Lions Settle After Shaky Start To Maintain Pressure On Top Two
Lions FC 5 (Carlos 21′; Maher 23′; Jarrard 56′; Macuace 65′; Madle 74′)
Magpies Crusaders 0
Lions survived a shaky start to overrun visitors Magpies Crusaders on Saturday evening courtesy of 5 goals from 5 different goal scorers.
The visitors seemed the quicker from the blocks with Kyle Markham twice going close. His first, a shot that went straight to Lions stopper Luke Borean before Lions almost paid the price on the quarter hour mark with a poor back pass that Markham pounced on but was unable to convert. His shot striking the underside of the bar and bouncing out to the relief of the Lions faithful watching on.
From then on, it was all Lions and midway through the half the deadlock was broken when Shaun Carlos drilled the ball in from the edge of the box.
Two minutes later the hosts doubled their lead when Chris Maher dispossessed Alan Jackson and raced goalward and slipping the ball past Crusader’s keeper Mitch Wright when one on one.
Tommy Jarrard headed just over ten minutes later from a corner and a short while after, Jheison Macuace forced a good save from Wright to deny the Colombian.
Lions emerged in determined fashion after the break and had Crusaders on the back foot early on, dominating the game until the end.
The hosts won a penalty on 53 minutes when Marek Madle got in front of Shintaro Imai who hesitated to clear before bringing the Lions front man down. Shaun Carlos stepped up only to have his spot kick saved by Wright.
Carlos should have scored a minute later but instead fired wide from six yards out when Mitch Hore crossed in from the right, with Macuace unable to get a foot to the ball before Carlos met the it with the goal at his mercy.
It didn’t prove costly though as the hosts did pull further ahead just two minutes later when Jarrard headed home from a corner.
Ten minutes later Lions made it 4-0 when Madle broke down the right and whipped the ball in which was met by Macuace who was completely unmarked and able to guide his header past Wright.
Another defensive blunder almost allowed Macuace to strike again when Bayley Sharp miscued his clearance on the edge of the six yard box but Macuace’s effort flew over the bar.
Madle finally got reward for his efforts when another set piece corner was met by a deft header from the Lions striker which drifted in at the far post with Wright stranded.
A late penalty shout from Madle went unheeded by referee Martin Krenes when he was sandwiched between Imai and Sharp. Unfortunately for Sharp, that was his evening completed as he needed to be helped off the field with an injury and straight up the tunnel.
It was a win that was needed following the to two of Western Pride and Olympic FC both gaining maximum points on the road.
Next weekend sees Lions head to Briggs Road for what could be a season defining moment when they take on league leaders Pride.
“We were good once we settled into it and had scored the second goal. We weren’t happy with the performance in the opening forty-five minutes but after the break we completely dominated them, and to be fair, we could have have had a few more.”
On the FFA Cup draw coming up on Tuesday.
“We don’t mind who we get, we’ll just take it as it comes. We are excited. It’s a massive bonus for the club and it’s great for the players. We just treat it as a bonus and will enjoy the ride.”
Borean (gk), Thompson, Jarrard, Simic, Hore, Kim, Brindell-South, Macauce, Madle, Carlos, Maher.
Subs: Cuminao (rgk), Reardon, Cosgrove, Glockner, Shepherd.Mackay Magpies Crusaders:
Wright (gk), Jansen, Sharp, Imai, Jackson, Green, Lyall, Farquhar, Perez, Kennell, Markham.
Subs: Callaghan, Salam, Connor, Ramadan (rgk).