Luka Zoric stood tall between the sticks for United (Kleur Photography)
A gusty effort from the United Men last night going down 3-0 to a very polished Western Pride.
A frenetic first seven minutes saw an early red card to Lochie Reus for a handball in the box. A fine save from Luka Zoric from the ensuing penalty lifted spirits but when the ever dangerous Wenzel-Halls scored shortly after and Dean Wernerson succumbed to a leg injury, a tough night for the visitors was on the cards.
To their credit the 10 Man United held the defending champions to a solitary goal at the turn through some stoic defending. But sheer weight of possession from the 2017 Champions saw Wenzel-Halls double the lead mid-way through the second half. Fraser Hills put the icing on the cake for the hosts with his 81st minute strike.
While disappointed with the result, coach Sean Lane took plenty of positives from the game.
“After going down to 10 men early it was always going to make it a long night for the players… having said that they were all magnificent in their work rate and endeavour.”
Of his side Lane singled out young goal-keeper, Luka Zoric, for special mention.
“I thought Luka was excellent all night and is performing better and better each week… the penalty save was superb but he makes those types of saves for fun in training!”
For Zoric, mixed feelings after the match, pleased with his penalty save but a little down caste from the result.
“As soon as I saw the referee point towards the penalty spot I knew that already hard game became even harder.
“The boy’s didn’t give up fighting even though this happened, which is one positive we should keep doing in games ahead.”
Things get no easier for United with an away visit next Saturday to face the Lions who easily accounted for SWQ Thunder last night and sit third on the ladder – in the shadows of their Western neighbours, the Pride, who jump to the top of the competition table after last night’s victory.
Lane knows full well how to re-focus sides and will have his charges ready to face the Lion’s challenge.
“We go again next week in preparation for the Lions game.
“The players know that we are a good side and we fear no one…. we need to keep 11 players on the park to be competitive.”
National Premier Leagues Queensland – Round Nine
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Briggs Road Sporting Complex, Redbank Plains
Western Pride 3 (Wenzel-Halls 6’ 65’, Hills 81′)
Gold Coast United 0