lead at the top of the league to three points.
Words: Michael Flynn (Football Queensland)