Surfers Paradise Apollo’s fairytale Westfield FFA Cup run will continue into the Round of 32 with Saturday night’s 2-0 win over Sunshine Coast FC securing their debut Final Rounds berth.
Nikki Felizatto and Wade Russell both scored after half-time at Lex Bell Oval to sew up the hosts’ decisive win over a third straight PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues opposition.
The result books Surfers’ place as just the second community club to represent Queensland in the Round of 32 after Lions FC progressed to the final 16 last term.
Speaking amid the celebrations, Surfers coach David Benigno said he couldn’t wait to have a crack at the nation’s best.
“I’m ecstatic with the performance. I’m really, really excited and excited for the boys,” Surfers coach David Benigno said.
“I wouldn’t be disappointed with whoever we get (in the Round of 32).
“If we get one of the good Melbourne sides or one of the good Sydney sides it would be great, but I would like to go straight for an A-League side because you don’t know how long you’re going to stay in the tournament.”
Queensland’s second regional qualifying berth failed to favour the only other remaining community club as Rockhampton’s Frenchville SC were edged 4-2 by FNQ FC Heat
An own goal handed the visitors a shock lead inside five minutes, but Heat – the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues leaders – fought back to take control of the contest.
— Benn Mackie (@BennMackie) June 11, 2016
Despite letting slip of the lead, Frenchville coach Justin Kilshaw praised his players for the improvement on the 7-1 defeat suffered at this stage last season.
“It’s really hard to be disappointed with that effort from our guys,” Kilshaw said.
“Obviously we’re an amateur team and only train two nights a week, so to come up against the big boys and put in that sort of effort was really pleasing.
“The other pleasing thing is that the players are really disappointed about the result. It just goes to prove that if we were in their shoes and training three or four nights a week we could certainly compete.”
Heat’s victory confirms their spot in the Round of 32 for the third straight season, joining Brisbane Strikers as the state’s only other club to qualify in each year of the tournament’s history.
Surfers will debut alongside Redlands United with all four clubs to learn their fate when the draw is conducted on either 29 or 30 June.