Lions FC 3 (Madle 45′; Carlos 68′; Macuace 74′)
Gold Coast United 1 (Yabe 31′)
Second half goals from Shaun Carlos and Jheison Macuace earned Lions FC a 3-1 come from behind win at home to Gold Coast United on Wednesday night as they made it 8 games unbeaten in the NPL, backing up their 2-1 success over league leaders Peninsula Power last weekend.
The home side had the better of the chances in the opening period. Carlos with a drive from the edge of the box that was deflected over and Mitch Hore with an audacious lob from 20 yards out that nearly caught out Gold Coast keeper Duro Dragicevic, the ball landing on the roof of the net.
The visitors thought they’d taken the lead midway through the half with a cross that was headed back across Lions custodian Luke Borean, seemingly catching him off guard. The ball bouncing back off the post with the Lions keeper looking a little sheepish as he gathered it in, but the assistant’s flag stayed down and the hosts heaved a sigh of relief.
Lions themselves should have then opened the scoring on 26 minutes when Carlos slipped the ball through to Macuace who beat the offside trap but not Dragicevic when one on one with the United keeper.
Inexcusably, Lions handed over possession from a corner allowing United to break down the other end and win their first corner of the game. The ball was swung in to the far post where Lions failed to clear before Junya Yabe prodded home from close range to put the visitors ahead.
With the half drawing to a close, Lions found the leveller from a corner. Andy Thompson finding the head of Marek Madle who rose highest to head the ball in. Despite Gold Coast clearing the ball away, it had crossed the line by some couple of metres and their protests were rightfully waved away.
Lions came out firing early in the second term. Thompson making a surging run and from the edge of the box, drilling the ball goalward but straight at Dragicevic.
Shortly after the hour mark, Gold Coast had two chances to retake the lead. Brandon Lemay first making headway to the edge of the box before firing his effort straight at Borean before Braedon Steel had his sides best chance of the half, forcing Borean into a full stretch save.
Those misses would prove costly as Lions took the lead soon after midway through the half.
Mitch Hore was found unmarked in the box from a cut back but Dragicevic did superbly well to repel his shot. A minute later though and the Gold Coast stopper could do nothing when Carlos met Josh Brindell-South’s deep cross from the goal line, volleying back across Dragicevic and into the far bottom corner to put Lions ahead for the first time.
Just under ten minutes later the hosts extended their lead. Carlos again involved but this time turning provider, winning the ball deep in midfield and sliding the ball through for Macuace who jinked his way past a defender and slotting the ball beyond the reach of Dragicevic to all but seal the result.
Despite their efforts, Gold Coast offered little in reply and a couple of late chances for the hosts could have added to the goal difference.
Subs Nathan Shepherd and Chris Hatfield linking up to feed in Carlos, but his shot was straight at Dragicevic.
Hore almost fired home the goal of the game following a slick move that saw Hatfield’s cross met on the volley, but the ball flew narrowly over.
In the end it mattered little with Lions sealing the three points to keep up the pressure on Power at the top of the table.
“I’m happy we won. We were disappointed with our first half. Despite the fact we went into the break level which changed the team talk, we weren’t good enough. We’re not going to make any excuses anymore, we’ve got a good squad – players are playing, players aren’t playing and everyone is fighting for their spot.”
“The performances have to be good in terms of effort and work rate and that was below par first half. Second half was a different story, we came out a much different team and in the end it was a good win, a well deserved win and there’s lots of positives to take from that.”
Team Line ups:
Borean (gk), Jarrard, Reardon, Simic, Hore, Duckworth, Macuace, Brindell-South, Thompson, Kim, Madle.
Subs: Riley (rgk), Reardon, Sawyer, Hatfield, Shepherd.
Gold Coast Utd
Dragicevic (gk), Wagstaffe, Thwaite, Yabe, Campbell, Cuba, McKay, Reeves, Smith, Steel, Lemay.
Subs: Lahiff (rgk), Saunders, Pfefferkorn, Miller, Cavanah.
Referee: Rebecca Durcau