Eligh Williams saving a crucial penalty against Cairns (Craig Clifford @sportspicsphotography)
A dogged 10 men United produced a come from behind 3-1 win over Cairns last night at Robina.
The home side went behind just after the quarter hour when Joshua Taylor found himself in space at the back post, finishing calmly passed Luka Zoric in goal.
And when Zoric was adjudged to have deliberately brought down Taylor in the box soon after, it looked like a long night ahead for the hosts.
Men’s Coach Sean Lane was forced to bring teenage Goalkeeper Eligh Williams into the action, with Rees Duncan making way joining Zoric in the sheds for an early shower.
Some first involvement with Williams denying Jamie Carroll from the spot to keep United in the match. That save proved the turning point.
Coach Sean Lane was absolutely delighted with the performance and had high praise for the teenage Williams post match, a year 12 student at The Southport School.
“That’s the measure of a proper team when you’re a goal behind, you lose a man and still have the internal fortitude to turn around, continue playing and come away with the three points.”
“And that save from Eligh, top drawer.”
United remained in the game after the early set-backs going in one down at half time with Lane remaining super positive in the sheds.
“I told the lads that it was there for the taking.
“We went for it. I knew that if we got one we’d get a few.
“And to be fair they’d had a big week. They’d been to South West Queensland, they’d been to Townsville mid-week for the FFA Cup so I knew they were going to tire
“But take nothing away from our lads. Every single one of them was absolutely superb today. I couldn’t be more proud of them to be honest.”
High on the superb list was Nick Panetta. The Mareeba born attacker produced a quick-fire brace early in the second half to give United an unlikely lead. His second effort was nothing short of sublime, dribbling past several mesmerised defenders and slotting coolly past Jacson Riley in the Cairns goal to see the Surfsiders in front with a half hour left.
After his early heroics in United’s goal, Williams was barely tested by Cairns second half and it was United who looked to have the numerical advantage, making plenty of inroads into the Cairns half and defending stoutly, shutting down any chances the visitors looked like producing.
A typically strong burst and powerful strike late from Brandon Reeves sealed the victory, the third in succession for Lane’s side who head to Logan next up to face Brisbane Roar Youth.
Quizzed about his approach for that match Lane was typically effusive with his thoughts.
“We will have eleven men to start off with at least!
“Look we’ve got some momentum going, that’s out third win on the bounce.
“The worst thing we could do would be to take the foot off the pedal, but we won’t allow that to happen.”
National Premier Leagues, Rd 14
Saturday, May 19, 2018
Robina Station Reserve
Gold Coast United 3 (Panetta 54’ 58’, Reeves 94’)
Sunshine Coast Fire 1 (Taylor 16’)