NPL Round 14 Weekly Wrap
Round 14 of NPL Queensland has delivered some big wins and hard fought draws right across the state.
Review all the weekend's action in the weekly wrap.
NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES COMPETITION TABLE
|2||Brisbane City FC||13||9||2||2||45||22||+23||29|
|3||Redlands United FC||14||9||2||3||54||28||+26||29|
|4||Sunshine Coast FC Fire||14||8||1||5||37||17||+20||25|
|5||Brisbane Strikers FC||13||8||0||5||40||29||+11||24|
|6||Moreton Bay United Jets FC||14||7||2||5||23||27||-4||23|
|7||Palm Beach Sharks FC||13||5||1||7||29||32||-3||16|
|8||Northern Fury FC||14||4||4||6||31||33||-2||16|
|9||Western Pride FC||13||4||1||8||17||27||-10||13|
|10||FNQ FC Heat||14||3||3||8||17||40||-23||12|
|12||Queensland Academy of Sport||14||1||2||11||15||38||-23||5|
Northern Fury 2 (Mitch ROBINSON 62’, Alex READ 71’)
Moreton Bay Jets 2 (Royce BROWNLIE 47’(p) 69’)
Crowd: 800 (approx.)
Northern Fury continued their run of home draws on Saturday night, twice coming from behind to hold in-form Moreton Bay Jets to a 2-2 stalemate at Townsville Sports Reserve.
Jets skipper Royce Brownlie netted a second half brace for the visitors, taking his season tally to ten, only to see his goals cancelled out by strikes from Mitch Robinson and Alex Read.
After a scoreless first half, Brownlie opened accounts when he slotted his second penalty in two weeks shortly after the restart. Robinson then levelled terms just after the hour when he intercepted a pass from the back and fired home from 18 yards.
Brownlie edged the visitors ahead once more shortly after when he finished off a cross from 15 yards. However, the lead once again proved short-lived as Read turned in Robinson’s cross from close range to earn Fury a share of the points.
The draw is Fury’s third straight at home, while for Jets the result is their second draw in an unbeaten run that now extends to five games and leaves them two points shy of the NPL top four.
Palm Beach Sharks 3 (Chris LUCAS 36’ 74’, Justyn MCKAY 90’+2)
Queensland Academy of Sport 2 (Nick KLAASEN 6’, Jack BLADEN 25’)
Crowd: 200 (approx.)
Queensland Academy of Sport let slip a golden opportunity to record their second win of the season on Saturday evening at Mallawa Sports Complex, surrendering a half-time lead to fall 3-2 to Palm Beach Sharks.
Attacking midfielder Chris Lucas netted twice for Sharks in the come-from-behind win before captain Justyn McKay sealed the three points for the home side with an injury time winner.
QAS started the match promisingly and opened the scoring inside ten minutes courtesy of Nick Klaasen before Jack Bladen extended the lead twenty minutes later.
Lucas pulled Palm Beach a goal back with ten minutes remaining in the half when he ran onto McKay’s well-weighted pass from midfield, the 21 year old forward slotting his shot through the legs of QAS goalkeeper Fraser Chalmers.
The Academy defiantly held Sharks at bay for much of the second period before Lucas popped up again to level terms on 74 minutes, driving home a loose ball on the edge of the 18 yard box for his tenth goal of the season.
McKay then pinched Sharks the three points in injury time, shaking a defender before keeping his composure to produce a clinical finish and seal the Sharks fourth win from their past five outings and lifting the Gold Coast club to seventh on the table.
Brisbane City 1 (Eric FRAZIER 41’)
FNQ FC Heat 1 (Jamie CARROLL 60’)
Crowd: 300 (approx.)
Far North Queensland FC Heat turned the NPL form guide on its head Saturday night following a hard fought 1-1 draw with Brisbane City at Spencer Park.
Heat started well and forged some early chances before City settled and opened the scoring through Eric Frazier just prior to half time, the American finishing off a well-worked passing movement between Kenneth Dougall and Alistair Pase to turn the ball in from 6 yards out.
Jamie Carroll found the equaliser on the hour after City failed to clear their lines from Charlie Beverley’s cross – the promising young forward regathering his own deflected half-volley and taking a touch before curling his low shot past City goalkeeper Matt Stein.
