Gold Coast United (5) v Sunshine Coast FC (0)
Sunshine Coast Fire travelled down to the Gold Coast to face a challenging first fixture of the new 2018 campaign.
Gold Coast got the game underway in initially wet and breezy conditions. Early possession belonged to United but Fire, were trying to use the pace of Mark Shaw running the forward channels to put pressure on the United defence. In the opening periods neither side were able to create any clear openings but in the 7th minute Fire keeper Bradford Green was smartly out to the edge of his area to clear a dangerous through ball as the home side pressed. The Fire back-four of Ngaha, Vancam, Mathers and Renzulli were showing determination and good organisation in containing the United forward line but Fire, as a team, were struggling to string passes together and to match the intensity of their opponents.
Fire forced a corner on 12 minutes which came to nothing, and a second on 18 minutes after a drive from Herbie Allsopp was pushed round the post by the United keeper. Fire continued to battle and show good endeavour, and chances were few for both teams. Centre back Tanner Mathers showed his defensive qualities on 24 minutes, the hosts also fired wide on 26 minutes and immediately forced a subsequent corner.
Under some sustained pressure Fire were guilty of standing off and allowing United to dictate play too easily in dangerous situations, Green saving once more from a free kick given away on the edge of the Fire penalty area. United came closer still to the opening goal; striking the bar after 28 minutes.
The opening goal eventually came shortly after a through ball allowed United to cross and the unmarked striker neatly turned the ball home from six yards. Fire had Ngaha to thank from the restart as United again pressed, Green also forced into making another save on the half hour. As the half drew to a close Fire had a final push forward but Allsopp’s through ball this time found Shaw in an off-side position when though on goal.
Half Time: Gold Coast United (1) – Sunshine Coast FC (0)
From the restart United almost made it two within the first minute but shot wide however from the resulting goal kick, United reacted quickest and were able to score a simple second. After three minutes the hosts fired over but added a third after 36 minutes, poking the ball home after Fire failed to clear a corner. The 40th minute saw Ngaha, who was playing a more advanced role in the second half drive the ball down the Fire left flank, his cross fell to Tappouras in the United box, but his effort was saved. Deepal Maharaj showed good character to defend well in the 47th minute, with Gold Coast controlling the game they almost made it four when a speculative effort cannoned of the Fire crossbar, and again, in the 48th minute Fire were thankful to Green for more fine goalkeeping.
Fire continued to look laboured around the pitch allowing United too much time on the ball and giving the ball away cheaply, they did however have a terrific opportunity to reduce the lead in the 52nd minute when United got into a defensive tangle but Beppe Rocco crashed his shot against the bar with the goal at his mercy. That seemed to further galvanise the home side and after evading challenges down the Fire right a United cross was met with a free header to add an easy fourth after 58 minutes.
Fire again were guilty of standing off challenges and after being given time and space on the edge of the Fire penalty area a fifth United goal was crashed home in the 61st minute.
Green continued to give an excellent demonstration of shot stopping in the Fire goal including a wonderful diving save in the 65th minute and a fine double save a minute from time.
Fire were grateful to hear the full-time whistle and the 5 – 0 score line indicates there is work to be done in the weeks ahead.
Full Time: Gold Coast United (5) – Sunshine Coast FC (0)
Player of the Match: Bradford Green
Gold Coast United (3) v Sunshine Coast FC (2)
The first game of the 2018 season saw a changed Sunshine Coast FC Fire line up head to Station Reserve Robina to play a new Gold Coast United Football Club sporting half of the previous Gold Coast City FC team. With uncertainty whether the weather would hold out after a wet week, Sunshine Coast FC Fire were eager to begin the season on a high note.
Sunshine Coast FC started strong, reminiscent of the drive and push they had throughout the 2017 season. Fire moved the ball forward with numerous shots on goal by Jake Rocker, Dimitri Pritchard, Harry McMillan, Kyan Bryant and Matthew Becker resulting in multiple near misses and lost opportunities to gain a healthy lead early.
The 27th minute saw Becker place a successful free kick in the back of the net after a foul on Maxx Demerutis just outside of the 18 yard box.
The favour was returned quickly when Gold Coast United were awarded a penalty kick on the 33rd minute, successfully taken by Jack Pirone.
Half Time: Gold Coast United (1) – Sunshine Coast FC (1)
Both teams fought to gain the lead from the outset of the second half, physically pushing each other to work hard to get the goal they were looking for. Sunshine Coast FC Fire put together a nice piece of play when Pritchard delivered the ball from the midfield, to Riley Visona on the right wing who crossed it back to the middle for McMillan to score on the 44th minute.
As both teams continued to push Sunshine Coast FC saw two players leave the pitch injured. A counter attack by Gold Coast United FC and a defensive error by Sunshine Coast FC gifted Gold Coast the equaliser on the 56th minute.
The match looked to play out for a draw when two minutes before the final whistle Kody Wright of Gold Coast United FC scored off a corner on the 68th minute giving Gold Coast United the win.
Full Time: Gold Coast United (3) – Sunshine Coast FC (2)
Player of the Match: Maxx Demerutis
Gold Coast United (7) v Sunshine Coast FC (1)
Gold Coast ready and fresh scored in the second minute.
Fire looked to strike back and applied pressure well. In the sixth minute Evans found an opportunity to have a shot on goal.
A great pass from Skinner in the 10th minute gave Harvey a chance to land a powerful shot on goal that was pushed away by the keeper back to Skinner to have a shot only to be saved again.
Tempest took a free kick in the 20th minute which was saved again by the Gold Coast keeper.
Once again Fire were hungry for another goal as Emery put through a long ball which was received by Harvey who got another shot on goal away only to be denied once again.
Evans-Gilham showing some impressive corner kicks while Hyder and Boshoff worked tirelessly.
Gold Coast stepped up the pace scored in the 29th and 35th minute with goals.
Fire received a free kick from a Gold Coast player getting frustrated with Fire’s solid midfielder Emery who received a push to the back. Harvey took the free kick from outside the 18-yard box, slotting it beautifully over the keeper’s head in the 39th minute.
Half Time: Gold Coast United (3) – Sunshine Coast FC (1)
Gold Coast started the second half the same as the first half coming out and scoring in the 40th minute. They kept that momentum going scoring another three goals.
Unfortunately some simple errors and missed opportunities let Gold Coast run away with the win.
Full Time: Gold Coast United (7) – Sunshine Coast FC (1)
Player of the Match: Corne Boshoff – Boshoff has been playing some fantastic football pre-season. He is always looking to move the ball forward. His high work rate has earnt him a MVP performance this week.