NPL Round 22 Weekly Wrap
Four sides concluded their NPL Queensland campaigns in Round 22, but the last place in the semi-finals remains up for grabs.
Review all the exciting action from across the state in the Round 22 NPL Queensland Weekly Wrap.
NPL QUEENSLAND COMPETITION TABLE
|2||Brisbane City FC||21||15||2||4||62||35||+27||47|
|3||Sunshine Coast FC Fire||22||15||1||6||61||22||+39||46|
|4||Redlands United FC||22||12||3||7||72||39||+33||39|
|5||Brisbane Strikers FC||20||13||0||7||60||36||+24||39|
|6||Moreton Bay United Jets FC||21||10||3||8||37||43||-6||33|
|7||Northern Fury FC||22||9||5||8||48||43||+5||32|
|8||Western Pride FC||21||7||3||11||37||47||-10||24|
|9||Palm Beach Sharks FC||21||7||1||13||39||58||-19||22|
|10||FNQ FC Heat||22||4||4||14||30||69||-39||16|
|12||Queensland Academy of Sport||22||2||2||18||23||61||-38||8|
Redlands United 7 (Reuben WAY 28’ 68 86’ 89’, Jheison MACAUCE 44’ 58’, Dylan STUBBS 64’)
Palm Beach Sharks 1 (Jarrod KYLE 12’)
Crowd: 100 approx.
REDLANDS | A four goal performance from Rueben Way kept Redlands United’s finals flame burning bright on Wednesday night following a comprehensive 7-1 victory over Palm Beach Sharks at Cleveland Showgrounds.
Way notched his first goal just prior to the half hour, cancelling out Jarrod Kyle’s 12th minute opener for the visitors in the rescheduled Round 18 match-up.
The 23 year old forward later sealed the win with the final three goals of the match adding to further scores from team mates Jheison Macauce and Dylan Stubbs.
The four goal haul extends Way’s personal return this season to 18 goals, while teammate Macauce’s brace takes him to 15 goals for the campaign.
The result sets up Redlands for a must-win last match of the regular season against Brisbane City as Devils continue to battle Brisbane Strikers for the final spot in the end of season NPL Queensland finals.
Brisbane City 2 (Antonio MURRAY 26’, Luca PERICO 64’)
Redlands United 0
Crowd: 400 approx.
BRISBANE | Brisbane City secured a home semi-final on Saturday night following a hard-earned 2-0 win over finals hopefuls Redlands United at Spencer Park.
Star striker Antonio Murray and new Italian signing Luca Perico netted for the hosts to secure a second-placed finish to the NPL Queensland regular season.
League leading goalscorer Murray opened accounts with his 25th strike of the season - the Roar triallist latching on to Jae-Joo’s throughball and slotting home with a classy finish.
Redlands flirted with an equaliser but City repelled their raids to maintain the single goal lead at the half time break.
Former Atalanta youth player Perico extended the advantage and sealed the result with 25 minutes remaining, maintaining his balance amid the attentions of Redlands defence to volley home a corner kick nodded back across goal.
City will face Brisbane Strikers on Saturday at Perry Park in a rescheduled Round 13 match-up before they embark on their finals campaign.
Redlands will sweat on the result of that match, with Strikers requiring only a single point from their final two fixtures to seal fourth position and end the Devils season.
CQFC Energy 0
Palm Beach Sharks 5 (Jarrod KYLE 1’ 56’, Nicholas HULME 29’, Tyler STROSS 58’, Chris LUCAS 63’)
Crowd: 250 approx.
ROCKHAMPTON | Palm Beach Sharks have continued their up and down season, surprising CQFC Energy with an emphatic 5-0 win at Rugby Park on Saturday night.
Former Sheffield Wednesday forward Jarrod Kyle set the tone in only the first minute for the visitors with the first of his two goals.
Attacking midfielder Chris Lucas sealed the result, while Nicholas Hulme and Tyler Stross also netted their first goals of the season in the five goal win.