City desperately sought a winner in the final ten minutes, however the crossbar and Heat custodian Mikel Breckinridge combined to deny the hosts a much needed three points as they seek to keep the pressure on league leaders Olympic FC.
The result continues City’s unbeaten run to 11 games and sees the club sit eight points shy of top spot with a game still in hand. Meanwhile Heat retain their hold on tenth position, one point behind Western Pride.
Sunshine Coast Fire 2 (Sam KNIGHT 8’ 90’+4)
Western Pride 0
Crowd: 400 (approx.)
Sunshine Coast Fire returned to the NPL top four on Sunday afternoon defeating Western Pride 2-0 at Sunshine Coast Stadium courtesy of a double to winger Sam Knight.
Knight opened accounts early for the hosts, finishing off a neat passing movement on the edge of the penalty area with a well-placed shot in to the bottom left corner of the net.
The rest of the half was a stop-start affair with few clear cut chances for either side, referee Casey Reibelt doing well to keep a lid on the frustrations of both sides in the hard fought battle.
The contest remained tight until the final minute when Knight popped up for his second of the match and fourth goal of the campaign – the unusually quiet Nico Bechar setting up the 25 year old Knight with a tidy run down the left, squaring the ball to the far post for a close range finish.
The wins sees Fire move ahead of rivals Brisbane Strikers in to fourth spot on the NPL table and continues the Fire’s impressive defensive record – the result marking a return to defensive form for the Fire, recording their sixth clean sheet of the season.
Olympic FC 6 (Matt HEATH 10’, Tim SMITS 16’ 29’ 40, Danny BYRNE 18’(p), Jai INGHAM 27’)
Brisbane Strikers 2 (Greg KING 51’, Josh MCVEY 53’)
Crowd: 800 (approx.)
A first half master class from star striker Tim Smits has seen Olympic FC crush cross town rivals Brisbane Strikers 6-2 at Goodwin Park on Sunday night.
The former Brisbane Roar player proved unstoppable against the Strikers defence in a devastating first half spell that saw the hosts seal the points with a 6-0 half time lead.
Matt Heath opened the scoring for the hosts when he latched on to Smits’ nod on from Kazuya Ito’s floated free kick on ten minutes; and soon after Smits again displayed his aerial prowess, heading home from another free kick to double Olympic’s advantage.
Four minutes later Danny Byrne furthered the lead from the penalty spot, before Smits again nodded on for a teammate – Jai Ingham pouncing on the ball before unleashing a vicious shot across his body at full pace that ricocheted in off the left post.
On 29 minutes Smits once again turned in a free kick with his head for his second of the evening, before the 27 year old sealed his hat-trick, and 16th goal of the campaign, when he turned in Heath’s cross from close range five minutes from half time.
Strikers attempted a second half resurgence, scoring two goals in quick time following the restart – Greg King breaking away on the counter attack and finishing coolly with his left foot before Josh McVey met a similar long pass two minutes later and shrewdly chipped back-peddling Olympic keeper Mario Aparicio.
The win extends Olympic’s advantage at the top of the table to eight points with eight rounds remaining in the regular season, while Strikers drop out of the top four for the first time since Round 4.
CQFC Energy 0
Redlands United 5 (Reuben WAY 19’, Ramone CLOSE 24’, Ryan COKELL 33’, George BARBAROUSES 34’, Scott BOW 60’)
Redlands United continued their recent run of results with an impressive 5-0 win over CQFC Energy at Jardine Park in Rockhampton on Saturday night.
The Devils shared the goals as they unleashed a full team performance against the struggling Energy, who fell to the same opposition 11-0 earlier this season.
Reuben Way netted the opener for Redlands when he finished Graham Fyfe’s cross at the far post, before Ramone Close finished off a similar movement five minutes later for a two goal advantage.
Former Brisbane Striker Ryan Cokell scored his side’s third on debut, slotting a well-placed shot from 18 yards out. A minute later George Barbarouses scored his third goal in three weeks, finishing on the turn.
Scott Bow’s first goal of the season sealed the rout on the hour mark, the defender rising well to head home from a corner kick.
The win sees Redlands move level with second-placed Brisbane City on 29 points and marks three straight wins for the bayside club as they look to sure up their position in the NPL finals series.
Words: Michael Flynn (Football Queensland)