Lions FC 5 (H. Hore 3′; M. Hore 18′; Duckworth 28′, 64′, 81′)
SWQ Thunder 1 (K. Kibombo 90+1′)
Lions opened up a five point gap at the top of the NPL Queensland ladder on Saturday evening courtesy of a 5-1 victory over SWQ Thunder with Joe Duckworth starring with a hat trick.
Henry Hore got the hosts off to a flying start, celebrating his birthday on the day, heading home from close range on 2 minutes.
The lead was doubled shortly after the quarter hour mark when Henry Hore turned provider for his sibling Mitch with a cross in from the right that Thunder veteran Paul Mikula failed to intercept, leaving Mitch Hore with just the keeper to beat which he did with composed ease.
Another Mikula error at the back led to a gift of a goal for Lions when his attempt to play the ball back to his keeper Jade Hudson resulted in Duckworth racing in and intercepting the the errant pass before slipping the ball between the Thunder keeper’s legs to make it 3-0 just before the half hour.
Lions nearly went it to the break four up when Henry Hore picked out Jheison Macauce at the far post with a deep cross but the Lions striker’s header went over from close range with the goal gaping.
Macuace was guilty of another glaring miss early in the second half when Josh Brindell-South was superbly played in down the right wing. His cross across the edge of the six yard box picked out Macauce who somehow directed his shot wide of the mark when he looked certain to score.
It mattered little however as a minute later the hosts finally got their fourth of the night. Duckworth was found in the box before turning and slipping the ball past Hudson into the far left corner with a little over 20 minutes left on the clock.
Mitch Hore forced a superb save from Hudson a few minutes later when he found room in the box to fire a powerful shot on goal. Hudson doing well to tip the ball round his post and deny the midfielder his second on the night.
Duckworth then secured the match ball when he was superbly played in with a neat ball through the middle from Nathan Shepherd. Shrugging off his opponent he managed to evade Hudson rushing off his line, rounding the Thunder keeper and walking the ball into the goal for his side’s fifth.
The visitors did manage to find a goal in added time when Kimba Kibombo’s deep cross caught Lions stopper Luke Borean off his line. The ball finding the back of the net off the post and bar combined to see Thunder head back up the range with some consolation.
It was another polished performance from the hosts on the night who lost Chris Hatfield before kick off, picking up an injury during the warm up, whilst striker Marek Madle was suspended and Andy Thompson and Matija Simic were both out through injury. A senior debut was handed to Nodan Thapa with five minutes remaining and the youngster impressed for the short period of time he had, almost scoring late on.
With just two games remaining, Lions are in the box seat for claiming back to back premierships and a win away to Redlands United next weekend will seal the title.
Asked about the title being close, “Until it’s mathematical we’ll keep doing what we do. We won’t get complacent in any way shape or form. We’re in a great position and any other teams would love to be in the position we’re in but we have a job to do and we have two games left to get the two points required to win the league. We’ll be looking to wrap it up next weekend at Redlands and we’ll be working to get the bodies back on the park and have a really good go at them.”
On the injury situation at present, “It’s why we have a big squad and good players and we have players out such as Andy and Matija. Chris Hatfield got injured in the warm up before the game and we had to shuffle things around at the last minute but that’s football.”
“The players we have that came in to do a job did well. Nathan Shepherd got player of the match. Leum Walpole came on and did well and young Nodan Thapa came in on debut, a young 17 year old and also impressed.”
Team Line ups:
Borean (gk), Jarrard, M. Hore, H. Hore, Duckworth, Macuace, Reardon, Brindell-South, Shepherd, Kim, Carlos.
Subs: Riley (rgk), Thapa, Sawyer, Walpole.
Hudson (gk), Mikula, Hall, Howard, Franke, Adams, Pedlow, McDonald, Hayden, Weber, Walz.
Subs: Crowe (rgk), Breen, K. Kibombo, O. Kibombo, McLeod.