Energy were unfortunate to concede the opener after a defender lost his footing, allowing Ethan Grimley to shape a cross to the imposing Kyle inside the six yard box for a strong headed finish.
Hulme doubled the advantage nearing the half hour when he headed in Lucas’ floated corner kick to ensure a two goal cushion at the break.
Kyle converted his second prior to the hour mark – the visitors pouncing on a loose pass in the Energy defence with Kyle benefitting as Energy keeper Tim English fumbled a through ball into the striker’s path for his sixth goal of the season.
Two minutes later, mid-season Redlands recruit Stross struck after Energy failed to clear a corner. The 21 year old stinging his shot in off the crossbar to seal the win for Palm Beach.
Lucas received just reward for another industrious performance in the heart of the formation by beating English on his near post from an acute angle for his 14th goal of the campaign.
The result ends a disappointing returns for both clubs this season. Energy finish in second-last position after recording only four wins and a draw and shipping over 100 goals for the year ; Palm Beach can finish as high as eighth if they defeat Western Pride in their final match of the season next weekend in Ipswich.
Moreton Bay Jets 3 (Matthew CAPELLO 68’, Scott MCNEIL 77’, Jonathan MARRAIYA 79’)
Queensland Academy of Sport 2 (Mathew SAUER (OG) 10’, Sam SIBATUARA 19’)
Crowd: 300 approx.
MORETON BAY | Queensland Academy of Sport let slip a two goal lead against Moreton Bay Jets on Saturday night at Wolter Park, eventually falling 3-2 in a disappointing end to their 2013 NPL Queensland season.
Hoping to end their season on a positive note, Academy started smartly and took the lead on ten minutes when Sam Cronin pressured Mathew Sauer into an error at the back, the defender miscuing his back pass into his own net.
Nine minutes later Sam Sibatuara doubled the advantage, beating Jet’s goalkeeper Marco Radanovic with a well struck shot from the edge of the box for his fourth goal of the season.
Academy were good value for their half time lead and maintained the advantage for nearly an hour before succumbing to the fast finishing Jets.
Matthew Capello halved the margin with 22 minutes remaining when he headed home from six yards out. The game was then turned on its head ten minutes later when the Jets scored twice in two minutes to steal the lead.
First, Scott McNeil turned in Moses Joseph’s shot across the face of goal at the back post before Jonathan Marraiya ran onto a well-weighted throughball to slot home a neat finish from 10 yards out. It was the first goal of the campaign for both players.
The win sees Moreton Bay Jets finish their debut season with a midweek catch-up fixture against Brisbane Strikers and are assured of a sixth place finish to the season. Meanwhile, Academy conclude their year in last place with two wins and a two draws from the campaign.
FNQ FC Heat 1 (Cameron MORRISON 12’)
Sunshine Coast Fire 5 (Michael SCARFF 25’42’ 43’, Nico BECHAR 27’, Alex BARLOW 30’p)
Crowd: 250 approx.
CAIRNS | Sunshine Coast Fire continued their impressive form heading into the NPL Queensland finals with a 5-1 win over FNQ FC Heat at Stratford on Saturday night.
Cameron Morrison gave the hosts an early lead, however a first half hat-trick from Michael Scarff and further goals to Nico Bechar and Alex Barlow saw the visitors record their fifth straight win.
Morrison opened accounts on 12 minutes with his fourth goal in as many weeks, the 20 year old fullback capitalising on indecision in the Fire backline to toe poke his side ahead.
Scarff replied with the first of his three goals on 25 minutes, working a neat one-two with Bechar before steering home the winger’s cut back pass.
Fire took the lead following another neat passing movement – Bechar combining with James Verdin before the ball found its way to Scarff, who repayed the earlier favour by teeing up Bechar for a smart finish.
