QCSA  SW1 – Rd.2 Wrap Up – rescheduled fixture - Sat. 4th July 2015

The rescheduled Rd.2 fixture was played last weekend and some of the games went on form. Having rested some of their squad members, Blackstone United travelled to Brisbane Valley and won 8-0 to dampen the home team’s success somewhat from last week. Maybe some of the lesser lights stepped up once given an opportunity to play more game time. Raceview also won comfortably against Salisbury Baptist 5-0, although both teams played good football and retained their shape well. The difference was Raceview’s ability to break through the defensive line-up and finish. Another heartening feature from this match was that both teams agreed that the referee was top notch! Westminster Warriors also got amongst the goals and won 7-0 against an undermanned Logan Metro team.

The final two games were rippers! Firstly, Logan Uniting continued their wonderful form, and to keep their coach from ripping his hair out, actually scored three goals to win 3-2 against a determined Rosewood United team. I wonder how many near misses though???

The match of the round certainly didn’t disappoint, with two quality teams in North Pine Baptist and West End coming head-to-head and the teams couldn’t be separated with a 2-2 final score in a pulsating encounter.

Back to Rd.10 action next week and Rosewood United look like getting back to winning ways against an out-of-from Logan Metro team. Logan Uniting host Salisbury Baptist and will just get home in a close contest. Westminster Warriors will be too strong against Brisbane Valley. There’s nothing between Raceview and West End, whereas Blackstone United travel up to North Pine Baptist and will need their top game to take all three points in a game where the spectators will be on the edge of their seats!

QCSA  SM1 – Rd.2 Wrap Up – rescheduled fixture - Sat. 4th July 2015

Logan Metro continued their climb up the ladder with a 4-1 away to Whitehill and continue their push for finals football as they did last year. Blackstone United put in a solid defensive performance and defeated North Pine Baptist 2-0. St Pauls also won at home in the same score-line, 2-0, against a prickly opponent in Sunnybank Saints.

Mansfield Eagles had a great win at the Latin Golden Boys field and dampened the home team’s prospects for 4th position whilst bolstering their own chances with a 3-2 win.

The final game between Westminster Warriors and Brisbane Athletic was tipped to be one of the best games of the season, and by all accounts, was just amazing! With so many talented players on the one park, there were going to plenty of goals. The score ended up 3-3 and the rematch in a couple of weeks, will be equally absorbing with the premiership on the line.

St Pauls are back at the summit once again, albeit on goal difference from Westminster. Brisbane Athletic are still lurking menacingly in 3rd place 3 points behind but with a better goal difference than the top two teams. The race for 4th place is equally absorbing, as Sunnybank Saints (17), Mansfield Eagles (16), Blackstone United (14) and Logan Metro (13) the most likely contenders.

So, what does Rd.10 hold for us next week? Having already beaten Brisbane Athletic earlier in the season, Logan Metro host them this weekend and the result could go either way! North Pine travel to Whitehill and this may be an opportunity for the home team to register their first points of the season. The LGB versus Sunnybank Saints and Blackstone United versus Mansfield Eagles will be tight as all these teams are quite evenly matched. The final match between St Pauls and Westminster Warriors will be a beauty and I’m sure there will be sizeable crowd at Yandina Park next week to see another epic encounter!

SM1 Match of the Day  – Sat. 4th July 2015

St Pauls 2 vs Sunnybank Saints 0 (H/T:0-0) @ Yandina Pk

Ref: Michael McMaster  +  Asst Refs: Max Murray & Daniel Lang

Coach: Dale O’Connell (St Pauls) & Keith Broome (Sunnybank Saints)

Sunnybank Saints came into this game looking to heap more misery on the leading team for most of the season, St Pauls, who had gathered 1 point from the past two games. The warm ups were far from being the same, with the Sunnybank approach of full intensity with their experienced coached, Keith Broome’s style of barking the orders for his troops to carry out their actions. In comparison, St Paul’s approach of limbering up as a unit without their coach, Dale O’Connell, and smiles and laughter emanating from the group as they worked themselves up as unit  to the moment when the ref’s whistle signalled the start of the game.

Just moments after the referee, Michael McMaster whistle shrieked, the experienced St Paul’s combination of Dave Ward and Wesley Hodson played a wonderful one-two before Ward’s low shot on target from 25 metres was well covered by the visitor’s gk, Amjad Alkharsan.

In the third minute, with bodies on the line, Claudio Rebocho (St Pauls) and Bikky Regmi (Saints) collided in a 50-50 challenge with both hobbling away, yet both refrained from leaving the field. Moments later the same two were involved in another tackle, which went Regmi’s way about 25 metres out to the right of the goals. Sunnybank Saints’ Michael Zagalak delivered a low bullet that eluded a swathe of legs and inched past the left goal post.

In the fifth minute, after St Paul’s offside trap was eluded by the smart and elusive striker, James Baker, after running at speed from the half way and with 20 metres to go and the chasing pack at least 15 metres behind, a sloppy touch went too far and into the oncoming Nick Chin’s hands. A huge sigh of relief for St Pauls, especially since they were a little edgy from the past two results.

