Fans are counting down the hours until Magpies Crusaders FC and Coomera Colts SC come face-to-face in the FFA Cup on Wednesday night, as both teams prepare for their maiden appearance in the Round of 32.
This week’s clash will be the third consecutive meeting of two Queensland clubs in the national stages of the tournament, but the journey for the two teams to this point has been vastly different.
One of the smallest clubs to reach the national stage, Coomera has also had one of the longest journeys to the Round of 32 this year.
The Gold Coast Premier League team, who have played in just two previous FFA Cup preliminary rounds in 2015 and 2017, had never moved past the second stage in Queensland and re-wrote club history when they beat Virginia United to progress to Round 3 of the cup competition this year.
Their biggest challenge came in Round 5 though, when they drew National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland side Redlands United.
Down 4-1 by the half hour mark, a burst of three goals in the space of 17 minutes saw Coomera draw level before Redlands regained the lead.
Proving they weren’t a team to give up, the Colts scored an equaliser in the 89th minute to send the game to extra time.
It was during those 30 minutes of extra time that a fairy tale comeback was complete with Colts winger Ferdinand Annor netting the winning free-kick.
The minnow club continued their run of form through the Cup with wins over Football Queensland Premier League (FQPL) teams Holland Park Hawks and Logan Lightning.
It was a nervous wait for the final whistle for coach Steve MacDonald in the Logan match with the score at 2-1 and the fourth official finding 10 additional minutes of time.
“I was kind of praying on the bench,” MacDonald told Football Gold Coast after the match.
However as the final whistle went it was jubilation for fans and the club.
“I’m on top of the world mate, little bit speechless and the boys deserve every credit they get,” MacDonald said.
“I could not be any more proud of them.”
Colts become just the fourth team from a fourth tier competition to have made the national stage joining Gold Coast Knights (2018), Balmain Tigers (2015) and South Springvale (2014).
Magpies’ entrance into the Round of 32 meanwhile came after the heartbreak of narrowly missing out in 2018.
It’s been two years since the Magpies Sporting Club and Crusaders Football Club successfully came together to form the Mackay and Whitsundays Magpies Crusaders United.
In only their second season of the NPL Queensland, the club progressed through the regional qualification pathway to reach the national stage of the Cup competition this year.
A tough preliminary stage of the FFA Cup saw the team play four games, including two NPL matches, in the space of six days.
Magpies handed heavy defeats to Mackay Rangers, Mackay Magpies FC and Bluebirds United before reaching Round 7 where they faced Brothers Townsville.
While Magpies were favourites to advance, it wouldn’t be the FFA Cup without a bit of drama.
Magpies opened the scoring before Brothers levelled in the 76th minute, and with no more goals before the final whistle, the game headed into extra-time.
Nothing could separate the teams after the extra 30 minutes, before a tense start to the ensuing penalty shootout saw Magpies miss their opening two spot kicks.
Eventually getting on the board thanks to Liam Shipton, goalkeeper Mitch Wright went on to save Brothers’ spot kick to put them back into contention.
In the end it all came down to Wright, who saved a penalty to put his side through to their first Round of 32 appearance.
While both Magpies and Coomera expressed their desire to host Hyundai A-League opposition in the Round of 32, their match up will guarantee one Queensland side their debut appearance in the FFA Cup Round of 16.
Magpies Crusaders v Coomera Colts
Wednesday, 24 July 2019, 7:30pm