Four Queensland teams have booked their spot in the FFA Cup Round of 32 after the Preliminary Rounds hit fever pitch over the weekend.
In their Round 7 matches, NPL Queensland sides Lions FC, Peninsula Power and Gold Coast Knights all secured the opportunity to represent Queensland on the national stage, joined by FNQ Premier League team Edge Hill United who have become the first community club to qualify for the Round of 32 in 2021.
The first club to seal their place was Lions FC on Friday evening, in a gripping 2-1 win against Brisbane City. The old rivals were all square at 1-1 heading into a gritty second half, but a penalty in the 90th minute saw Lions’ striker Max Mikkola convert the spot kick to advance the club to their third Round of 32 appearance.
The stakes were higher than ever in a thrilling FFA Cup clash between two sides at the top of the NPL table on Saturday. The quest for cup glory was cut short for Olympic FC after a hard fought 2-1 defeat at the hands of league ladder leaders Peninsula Power.
The heavyweight battle was locked at 1-1 thanks to a goal from Olympic winger Daniel Leck, with end-to-end action causing a real buzz in the second half before Power fired a decisive goal from the spot in the 70th minute, their clinical performance securing the win.
Meanwhile up North, a David and Goliath battle saw FFA Cup history made on Saturday, with Edge Hill United advancing to become the first ever community club north of Brisbane to appear in the Round of 32 with a 3-1 defeat over NPL side Magpies Crusaders United.
Edge Hill goal machine Ryan Murray unlocked the match and led his team to an historic win with two sublime headers to the back of the net. It was a cracking effort by Edge Hill, who took control of glit-edged opportunities and weathered the pressure brought on by Magpies’ defence.
The Cairns team has dominated the football scene in North Queensland in recent years winning back-to-back FNQ Premierships and Grand Finals, and will relish the opportunity to bring their stunning form to the national stage in this year’s Round of 32.
Round 7 wrapped up on Sunday with Gold Coast Knights securing the last remaining Queensland spot of the knockout competition, handing Sunshine Coast Wanderers a 4-0 defeat.
The highly anticipated Coast Derby was dominated by Knights’ Curtis Stollery who capitalised on a loose ball and bagged a double before the end of the first half.
The Sunshine Coast side kept their foot on the gas but ultimately couldn’t make an impact against their inter-zone rivals, with the match resulting in Knights’ second appearance in the national Final Rounds.
Words: Charlotte Monteath