Whilst the Saints felt that they were a chance against the St Pauls insistence on playing the offside trap, (yet they were caught at least 5 times in 15 minutes) They were vulnerable at the fast breaks that St Pauls kept applying with long balls out to the flanks where Dave Ward and Chris Gatto were receiving the ball and whipping across some wonderful crosses, time and time again. In the 18th minute, a cracking volley on the edge of the box by Wesley Hodson sailed over the bar after receiving a cross from Chris Gatto.

The momentum shifts to the Saints in the 25th minute as a delicate chip over the defensive line by Dan Discombe, finds Patrick Carroll 1v.1 with St Paul’s gk, Nick Chin, and from close range, the shot goes just wide of the near post and into the side netting. Moments later, the irrepressible Discombe whips a cross dangerously into the penalty box and a brave St Pauls gk, Chin comes out to punch the ball away to safety.

Then St Pauls take over again and control the next 10 or so minutes with quick ball movement and the rotation policy by their coach, Dale O’Connell, allows for the fresh legs to be used to advantage as they continue to counter attack at speed not allowing their opponents opportunities to flood behind the ball. In the 35th minute, the elusive Paul Eigl created havoc just outside the Saints’ penalty box with a mesmerising run, the ball wide to Dave Ward is crossed to the far post and within 10 metres of goal Phillip Coach smashes the ball goal-bound and in an extra-ordinary save, Amjad Alkharsan one hander somehow keeps it out – unbelievable!!!

Moments later, the attack continues with Daniel Gatto releasing the fresh legs of Ringo Chang and in a similar run and poor final touch (as per Sunnybank’s chance in the 5th minute) a potential 1 v. 1 with the gk, does not eventuate, as the ball trickles into the gk’s hands. With this the score remains 0-0 at half-time.

For the opening 27 minutes of the second half, the game becomes a battle with Sunnybank’s tighter defensive pattern and St Paul’s insistence in staying narrow, as opposed to being much wider and dangerous in the first half, saw clear cut opportunities diminish. There were a couple of instances where crosses were whipped into the box, and the resulting battles creating an opportunity, more from good luck than planning, and bodies were thrown at the ball to prevent numerous shots at crowded masses, but, the score remained deadlocked. St Pauls were solid at the back with Nick Chin in goals and the central defenders in front of him, Dave Pelllizzaro and Claudio Rebocho, clearing everything in their path and the enigmatic Daniel Wang, popping up on the flanks to play composed football from the back. Incidentally, since his switch from Mansfield a few years back, Daniel has possibly played in every position on the park - a testament to his selflessness and team ethic, as well as the influence of a number of his loyal teammates who have played at the club for many years.

All that changed in the 73rd minute when a brilliant piece of play opened the scoring for St Pauls. After a high clearance, Chris Gatto reacted first and took the ball on his chest and dropped the ball at his feet. He took on the full back and from the left flank delivered a threatening ball near the penalty spot where it was met by a sweet header by Paul Eigl, having ghosted in behind the defenders form the right flank. A classic move, yet required skill and composure from the two wily St Paul’s players to execute this move.

The game opened up again and St Paul’s coach, Dale O’Connell moved Wesley Hodson back into the middle of the park and the impact was almost instant as he began to receive balls from his defenders and spray them wide for his wingers to run onto and create havoc behind the opposing defence. The dominant play of the home team is rewarded with a second goal in the 78th minute as a thunderbolt from a free-kick by Tony Yeung swerves wickedly and eludes the grasp of the Saints gk.

The final 12 minutes of the game is played at a frantic pace as St Pauls continue towards their third goal, whereas the visiting Saints give everything they’ve got in a final surge.  In the 83rd minute Chin is up to the task and palms a corner to safety before being tested from long-range a minute later by Danijel Tosovic. Daiel Gatto releases Will Shen and his shot is well saved by Amjad Alkharsan.

Back to the other end and superb work on the left wing by Sunnybank’s Patrick Carroll finds Yonathan Quintero at the far post and his volley just misses the mark in the 88th minute. Another telling cross from Dan Discombe in the 89th minute is met by Surinder Mann’s header but Nick Chin is well behind it for the final play of the day.

The final whistle sounds and the referee Michael McMaster, and his assistants Max Murray and Daniel Lang, are congratulated by the players and coaches by shaking hands before leaving the field. A job well done with the game allowed to flow and action taken when there were moments that required a guiding hand by the ref.

St Pauls are back to their winning ways whilst the Saints remain in 4th place but are nearer to the chasing pack without taking points in this game. Credit must go to St Pauls coach in his preparation of his team this week and his general demeanour on the sideline. Whilst the players would have been nervous after the shaky form in the past two weeks, the calmness and relaxed attitude by their coach, worked wonders for them. Dale remained in charge of the team, but the subs on the bench had family and friends come up to them and greet them and there seemed a relaxed family attitude off the field. Yet, on the field, the motivation and team work came from the players themselves and they were allowed to express their creativity and support one another as a team unit. Dale is a young coach, possibly the youngest in SM1, yet he has been tutored by many at the club who have not gone too far from the values of the first St Paul’s team (one of the original clubs in the inaugural Church League comp).  The values of family, teamwork and mateship are still as strong at St Pauls and the legacy continues through the coaches who have gone through the same system themselves. Whilst Dale and the other coaches at the club have their own way of doing certain things, it’s the ‘core’ that matters.