Home Advantage Prevails - NPL Round 4 Wrap
Round 4 of the National Premier Leagues delivered another entertaining weekend of football right across the Sunshine State that saw teams playing at home take all the points from the six fixtures.
Review the results, goalscorers, match summaries and competition table in the weekly wrap.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES COMPETITION TABLE
|2||Redlands United FC||4||3||0||1||17||5||+13||9|
|3||Sunshine Coast FC Fire||4||3||0||1||13||2||+11||9|
|4||Moreton Bay United Jets FC||4||3||0||1||9||6||+3||9|
|5||Brisbane Strikers FC||4||3||0||1||14||12||+2||9|
|6||Brisbane City FC||4||2||0||2||20||12||+8||6|
|7||Northern Fury FC||4||2||0||2||10||8||+2||6|
|8||Western Pride FC||4||1||1||2||3||9||-6||4|
|9||Palm Beach Sharks FC||4||1||0||3||6||7||-1||3|
|10||FNQ FC Heat||4||1||0||3||5||15||-10||3|
|11||Queensland Academy of Sport||4||0||1||3||2||11||-9||1|
Olympic FC 3 (Danny BYRNE 45’, Tim SMITS 75’ 88’)
Palm Beach Sharks FC 1 (Chris LUCAS 36’)
Friday, 5th April 2013 – Goodwin Park, 8:30pm
Crowd: approx. 450
With steady rain falling throughout much of the first half, Palm Beach started promisingly against lead leaders Olympic and took the lead when Lucas finished assuredly at the far post from Nikki Fellizato’s left-sided cross.
However, as the rain eased Olympic increasingly regained control, with captain Byrne skirting a defender on the left before striking firmly to level terms on the stroke of half-time.
The second stanza saw the hosts continue their resurgence, Byrne spurning a chance to extend the lead from the spot when his penalty was saved by Sharks keeper Ryan Meskell.
Palm Beach had their chances, but the continued Olympic pressure finally overwhelmed the visitors – Smits netting a brace in the final fifteen minutes to take his season tally to eight goals.
The former Roar striker headed his first from Jai Ingham’s pin-point right-sided cross, then added a second after combining neatly with Byrnes through the centre of the Sharks defence with two minutes remaining.
The result continues Olympic’s unbeaten start to the season and the club now sits clear atop the National Premier Leagues table for the first time.
Brisbane Strikers FC 5 (Greg KING 25’ 60’, Matt THURTELL 45’p 57’, Alex HENDERSON 85’)
FNQ FC Heat 1 (Paul EIGL 5’)
Saturday, 6th April 2013 – Cleveland Showgrounds, 5:00pm
Crowd: approx. 500 (combined)
Rain also befell the first of Saturday’s bayside double-headers, where FNQ FC snatched an early lead when Eigl headed home confidently from an early corner.
As per previous weeks, Strikers found an extra gear after falling behind, however the leveller came in fortunate circumstances when King’s dangerous cross to the back post took a deflection that left Heat keeper Anthony Zecchinati no chance of a save.
Strikers pulled ahead just prior to half time when Thurtell converted his own penalty, the somewhat controversial decision coming when the striker was bundled over by two defenders whilst jostling for a loose ball.
King and Thurtell then combined twice just prior to the hour mark to seal the result. Firstly, Thurtell turned in King’s freekick at the far post with an oustretched foot before three minutes later Thurtell returned the favour by teeing the ball up for King’s second of the evening.
The final goal came against a tired Heat side when imposing defender Henderson headed home from Josh Taylor’s cross after staying forward following an earlier over-struck corner.
Redlands United FC 3 (Graham FYFE 45' 56'p, Ramone CLOSE 51')
Moreton Bay United Jets FC 1 (Royce BROWNLIE 72')
Saturday, 6th April 2013 – Cleveland Showgrounds, 7:30pm
Crowd: approx. 500 (combined)
The rain eased somewhat for the second double-header fixture at Cleveland and it was the home side’s quick passing and tight combinations that benefitted most from the still slick playing surface.
Despite having the better of the game, Redlands didn’t make the breakthrough til just before the break when Fyfe’s curling freekick found the top corner of the net from twenty-five yards.
Close then extended the home side’s lead on the back of a well-worked team goal, a series of one-touch passes allowing the attacking midfielder to finish from close range.
Fyfe snared his brace from the penalty spot before the hour to effectively seal the result for the hosts.
Jets striker Brownlie steered a well-placed header into the net amongst a crowded penalty area to give the visitors a sniff of a comeback, but Redlands held firm to claim bragging rights in the first meeting between the bayside clubs and continue their surge up the NPL ladder.
Sunshine Coast FC Fire 1 (Nico BECHAR 11')
Queensland Academy of Sport 0
Sunday, 7th April 2013 – Sunshine Coast Stadium, 2:00pm
Crowd: approx. 650
Sunshine Coast claimed their first home points of the season, and recorded their third clean sheet in four games, against an increasingly competitive Academy side lacking punch in the final third.
Frenchman Bechar’s early strike proved decisive for the hosts, the left-winger cutting inside to beat his marker then deftly firing his shot from the edge of the penalty area to secure his side all three points.
Despite controlling the contest throughout the afternoon, Fire were unable to put the game to bed and relied on their miserly defence lead by captain Greg Henslee to seal the single goal result, restricting the Academy to the barest of half chances.
The result sees Sunshine Coast climb to third on the table, while QAS remain winless with a solitary point from their opening four fixtures.
Northern Fury FC 3 (Jake NAVARRO 35', own goal 44', Alex READ 63')
Western Pride FC 0
Sunday, 7th April 2013 – Townsville Recreation Reserve, 3:00pm
Crowd: approx. 2500
Fury made their official Townsville homecoming an afternoon to remember, riding a wave of parochial support from an enthusiastic home crowd to secure their second win of the season.
Navarro opened the scoring just after the half hour when he ran on to a well-placed pass from Fury debutant Mick Eisenhut, the young forward slotting his shot confidently for his third of the campaign.
Five minutes later, Navarro sought to add to his tally, however his shot from just inside the area took an unkind deflection from a defender near the goal line to extend the home side’s lead.
Eisenhut capped off his solid first-up performance to supply Read for the final score of the afternoon, marking Read’s first goal of the season.
Following a promising start to the year, Pride have now been held scoreless in their past two games, seeing the Ipswich-based club drop to the bottom half of the table for the first time this season.
Brisbane City FC 8 (Antonio MURRAY 20' 22' 55' 76' 88', Eric FRAZIER 52', Matt BIGGINS 61' 78')
CQFC Energy 1 (Chris GEDDES 77’)
Sunday, 7th April 2013 – Spencer Park, 3:00pm
Crowd: approx. 250
CQFC’s early season woes continued as the Rockhampton-based side suffered their fourth consecutive defeat at the hands of an ever-improving Brisbane City outfit who move into the top half of the table for the first time this season.
Antonio Murray did the bulk of the damage for the hosts, securing a 2-0 lead at half-time when he twice finished crosses from the right side – the second coming when an early diagonal ball from the back picked out an inspired run from right back Luca Jannese.
American Eric Frazier also threatened down the left against the porous Energy backline in the first forty-five, and it was his rifled shot into the top corner that sealed the result six minutes after the restart.
Murray continued his assault in the second half, securing his five goal haul two minutes from time by stylishing rounding the keeper before coolly slotting into an empty net.
Not to be outdone, Matt Biggins underlined his role in the City attack by netting a second half brace.
The only bright spot for CQFC came once again from Geddes, who netted his fourth of the campaign and remains the only player to have scored for Energy this season.
Words: Michael Flynn (Football Queensland)