Lions FC 3 (Hore 2′; Shepherd 75′; Macuace 83′)
Second half goals from Nathan Shepherd and Jheison Macuace helped seal passage through to RD5 of the SEQ Qualification Zone of the FFA Cup on Tuesday night at Lions Stadium.
The hosts, enjoying what was technically their 9th successive home FFA Cup tie, got off to the best possible start against FQPL side Capalaba when Mitch Hore struck inside 2 minutes following a Nathan Reardon long throw that the visitors failed to clear. The ball falling for Hore who evaded a couple of tackles before firing low into the bottom corner of Kurtis Goodwin’s goal.
Despite the early lead though, the hosts looked to be feeling the effects of Saturday’s epic encounter against Olympic FC in the league, with stray passing and loose first touches allowing Capalaba to get themselves into the game and they almost levelled on 12 minutes when Nathan Yoon was played into space, skipped past his opponent before firing low, only for Lions custodian Luke Borean to react well, diving low to his right and holding onto the ball.
Lions were struck a blow on the half hour when Chris Hatfield was forced off with an injury following a challenge from Jake Sherwood. Jheison Macuace replacing the lively midfielder.
The second half saw the game open up more with Lions looking to assert themselves, however it was the visitors who took control of the game and almost replied. Stuart Edgar going close on 52 minutes to force another good save from Borean and a minute later, the Lions keeper doing well to repel Liam Fisher’s header from the resulting corner.
Lions then had a golden opportunity to extend their lead just before the hour mark. Nathan Shepherd working himself into a good position before deliver a cross in for Marek Madle but Goodwin did well to get to ground and save at Madle’s feet. But the loose ball found it’s way to Adam Sawyer who cannoned in a return shot only for Jake Sherwood to block as it looked to be heading into the back of the net.
With the game ebbing to and fro it was then Capalaba’s turn to have a chance to reply. Yoon again in on goal following a neat build up and from 8 yards out, bringing out the best of Borean who did well to deny the Bulldog’s striker.
With quarter of an hour remaining it was clear the next goal would prove pivotal depending upon who would find it and for the relief of the home fans it would be Lions. Substitute Josh Brindell-South firing in a powerful ball across the box where Shepherd was on hand to expertly fire low past Goodwin with a fine first time strike.
Minutes later and Shepherd almost got his second for the night. Hore putting Macuace in on goal. His effort parried away by Goodwin only as far as Madle who lofted the ball across goal to where Shepherd was lurking. His downward header leaving Goodwin stranded but not Jake Sherwood who’d scrambled back to the goal line to throw a foot at the ball and clear it away.
The game was however sealed with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. Hore putting a superb ball through for Macuace who composed himself well to cut back in from his opponent and slide the ball under Goodwin.
The visitors went agonisingly close to a consolation goal a few moments later. Sub Josh Sherwood capitalising on a defensive slip from a Lions defender with just Borean to face. His shot though from the right of the box had the Lions keeper beaten but not the post as the ball cannoned off the woodwork.
There would be no further opportunity for the Bulldogs as Lions, despite not being at their fluent best and missing captain Matija Simic as well as Shaun Carlos forced to the bench when he picked up an injury during the warm-up, managed to eek out a result to progress to the next round of the FFA Cup.
Perhaps most impressively is the resolute defence who again marinated a clean sheet.
“It was one of those games where we’ve been able to progress to the next round. Capalaba are a very handy side, well organised, but the truth is we were flat, most probably from the big game at the weekend. The side picked itself on who was available. They did the job but weren’t outstanding, finding a way to win 3-0. It looked comfortable in the end but it probably wasn’t.”
“We find quality to progress and keep another clean sheet. I can’t say much more than that and am just happy to go into the next round of the FFA Cup’.
Team Line ups:
Borean (gk), Jarrard, Reardon, Hore, Sawyer, Hatfield, Jelacic, Shepherd, Thompson, Kim, Madle.
Subs: Riley (rgk), Carlos, Macuace, Brindell-South.
Goodwin (gk), Bryan, Lambert, Booth, Ono, Yoon, S. Edgar, Fisher, Cokell, Carbone, Jake Sherwood.
Subs: J. Edgar (rgk), Bearman, McMullen, Josh Sherwood, Robinson.
Referee: Michael Bozhoff