Late drama seemed to be the trend of Round three, combined with securing that all important first victory of the new season. Let’s take a look at how the action unfolded over the weekend.
By Tom Beverley
Redlands United | 2 – 0 | Gold Coast United
Redlands celebrate first win of 2018
Redlands United secured their first three points of 2018 after a Shuto Kuboyama double helped to seal victory for the home side. Kuboyama netted 26 times in 2017 during a stint with Brisbane Premier League side North Pine and appears to have seamlessly transitioned his form in to the National Premier League. Having now scored in each of the opening three rounds, the star striker is quickly staking his claim to the 2018 golden boot taking his tally to six in total.
The home side played some delightful football in the opening stages and were rewarded within the first 20 minutes. Gold Coast United were unable to capitalise on the few attacking opportunities created, perhaps missing the services of central midfielder Nicholas Panetta.
In the 74th minute, Kuboyama played the ball around Gold Coast shot-stopper Zac Speedy to put the match to bed. Having now conceded four without answer in the last two rounds, Gold Coast will look to host an equally disappointed Brisbane City in round four. Redlands will look to build on this performance when they travel to Barlow Park to take on Cairns FC.
Brisbane Strikers | 2 – 2 | Moreton Bay United
Incredible finish leads to shared points
The Saturday night clash between Brisbane Strikers and Moreton Bay United was an emotional rollercoaster that, between the 89th and 93nd minute had fans questioning reality itself. Strikers, desperate to get on the board of 2018 were always going to come out firing and had the better of the opening chances. Moreton Bay had opportunities to get in front early as well, however neither was able to take control of the opening half. A major blow to Moreton Bay came after Chom Arop was replaced, injured in the 28th minute. The extent of the injury is currently unknown.
The Jets struck first after the break when Brenton Fox scored at the near post. It wasn’t until the 75th minute when the Strikers began to ramp up their attack. It was only the individual brilliance between the posts from Jets goalkeeper Behzad Ariayee that maintained the lead for the visitors, at least until the 89th minute.
A handball in the box had Strikers’ Michael Lee convert from the spot. Not one minute later, a second penalty was called and Jets’ Matt Byrne was subsequently given his marching orders. Michael Lee converted again and suddenly after trailing for 42 minutes, Brisbane Strikers were 2 – 1 up with only three minutes of stoppage time to hold out. With less than a minute left, Jets’ Nick Bernadi put it in the back of the net following a scramble in the box.
In true Perry Park fashion, the final four minutes saw three goals, two of them penalties and one red card.
The strikers will now look to Round Four to get their first win, against Toowoomba based SWQ Thunder.
Brisbane City | 2 – 3 | SWQ Thunder
Corporate Travel Management Stadium
Brisbane City succumbed to yet another defeat, their third consecutive for this season, after an impressive SWQ team returned to Toowoomba with all three points. Both sides came out with intent in the first fourteen minutes, however play was temporarily halted due to a power outage. The fifteen minute break did nothing to halt the tempo of the match, when a Chris Hatfield Thunderbolt from 25 yards put the visitors up within seven minutes of play resuming. City responded almost immediately when Nathan Bird picked out the top corner sending the sides to halftime with a goal apiece.
It wasn’t long into the second half when The Thunder doubled, and then tripled their lead. Jacob Bigby got the first in the 56th minute. Six minutes later Anthony Grant did well to follow up on Emmanuel Philips effort. City pulled one back in the 79th minute when a Greg King spot kick sent Jacob Sayle the wrong way.
It wasn’t enough for the home side, who now remain the only team that are yet to open their points account for 2018. Thunder will look to make it three consecutive matches without a defeat when they travel to Perry Park in Round Four.
North Queensland United | 1 – 6 | Western Pride
NQU hit for six
Ipswich based Western Pride travelled to Townsville over the weekend for their clash with North Queensland United. The home side could do very little to repel the sheer attacking dominance of the visitors who had themselves 5 – 1 up at half time. Dylan Wenzel-Halls was an absolute menace in the final third netting a hat-trick, hitting the post once and the cross-bar twice in what were twelve chances on goal by the young striker. Andy Pengelly bagged a first half brace, with Joe Duckworth also getting his first of the campaign.
There was clearly a point to prove for the Pride after suffering a rare defeat last week. Prides’ six goals could have easily have been doubled with the amount of chances created.
North Queensland had glimpses throughout the match, netting once in the 27th minute through Corey Wapples however, they were overrun by a dominant Western Pride.
North Queensland United will need to move on quickly before travelling to Lions Stadium in Round Four. Western Pride return to North Queensland when they take on the Magpies Crusaders in Mackay.
Magpies Crusaders | 3 – 2 | Sunshine Coast FC
The Crusade Begins!
The Magpies Crusaders have secured their first National Premier League win when they claimed the three points in Mackay against Sunshine Coast. Magpies captain Michael Lyall returned to the squad fresh off a one week suspension, in what was a huge boost to the home side. Lyall opened proceedings within the first three minutes before the home side doubled their lead just 14 minutes later. Kyle Markham was taken out in the box, and converted the subsequent penalty, his third goal of the campaign.
After the break it was The Fire who pulled one back in the 65th minute when Chris Swain pounced on a poor pass out from the back by Magpies goalkeeper Mitchell Wright. Magpies almost immediately responded, through Michael Lyall who had his brace after heading home a cross. Sunshine Coast managed to pull another one back however it wasn’t enough for the visitors who went home empty handed.
Brisbane Roar Youth | 2 – 3 | Cairns FC
Young Roar downed at home
It was an incredibly even contest between the Brisbane Roar Youth and Cairns FC. A stoppage time winner for Cairns saw them travel back to the tropics with all three points, their first of 2018 and in the process handing Brisbane their first defeat of the campaign.
Cairns striker Josh Taylor picked up his third and fourth of the competition, netting first within five minutes of kick-off. Despite trailing, it was a half of football that Brisbane controlled for large periods and although Cairns had a pair of chances late, they were unable to punish The Roar further.
It was a truly intriguing second half, leaving the result completely unpredictable right up until the 90th minute. Mirza Muratovic pulled Brisbane level in the 59th minute, then five minutes later Lleyton Brooks bagged another and all of a sudden Brisbane found themselves leading having trailed for the better part of an hour. It was short lived however, after a defensive error at the back proved diabolical when veteran Cairns striker Jamie Carol tapped home to equalise.
Carol again proved the difference for Cairns, picking up an assist in stoppage time combining with Josh Taylor to snatch all three points.
Olympic FC | 1 – 0 | Lions FC
Olympic FC tame Lions
Olympic have made it three from three in the opening round of the National Premier League. The victory over newcomers Lions FC has placed them atop the table, two points clear of Moreton Bay whom they will take on in Round Four at Wolter Park on what is going to be a top of the table clash. It was an important victory for the side backing up last weekend’s triumph over Western Pride, both opponents widely held as among the silverware contestants for 2018.
The match was hotly contested, with chances at both ends throughout play. However, it was a Jez Lofthouse goal within the first five minutes that proved all the difference, with neither team really able to take control of the match.