Hyundai Queensland State Youth League – Round Three
Queensland Academy of Sport U19 v Sunshine Coast Fire U19
Kane Frampton – Staff Reporter
The Sunshine Coast Fire have had to come from behind twice to score a victory over the Queensland Academy of Sport, eventually prevailing 4-2 on Saturday evening.
Goals from Kaine Frew, Mitch Broom, Josh Atkinson and Josh Taylor helped the Fire secure their first win of the season, after a scoreless draw in Round One against the Brisbane Strikers.
It was a spirited opening to the contest at Meakin Park, with the Fire looking hungry in the opening exchanges. With possession evenly spread, QAS opened the scoring in their first genuine attack on goal, when Brendan Gonano connected sweetly with a half-volley that took a deflection and left Sam Nickolls helpless in goal.
Up against it early on, the Fire had to rally and created some chances of their own. James Verdin dribbled well down the right wing and along the byline, but his cross was intercepted before it could reach a target. Soon after, a strong solo effort from Josh Taylor almost yielded a goal as he bulldozed through the defence and shot on the outside of his boot, but QAS keeper Jakob Smith made a good save.
Midway through the first half it was a tight tussle at Meakin Park, as the Fire began to wrestle control of the midfield. On 26 minutes, the Fire combined smartly to level the scores. Luke Lewis controlled the ball well on the left wing, before timing a neat through-pass for Josh Taylor, who sped down the wing, spearing a left-foot cross to the far post where Kaine Frew knocked the ball home from six yards out.
With the game back on level terms, the Sunshine Coast would have been disappointed to be once again trailing minutes later, when a rare lapse from Sam Nickolls granted Josh Riis a scoring opportunity, which he converted with ease.
Despite being behind on the scoreboard, the Fire looked the more dangerous team going forward as the first half wore on. Joe McMahon forced a save with an accurate shot from distance, while Rhys Roberts flashed a shot across the face of goal on 41 minutes.
On the verge of half-time, Joe McMahon fought hard for a loose ball on the left wing, before curling an accurate cross into the crowded penalty area, where Mitch Broom balanced himself well and hit a piercing volley into the top corner, to level scores at 2-2 going into half-time.
The Fire started the second half the same way they finished the first, as they worked hard to force a corner. Verdin swung in a corner from the right, with Josh Atkinson connecting sweetly with a header that sailed into the top corner, to give the Fire a 3-2 lead after 48 minutes.
Spurred on by finally taking the lead, the Fire continued to cause problems as substitute Andy Harrison worked hard down the left wing, eventually forcing a strong save out of keeper Smith when he let loose from the edge of the area.
With the match getting closer to full-time, coach Paul Edwards rotated the squad heavily to try and prevent fatigue and hold out the attack of QAS. The home side was still holding out hope of getting something from the game, as Brendan Gonano lashed a shot from distance wide of goal following a corner.
After 81 minutes, Josh Taylor got his reward for a robust performance when he collected a pass inside the penalty area and slotted a goal from six yards, making the score 4-2. With the match over as a contest, Harrison had a chance to add a fifth goal for the Fire, but put his effort just wide from close range as full-time beckoned.
The whistle sounded for a 4-2 victory for the Fire, who had to dig deep after twice falling behind in the first half, and showed plenty of character to get over the line.
Round 4 of the HQSYL will see the Fire doing battle at home for the first time this season, taking on Southern Cross United at Stockland Park’s Western Fields. Kickoff is set for 4pm on Sunday April 3.