The local stage of the FFA Cup Preliminary Rounds is now complete! Gold Coast Knights FC have qualified for the second straight year after a near perfect qualifying round! Let’s take a look at how all the games went!
Palm Beach vs Surfers (0-3)
Palm Beach and Surfers were drawn in the first qualifying game due to the odd number of teams who entered the preliminary stages. With Palm Beach earning the right to host the fixture, it would prove to be a tough game for both sides after their 1-1 draw in the Pre-Season Cup weeks earlier.
Both sides came out firing but tentative to ensure that they didn’t make mistakes early in the game to give the other the opportunity to press on. A cagey first half ended goalless with both sides having brief opportunities in front of goal.
Surfers began to press on and push the Sharks deeper into their half, allowing them to play their attacking football in the oppositions defensive third. The door finally opened for Apollo just before the 70thminute mark, with Hayden Sumner getting free on the right hand side to net home the opening goal.
From then on the Sharks heads went down and Surfers continued to press on, resulting in two late goals courtesy of Yuji Hirayama and Hayden Sumner, leading Apollo to the semi-final stage against Gold Coast Knights.
Gold Coast Knights vs Surfers (1-0)
In this highly anticipating clash between two rivals, Gold Coast Knights managed to take a first half penalty and run with it all the way to victory.
It was the first time the two sides have met since the off-season departure of Alex Morrison to the cross town rivals, with both teams adding strength in many areas from the 2017 season.
The Knights started the better team, holding possession for majority of the first half and creating multiple half chances in front of goal but were unable to convert.
Surfers sat deep in the first half to weather the storm of the Knights, which an error from Jack Boxell gave Knights a penalty towards the end of the half. League runner up in MVP voting and third highest top scorer from 2017 Teddy Watson stepped up the plate and sent Tim Warren the wrong way to give the Knights the advantage heading into the break.
It was a different second half from both sides with Surfers coming out with much more intensity and fight, pushing and pressing the Knights in their defensive third. With multiple chances falling in the way of Apollo, they were unable to convert and Knights held on for a 1-0 victory to progress to the regional final.
Murwillumbah vs Broadbeach (1-3)
Broadbeach secured a 3-1 victory away from home against Murwillumbah to advance to the regional final of the FFA Cup.
After a slow start from the away team, the Murwillumbah side gained a 1-0 lead and pressured the Broadbeach team, with multiple chances falling their way but unable to convert.
Broadbeach got into their rhythm midway through the first half and began pressing the Murwillumbah team, with chances falling their way. It was Shaun Robinson who capitalised of a throw in from his side, slotting the ball past Andrew Purnell-Webb in goal and getting his side back into the contest. The sides were locked at 1-1 heading into the break.
Broadbeach looked the more dominant team in the second half, beginning to open up Murwillumbah through the midfield and creating chances. Murwillumbah continued to fight and press on, creating chances of their own and testing the Broadbeach keeper at all times.
After a defensive lapse in concentration, Charlie Frentz pounced on a save from Purnell-Webb and netted the advantage to Broadbeach midway through the first half.
Both sides continued to push in the contest but Broadbeach managed to get the job done with a third goal, with Harry McMaster jumping on the loose ball to give his side a strong position heading into the final stages of the game.
Broadbeach managed to hold on to their two goal lead and progress through to the final game against the Gold Coast Knights.
Gold Coast Knights vs Broadbeach (1-0)
Broadbeach had great memories returning back to the ground they scored two late goals in to win the Grand Final at the end of last year, but fell to the Gold Coast Knights in a 1-0 defeat.
With both teams eager to get some early bragging rights for the 2018 season and progress to the Gold Coast United game, the start was cautious and tentative from both sides.
Both keepers made some great saves to keep their sides in the clash, with a number of opportunities falling for both sides attacking strengths. The sides went into the half scoreless with neither being able to break the deadlock.
With a shuffle in the line up coming into the second half from the Knights, it allowed them to play more attacking and push the balls into wide spaces early in the half.
It was the Knights who broke the deadlock with a scramble in the box falling in the feet of Oskar Dillon, who lashed the ball home to give his side a 1-0 lead.
Broadbeach continued to press on and test the Knights back four and keeper, with a number of chances falling their way leading into the final 15 minutes of the game.
It was the Knights however who managed to hold on and progress to the Gold Coast United game, with two out of two clean sheets and 1-0 victories over two of the top teams on the Gold Coast putting them in great position for the season to come.
The Gold Coast United game will be played on the 24thof April. The venue will be confirmed.