Peninsula Power 0
HT 0-3A Shaun Carlos hat trick rounded off a stunning display from Lions as they reached the national Round of 32 of the FFA Cup for just the second time with an emphatic 6-0 victory over FQPL league leaders Peninsula Power in front of a bumper crowd at Lions Stadium on Saturday evening.Lions entered the game with a string of injuries which included the late withdrawal of key defender Tommy Jarrard who failed a fitness test prior to the game, whilst new recruit Marek Madle was cup-tied and unable to play.Despite that, the hosts took control midway through the half when defender Nathan Reardon ventured upfield and laid the ball back for Mitch Hore who, from 25 yards out, stunned the crowd with a spectacular curling strike that flew into the top right corner of Power keeper Jake Reesby’s goal.Moments later, hat trick hero Carlos doubled Lions lead when he was allowed room on the edge of the box following Jheison Macuace’s cross in to Carter Glockner who then teed the ball back to the Lions midfielder. His left foot strike equally as impressive as Hore’s opener as it sailed past Reesby into the back of the net.Macauce further extended the hosts lead when nipping in front of Reesby to get a touch on Glockner’s cross. The ball looping high off some part of the Colombian’s body and squeezing in just under the crossbar into an empty net.Power had their chances in the opening period. Ramone Close denied when his header was blocked by some resolute Lions defence and again when Luke Borean did well with Close through on goal, diving at his feet before the Power frontman could get a final touch.
The visitors best chance though came in first half added time when Thomas Strickland’s fierce shot from just inside the box struck the underside of the bar, bouncing down on the wrong side of the line as Lions escaped.
With the half drawing to a close, Glockner and Power left back Richie Hurlin got into a tangle that threatened to boil over but both players escaped sanction from referee Casey Reibelt.
The feeling of a Power comeback was in the back of many people’s minds but with less than ten minutes of the second half played, Lions all but put the tie to bed when Hore made a surging run forward and managing to keep the ball from a couple of Power challenges before sliding the ball off to Carlos who, from the edge of the box, drilled his shot into the top right corner leaving Reesby stranded.
Lions made it 5-0 on the hour mark. Hore again instrumental in the build up with a dangerous cross to just outside the six yard box that Carlos couldn’t quite reach before Reesby cleared under pressure, but the ball went straight to Macauce who swiftly drilled the ball low past Reesby who was out of position and unable to scramble back.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Lions welcomed the return from injury of Nathan Shepherd who came off the bench to replace Chris Maher and the Scot almost made it six just minutes later with a shot across the face of goal that flashed narrowly wide of the upright.
Power were once again denied by Borean who did superbly to block Oliver Smith’s effort after the lanky striker had been put through on goal for a rare second half opportunity for the visitors.
The icing on the cake came late on with Hore involved once more, playing the ball through to Shepherd who’d made a good penetrating run before he cut the ball back to Carlos who’s first time effort was parried away by Reesby but only back to the feet of the Lions number 13 who didn’t need a second invitation, smashing the ball high into the back of the net to secure his hat trick and Lions’ sixth.
From all the expectations of a tight contest between these two strong rivals of recent years and given Power’s undefeated season thus far, no one expected such a scoreline as the visitors crashed down to earth to see their 2018 cup aspirations falter at the final hurdle and Lions go into the Round of 32 draw on Tuesday 26 June.
“I think we showed our quality tonight. We’re a team that’s built on a strong work ethic, good culture, team togetherness and that can get you a long way in football whether you have players out or not. We have a great team spirit, team structure and we’re disciplined with our play and that takes you a long way. We were excellent tonight.”
On Mitch Hore’s performance…
“Mitch was superb tonight. We started him out on the right wing but moved him back into midfield as we felt we needed to in the first 15 minutes. The moment we did that the game swung in our favour, he was phenomenal and he ran the show and deserved his goal tonight.”
Lions FC: Borean (gk), Thompson, Simic, Reardon, Hore, Carlos, Kim, Brindell-South, Maher, Glockner.
Subs: Cuminao (rgk), Shepherd, Debele, Walpole, Moon.
Peninsula Power: Reesby (gk), Boyd, Close, Briggs, Smith, Strickland, Roper, Plummer, Fairgrieve, McEvoy.
Subs: Cunha, Cook, Basson, Feuerriegel, Pollock (rgk).
Referee: Casey Reibelt.