Lions FC 4 (Kim 60′; Carlos 67′; Hore 69′; Madle 74′)
North QLD United 0
A 15 minute four goal second half blitz eventually saw off visitors North QLD Utd at Lions Stadium on Saturday night following a lacklustre first half from the hosts.
Danny Kim’s superb strike on the hour, curling the ball into the top right corner from the edge of the box, finally broke a resolute North QLD defence who for large portions of the game had frustrated Warren Moon’s side up until that point.
Lions, with captain Matija Simic absent for a friend’s wedding and coach Warren Moon opting to start Mitch Hore and Nathan Shepherd on the bench, saw his side fail to make much of an impact against the visitors who’s tactic was to defend in numbers and look to hit on the counter.
Marek Madle wasted the best opportunity of the opening period when Josh Brindell-South’s ball across the six yard box saw the Lions striker well placed to fire in from close range, but he skewed his first time effort wide of the mark.
That came shortly after Jheison Macuace had also wasted a good opportunity when well placed in the box, but he could only guide his header into the ground and into the grateful hands of North QLD keeper Ryan Murphy.
The second half was met with immediate changes from the home side with Shepherd and Hore coming on. It proved significant with both players immediately causing problems for the visitors with their pace and trickery.
With the breakthrough made, the hosts quickly imposed their authority and on 67 minutes doubled their lead.
Shepherd cutting a ball to the edge of the box for stand-in captain Shaun Carlos who teed himself up before drilling the ball low past Murphy into the bottom right corner of the net.
A couple of minutes later two became three when Lions broke upfield following a North QLD corner. Macuace finding Madle in the box who’s shot could only be parried by Murphy with Hore following up to guide the ball home from ten yards out.
Five minutes later, a now shell shocked North QLD were picking the ball out of the back of the net for a fourth time. Hore beating the offside trap to be one on one with the advancing Murphy before unselfishly slipping the ball across the box for Madle to tap home into an empty net.
By now the hosts were running rampant and Madle’s audacious bicycle kick from 6 yards out flashed over the bar following Shepherd’s shot from a narrow angle that had been palmed out by Murphy.
A rare lapse of concentration almost let in the visitors when substitute Masimango Benjamin latched onto a loose back pass, but with only Luke Borean to beat, he fired wildly over.
Lions continued to press with just over ten minutes remaining as more chances came and went.
Madle with a curling shot from the edge of the box that drifted just wide of the post and moments later, Shepherd’s ball across the six yard box almost saw sub Carter Glcokner get on the end of it but he wasn’t quite able to get a toe on the ball as he slid in.
Mitch Hore should have put the icing on the cake at the death when Carlos again got in behind the North QLD defence, slid the ball into the box for Madle who’s neat layoff set up Hore from 10 out but he skied his effort when a goal looked certain.
In the end, it was a deserved win for the hosts who jump back above Olympic FC on the NPL ladder with games in hand over their rivals.
Next up comes the FFA Cup Round of 32 all Queensland clash at home to NPL rivals Olympic. It’s set to be an epic encounter Wednesday evening.
“There’s no getting around it, we were poor first half and it wasn’t good enough. That’s not to say North QLD weren’t well set up and did a good job but I was genuinely displeased with out overall performance in the first half. I let the boys know that at half time and to their credit, we made a couple of changes and changed things up a bit and the intensity and the second half was a lot better.”
“We got the four and it could have been more in the end.”
Borean (gk), Thompson, Jarrard, Solorzano, Brindell-South, Macuace, Madle, Carlos, Kim, Cosgrove, Maher.
Subs: Cuminao (rgk), Reardon, Hore, Shepherd, Glockner.
North QLD Utd:
Murphy (gk), Richards, Maher, Nicopoulos, Waples, Green, Cassidy, Figg, Eisenhut, Walters.
Subs: Miller, Eurell, Benjamin, Colquhoun.