Lions FC 1 (Madle 43′)
Moreton Bay United 0
Marek Madle’s first half strike proved the difference as Lions edged closer towards the NPL QLD title with victory over second placed Moreton Bay United on Saturday night at Lions Stadium.
Despite the narrow scoreline, the hosts dominated the majority of the game and could have taken the lead midway through the half when a defensive error allowed Mitch Hore to see sight of goal from the edge of the box, but his effort was blocked by Jets’ keeper Behzad Ariayee Ravesh whilst Jheison Macauce failed to connect with the ball in following up the rebound, when well placed.
In a half with few chances for either side, the breakthrough came just before the break. Nathan Shepherd was set free down the right side before squaring a teasing ball across goal where Madle pounced, flicking the ball over Ariayee Ravesh into the back of the net from 5 yards out.
The hosts went close moments later when a free kick just outside the box near the goal line flashed across the face of goal but no one was able to get a toe to the ball to guide it in.
Early in the second term, Lions keeper Luke Borean was forced into a good block when Chom Arop found room to make his way into the box, but the Jets’ striker was unable to slip the ball past the Lions custodian in a rare opportunity for United.
Another defensive error from the visitors on the hour mark saw Madle steal the ball on the edge of the box, taking a couple of steps into the penalty area before firing goalward. However his effort was off target, smashing into the side netting.
A quarter of an hour later Madle was again able to work his way into the box, cutting inside on to his right foot and firing another effort into the side netting as the hosts looked to seal things with a second goal.
The visitors were well marshalled throughout and struggled to create any chances whilst becoming vulnerable at the back as time started to run out for them and it proved costly with just over a minute left on the clock.
A ball played in behind the Jets defence set Shaun Carlos through on goal until he was hauled down by Rhys Gwynn-Jones some 20 yards out from goal. Referee Kate Jacewicz straight away brandishing a red ticket as the visitors were reduced to 10 men for the last few minutes.
With the game entering added time, Lions almost finished things off when another Carlos run to the edge of the box saw him slip the ball inside to Madle who’s first time shot was blocked by Ariayee Ravesh. He picked up the rebound but saw his second effort cleared off the line.
In the end, the hosts didn’t need the second goal as the final whistle signalled another three points for Lions as they open up a gap at the top of the table with a couple of games in hand.
One of those games will come next weekend when they enjoy another home fixture with North QLD Utd the visitors to Lions Stadium and an opportunity to extend their lead further at the top of the table.
“I thought we were good for 5 minutes before the goal and 15 minutes after, before Moreton Bay had a 15 minute spell but without creating any real chances. They had us pinned in a little bit and we lost a little bit of composure, but I think we found it again.”
“We were probably the stronger side for the last 25 minutes despite them chasing the game. In the end we probably could have won it more comfortably but they are a good side and they gave us a good test tonight, but we found a way to win and that was pleasing.”
Borean (gk), Thompson, Jarrard, Simic, Hore, Shepherd, Brindell-South, Macuace, Madle, Carlos, Kim.
Subs: Cuminao (rgk), Reardon, Maher, Glockner, Solorzano.
Moreton Bay Utd:
Ravesh (gk), Bernardi, Byrne, Gwynn-Jones, Capelo, Campbell, Arop, Thompson, Harris, Strogusz, Smith.
Subs: Stent (rgk), Mitchell, Dickinson Jomanday, Fox.