Three minutes later Barlow scored for the third straight week when he converted from the penalty spot. Scarff then capped off an efficient Fire performance by pouncing on two defensive errors in two minutes to seal his hat-trick and take his tally to five goals for the year.
The win assures Fire of a third-placed finish to the regular season and sets up a semi-final showdown at Spencer Park against Brisbane City in a fortnight.
FNQ FC Heat finish their debut season in tenth position, above fellow regional outfit CQFC Energy and youngsters Queensland Academy of Sport.
Brisbane Strikers 0
Northern Fury 2 (Reyze KELLY 22’ Gareth EDDS 28’)
Crowd: 200 approx.
BRISBANE | Northern Fury finished off their impressie return season with a well-earned 2-0 win at Perry Park against finals contenders Brisbaen Strikers on Sunday afternoon.
Strikers needed a point to secure their place in the end of season finals, however the result, plus injuries to defenders Andy Callaghan and Alex Henderson, now leaves their finals hopes in the balance.
Midfielder Michael Eisenhut was the star for Fury, setting up the two goals with passes through the heart of the Strikers formation to cap off a typically industrious performance.
Reyze Kelly netted the opener for Fury on 22 minutes, latching on to Eisenhut’s pass before rounding Strikers’ custodian David Chambers and finishing into an empty net.
Six minutes later, Edds benefitted from Eisenhut’s vision to get in behind and similarly round Chambers to tuck away his ninth goal of the season in the dual player-coach role.
The win concludes an exemplary back half of the season for Fury, losing only twice in their final eleven games and knocking over league-leaders Olympic FC earlier this month.
Strikers still have two further games in hand against Moreton Bay Jets and Brisbane City. A point against either will secure the club a fourth place finish ahead of Redlands United and the last semi-final spot.
Olympic FC 4 (Jai INGHAM 1’ 38’ 57’, Tim SMITS 36’)
Western Pride 5 (Peter DRAGER 27’ 87’, Russell WOODRUFFE 33’ 70’ 78’)
Crowd: 900 approx.
BRISBANE | Western Pride continued their giant-slaying close to their debut NPL Queensland campaign on Sunday evening after coming from two goals down to defeat premiers Olympic FC at Goodwin Park.
Winger Jai Ingham netted a hat-trick for the hosts, but it wasn’t enough against a fast-finishing Pride outfit led by their own hat-trick hero Russell Woodruffe and strike partner Peter Drager, who scored a brace.
Jai Ingham netted a hat-trick for the hosts, opening his account in the first minute of the game when he used his trademark pace to get in behind the Pride line, his shot deflecting in off the far post for an early lead.
Pride responded through Drager, the lanky forward using his reach to poke a through pass beyond Olympic goalkeeper Mario Apparucio and finish into an empty net.
Five minutes later Pride went ahead, Woodruffe heading home at the far post from Drager’s cross for the first of his three goal haul.
Olympic stormed back into the lead with two quick fire goals of their own – Smits heading in his 26th goal of the campaign on 36 minutes before Ingham again used a sharp turn of pace to breeze past his marker and finish at the far post.
The result looked assured for Olympic when Ingham secured his third of the evening prior to the hour – the hat-trick the first for the 19 year old in his break out NPL Queensland season.
However, Pride wouldn’t be denied as Drager and Woodruffe combined for three goals in the final twenty minutes.
Two strong runs from Drager created the space for Wodoruffe to finish on 70 and 78 minutes to level terms. Woodruffe then repaid the favour by setting up Drager for his second, and the match winner, with three minutes remaining.
The win caps off an impressive run home from Pride after claiming the scalps of Brisbane City and Redlands United recently in addition to the league leaders. The Ipswich-based team concludes its NPL season next weekend against Palm Beach Sharks before a final hit-out against Brisbane Roar in September.
Olympic will take the next week off before returning with a home semi-final against either Brisbane Strikers or Redlands United depending on upcoming results.
Words: Michael Flynn (Football Queensland)