By Tom Beverley
Huge crowds and a goal extravaganza saw NPL Queensland 2018 welcomed with a bang. Round one saw the Queensland distance derby and a historic NSL rivalry renewed. Get up to date with all the action from the opening round in our weekly wrap!
Redlands United | 2 – 6 | Moreton Bay United FC
Arop Hat-trick seals points for Moreton Bay
It wasn’t the best way to start the season for Redlands United, conceding in the form of an own goal inside the first 13 minutes. They levelled the scores temporarily after Shuto Koboyama pounced on a failed Moreton Bay clearance. However, two goals on the cusp of half-time courtesy of Chom Arop and Lachlan Strogusz saw Moreton Bay head into the break as clear favourites.
Redlands opened the second half scoring courtesy of Carlton Westerdale in the 65th minute. However, the optimism from the home crowd lasted all but 8 minutes as they watched their team concede two goals in the space of two minutes. Arop bagged the quick double and welcomed the 2018 season in emphatic style as he rounded out his hat-trick.
At 5-2 down, it seemed it couldn’t get worse for the home side before Zac Munster was shown red for a tackle from behind. Then, in the final moments, to further rub salt in the wounds, Moreton Bay bagged a sixth.
“Obviously there is clear indications that we need work defensively” Coach Nick Dibbs told media after a string of defensive errors proved costly against a dominant attacking display by Moreton Bay United.
Brisbane Strikers | 1 – 2 | Western Pride FC
Champions continue unbeaten run
Western Pride’s victory over reigning NPL Queensland premiers Brisbane Strikers has stretched their unbeaten NPL run to 11 straight matches. It was all Brisbane Strikers in the opening quarter of the match as Jake Mclean buried a chance inside the box to put Strikers 1-0 up after 13 minutes. Pride struck back against the run of play with a first senior goal to Andy Pengelly in the 26th minute. The score remained 1-1 going into half time leaving everything to play for in the second 45.
Western Pride were gifted a goal 5 minutes into the second half courtesy of Brisbane Strikers shot stopper Nathan Archbold who skewered a ball out from the back. Dylan Wenzel-Halls seized the opportunity a calmly slotted it home, picking up right where he left off from 2017 and continue his phenomenal run of scoring.
“It’s something that we’ve got to take on the chin. We’ve got to forget about it pretty quickly and go on and prepare” Strikers Captain Michael Angus told media as they look to prepare for another blockbuster clash away to Lions FC in round two.
Cairns FC | 1 – 3 | Gold Coast United
1765 km’s, 3 points
Gold Coast United are back, and what a way to usher in a new era of football for their club then a comfortable victory in the Queensland distance derby! A monster crowd of 1378 packed Barlow Park to welcome back the NPL to tropical far north Queensland. A crowd that was silenced just 10 minutes in after Rees Duncan, who’s pace could not be contained, pounced on a defensive error to put Gold Coast ahead. The same scenario just 6 minutes prior for Cairns FC was put straight into Goalkeeper Zac Speedy by striker Josh Taylor. A second chance for Taylor came in the 38th minute, this time slotting it home to level the scores before half-time.
Gold Coast regained the lead straight after half-time after a Sam Johnson header. Another chanced just 10 minutes later thwarted by Cairns keeper Danny Knight who pulled off an incredible double save to keep the home side in it. Chance after chance bombarded the away goal, until United put the home side to the sword in 86th minute after Nagata finished a quality attacking build up.
“Zac Speedy’s second half performance was superb” Coach Sean Lane told media after an impressive performance helped seal the points for United.
Brisbane City | 1 – 2 | Lions FC
Corporate Travel Management Stadium
Round one, Lions!
This historic rivalry spans 41 years, all the way back to 1977 during the inaugural season of the NSL. Both Brisbane City and the then Brisbane Lions were foundation members. It took just 10 minutes for Lions to bag their first through Shaun Carlos. Tensions were high in the 20th minute after a Danny Kim challenge on City’s Owain Thomas. Shaun Carlos finished off his brace as a sucker punch to City in the 44th minute, as the score sat 2-0 at the break.
Tensions again threatened to boil over just after half time after Paul Falso saw yellow for his challenge on Shaun Carlos. The elusive goal finally came for Brisbane City after Alex Fiechtner, who came on in the 64th minute, got his head on the end of a freekick in the 73rd. The momentum for City quickly settled after Paul Falso saw a second yellow card. Lions went on to ultimately claim the NPL bragging rights over the home side.
North Queensland United | 4 – 2 | Sunshine Coast FC
NQU too good for Sunny coast.
Sunshine Coast FC have now failed to win on 27 consecutive NPL occasions after a North Queensland United goal scoring blitz late in the second half saw them take all three points. NQU took an early lead at the 27th minute before Chris Swain pulled one back only 9 minutes later. The break saw both teams head in at 1-1.
Sunshine Coast’s latest signing Matthew Sanchez put the Fire in front in the 59th minute. North Queensland United put three in the back of the net in just 7 minutes to start their inaugural campaign off with 3 points.
Magpies Crusaders | 2 – 6 | Olympic FC
Welcome to the NPL, Magpies
It was the commencement of an inaugural season and the start of a brighter future for Mackay Football as 1000 fans turned out to support the Magpies Crusaders. The crowd who witnessed Kyle Markham put them 1 – 0 in front of Olympic were silenced in the 25th minute after Shelford Dais connected with none other than Shane Stefanutto to level the scores 1-1 where it stayed until the second half.
After the break, it was all OIympic FC. Goals to Matt Mundy, Adam Edgar, Danny Byrne and Jez Lofthouse had them 5-1 up over the hosts. Kyle Markham finished off his brace from the spot in the 82nd minute, before Lofthouse buried his second for the night. At 6-2 it couldn’t get much worse for the hosts, but it did when captain Michael Lyall saw red in stoppage time.
Coach Ben Cahn was wrapped with his sides second half performance, placing them equally tied top of the ladder with Moreton Bay United.
Brisbane Roar | 2 – 1 | SWQ Thunder
Gatton Soccer Club
Roar off to good start
A postponed match and late notice change of venue temporarily halted the final fixture of round one. It was a fiery clash that opened up just 10 minutes in after Rahmat Akbari intercepted a poor pass out from the Thunder defensive line, and confidently finished to give Roar the advantage. The lead however, lasted little more than 7 minutes when Kimba Kibombo slotted one into the bottom left corner. From then, chance after chance went begging for the Thunder who couldn’t break the deadlock. The roar were thrown a lifeline in the form of the halftime whistle, as both teams headed in 1 – 1.
The second half saw the Roar come out firing, and a string of chances could be capitalised on. In the 69th minute SWQ Thunder’s Italian signing Federico Brusaca went into a challenge studs up, and was quickly shown red. The Roar capitalised on the 10 man Thunder within 10 minutes when Mirza Miratovic found himself in a one on one with keeper’ Nicholas Edwards, calmly putting it in the back of the net. 2 – 1 eventuated to 3 points for the Brisbane Roar Youth, who after a tough National Youth League Campaign have had a strong start to the NPL.