Lions FC 3 (Alexander 16′; Maher 23′; Glockner 86′)
Cairns FC 0
A dominant performance saw Lions cruise to victory over Cairns FC on Saturday evening at Lions Stadium.
First half goals to Jacob Alexander and Chris Maher set the hosts on their way with a first half lead before Carter Glockner’s late strike made certain of the three points.
The opener came just after the quarter hour mark when Mitch Hore’s pin point through ball put Alexander in one goal with the Lions winger beating Cairns keeper Josh Wilson to the ball, touching it past the advancing custodian and into the back of the net.
Lions extended their lead midway though the half. Alexander winning the ball off the Cairns defence and laying it off for Chris Maher who smashed his effort past Wilson into the top right corner.
The visitors were struggling to deal with their opponents pace and swift passing but they should have pulled one back just after the half hour when Josh De Nittis fed the ball in for Chris O’Hare who shot directly at Luke Borean.
Maher had another chance in first half added time to put the game beyond the visitors, after a swift move that had Solorzano break and play in Hore who in turn teed up the Lions goal scorer. His shot though flying high over the bar.
The only downside to the half was the loss of Matija Simic who received a corked knee when getting in the way of a Cairns player’s attempted bicycle kick. Many feared the worst though with the Lions captain laid prone on the ground and needing treatment for some time. Nathan Reardon coming on to replace him.
The second term saw the hosts dominate the half and were it not for a number of good saves from Wilson in the Cairns goal, the scoreline could have blown out, with him denying Alexander and Maher along with substitutes Jheison Macauce and Glockner.
Shaun Carlos had a great opportunity to put the game to bed on the hour mark when Jean Carlos Solorzano broke down the left side and cut the ball across the box. But Carlos fluffed his lines when looking certain to score.
Macauce almost pulled off the spectacular after first forcing Wilson into a fine save with just over ten minutes remaining. The resulting corner saw Reardon head down and the substitute’s attempted bicycle kick went just over.
With just over five minutes remaining, Glockner put any doubts to rest when picking up Hore’s ball out on the left and driving in to the edge of the box before firing past Wilson into the far corner. Wilson will look back and feel he should have dealt with shot but the game was already lost for Cairns by then.
It was a comfortable win in the end with the visitors creating very little in Lions final third. Solorzano, who impressed throughout, was unlucky not to have netted early in the game following Lions first foray on goal whilst Danny Kim was also a stand out in the middle of the park.
Next week, Lions face Brisbane Roar Youth as they look to keep up with leaders Olympic and second placed Western Pride.
“It was a really pleasing performance. I thought we were dominant from start to finish in every facet of the game. Cairns are a good side but I felt we were very good tonight and very much in control from the first whistle. There was a great tempo and a great intensity about us and I’m really pleased with the win.”
Borean (gk), Thompson, Alexander, Jarrard, Reardon, Hore, Kim, Brindell-South, Maher, Glockner, Solorazno.
Subs: Cuminao (rgk), Simic, Glockner, Cosgrove, Macauce.
Wilson (gk), Owens, Slotemaker, Zupo, Koppen, Carroll, De Nittis, O’Hare, Taylor, Cavendish, Murphy.
Subs: Riley (rgk), Carr, Corica, Dempsey.