FFA Cup preview – week of 27 April

Another series of matches in the FFA Cup across Queensland this week. NPL Queensland sides will be playing their first matches in the competition in the Brisbane zone with two all-NPL match-ups.

While the Gold Coast and South-West Queensland zones will determine the Premier League side that will move through to the next round to play their locally based NPL side.

Here’s our look at this week’s matches.

 

BRISBANE

Brisbane Strikers v Brisbane City – Perry Park, Tuesday 28 April, 7:00pm

A match featuring two former National Soccer League clubs, the Strikers will once again be looking to make an appearance on the national stage after claiming one of the Brisbane qualification spots last year before bowing out at the round of sixteen stage of the main draw.

Strikers currently sit second on the NPL table, suffering their first loss of the campaign to Olympic last Friday night while City is without a win through their first seven matches. The last time these sides met was back in round two of the NPL where the Strikers scored a come from behind 2-1 win.

There are some interesting variables in this match. The home side will be without the services of Greig Henslee, suspended after being sent off against Olympic whilst first-choice ‘keeper Michael Turnbull is currently serving as injury back-up at Melbourne Victory.

City has found improved performances since appointing Darron Heselden as interim coach but have the disadvantage of one less day’s rest from league duties and backing up after a long-distance trip to Townsville.

Pine Rivers v Centenary – James Drysdale Reserve, Tuesday 28 April, 7:30pm (*)

Centenary have again proved to be the surprise packet of the competition, for the second year in a row, championing the cause of the underdog as the lowest ranked side into Brisbane’s final sixteen.

Their 2015 wins in the Cup have been by three-goal margins, against fellow Capital 2 club Western Spirit and the last two encounters defeating Capital 4 opponents Mooroondu and Brighton.

Pine Rivers have scored fourteen goals in their two Cup appearances, convincing 8-0 winners against near-neighbour Capital 3’s Samford and last round, a 6-0 victory against Capital 1 rivals Southside Eagles.

Centenary are in third place in Capital 2 with five wins from seven matches with a game in hand while Pine Rivers are fourth in Capital 1, three wins and three draws from eight games.

Both sides had draws in weekend league matches, Centenary 1-1 against Western Spirit while Pine Rivers had an epic local derby against North Pine 2-2, ending the match with nine men.

(*) While Pine Rivers are the home side for this match, they have had to give up that advantage, as this match will be played at Pine Hills ground on the Jinker Track. The Predators ground, Wendy Allison Park, currently unavailable due to maintenance.

Redlands v Olympic – Cleveland Showgrounds, Wednesday 29 April, 7:15pm

The home side’s league campaign has not gone to plan so far, just two points from their opening seven matches and realistically, their title ambitions look all but over for 2015.

That means that like City in their clash against the Strikers, Redlands have nothing to lose and that’s a dangerous prospect for Olympic who were the other Brisbane qualifiers into the FFA Cup main draw last year and currently sit in the NPL’s pole position.

Redlands welcome back Frenchman, Nico Bechar, who after a carry-over suspension from last year served upon a return from an off-season stint in New Zealand, is now available for selection. New recruit, Lyndon Dykes, an Australian Schoolboy representative looked impressive in his debut off the bench in the 3-2 loss to Sunshine Coast Fire over the weekend.

Olympic will be without defender Matt Mundy, sent off late in their 3-1 victory against Brisbane Strikers on Friday night. Redlands and Olympic had a 1-1 draw in round three of the NPL.

Peninsula v Easts – AJ Kelly Park, Wednesday 29 April, 7:30pm

Shaun Feuerriegel did the damage off the bench for Peninsula in their last Cup clash as they were pushed all the way by Capital 1’s Mt Gravatt. That on the back of Power’s previous 3-1 win against Brisbane Force.

Easts also had to do it tough in the last round, needing extra time to defeat another Capital 1 opponent, North Star 2-0 after a round two defeat of fellow Premier League club UQFC 2-0.

In the lead-up to the season, both sides were tipped to be top four contenders. Peninsula are currently meeting those expectations, sitting joint top-of-the-table while Easts sit in tenth place.

Weekend wins away from home in the league to both sides will provide confidence coming into this match, particularly for Easts who claimed three points for the first time since their opening game in February.

Peninsula claimed a tight 1-0 win in the round five Premier League match against these sides on 21 March.

Moreton Bay v Taringa – Wolter Park, Wednesday 29 April, 7:30pm

Both sides should be relatively fresh, particularly Moreton Bay who have played only 203 minutes of competitive game time in six weeks, caused by the Easter break, abandoned and deferred matches while Taringa’s most recent league match was abandoned after thirty-eight minutes due to a floodlight failure at Logan on Friday night.

Moreton Bay remain undefeated in the NPL after playing five matches, their only dropped points so far coming in their last encounter in a 1-1 draw against the Strikers.

Taringa sit mid-table in the Trophy Superstore Premier League with two wins and two draws from six matches. Cup defeats have come at the hands of Capital 2 side Brisbane Knights 4-2 and 8-0 against Capital 3’s Virginia in the previous round.

SOUTH-WEST QUEENSLAND

Willowburn v West Wanderers, Commonwealth Oval, Wednesday 29 April, 7:00pm

Willowburn last year emerged from the zone-based clubs to earn a playoff spot against NPL club South-West Queensland Thunder and they’ll be looking for a return bout should they win this match.

It hasn’t been the best opening to the Premier League for Willowburn. After winning their opening match, they then lost the next three but returned to winning ways on the weekend in a 3-1 win against St Albans.

West Wanderers on the other hand sit second on the table with three wins from five but suffered a tight 2-1 loss to league leaders Gatton on Sunday afternoon.

The Cup campaign has been much different for the Magpies, scoring thirteen goals in their two wins against Gatton and St Albans while West Wanderers easily accounted for Warwick 11-1 in the last round.

These sides met in the Toowoomba Premier League on March 29 where Wanderers came away 3-2 winners.

GOLD COAST

Broadbeach v Mudgeeraba, Nikiforides Family Park, Tuesday 28 April, 7:00pm

Broadbeach are sweeping all before them in the Premier League, winning all seven of their matches and scoring an average of just over three goals per match. Over the weekend, they accounted for the second place side, Magic United 2-1, the same side they beat in the last round of the Cup.

Mudgeeraba’s league fortunes couldn’t be any more different, sitting second last in the league but in a positive sign, collected their first win of the season on the weekend in a 5-1 victory against a nine-man Coomera.

The only meeting between these sides in the Premier League this year resulted in Broadbeach accounting for Mudgeeraba 3-0 on 7 March.

The winner of this match will take on the Palm Beach NPL side in the next round.

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