FFA Cup Preview – Week of 11 May

First of all, just an update on the remaining teams left in the race for Queensland qualification spots. 23 teams remain for the four spots:

NORTHERN ZONE (6 teams remain for 1 spot)

FNQ Heat, Stratford Dolphins, Northern Fury, Townsville Warriors, Whitsunday, Frenchville.

SOUTHERN ZONE (9 teams remain for 1 spot)

United Park Eagles, United Warriors, Noosa Lions, Kawana, Sunshine Coast Fire, SWQ Thunder, West Wanderers, Broadbeach, Palm Beach NPL.

METROPOLITAN ZONE (8 teams left for 2 spots)

Brisbane Strikers, Moreton Bay, Redlands, Ipswich Knights, Peninsula Power, Lions FC, Pine Rivers, North Pine.

This week, it’s time for the regions to feature with three NPL clubs making their entry into the competition against their local Premier League clubs while the Sunshine Coast will decide who will meet their NPL club, the Fire. By the end of Wednesday night, the field in Queensland will be narrowed to 19 teams.

Broadbeach v Palm Beach – Tuesday 12 May 7:30pm, Nikiforides Family Park, Broadbeach

This match pits the 2014 Premiers and Grand Final winners of their respective competitions against each other.

Broadbeach remain undefeated in the Gold Coast Premier League, dropping their first points of the season to Mudgeeraba on the weekend who were also their opponents in the previous round of the Cup who they defeated 2-0 to win through to this point of the competition.

Palm Beach easily accounted for Murwillumbah at this stage of the competition last year 8-0 but are a completely different prospect to 2014, sitting mid-table in the NPL with three wins from seven games.

Losing the services of Chris Lucas during the off-season has hurt their attacking ranks, scoring the second least amount of goals in the NPL but on the counter, boast the best defensive record in the league. Their latest league result saw them defeated at home by the Brisbane Strikers 1-0.

The winner of this match will meet the winner of the South-West Queensland play-off between SWQ Thunder and West Wanderers.

Northern Fury v Townsville Warriors – Wednesday 13 May 7:00pm, Brolga Park, Townsville

Warriors were last year’s North Queensland Premier League Premiers and won their way through to round five after a 3-1 defeat of MA Olympic, the only side to have inflicted a loss against Warriors in this year’s league.

Playing in last weekend’s Northern Club Challenge, pitting sides from Far North Queensland, North Queensland and Mackay against each other, Warriors were knocked out at the first hurdle by Mackay Magpies 5-2.

The Fury have an interesting situation to face, having not played a competitive match since their 3-1 home defeat of Brisbane City back on Anzac Day. That situation caused by inclement weather and match postponements.

Overall, the Fury’s performances in the NPL have been good, making the rest of the competition stand up and take notice with four wins from seven to sit just two points outside the top four.

Last year, Fury accounted for Townsville Brothers 2-1 at this stage, Brothers having defeated Warriors in the round prior to that.

The victor plays the Far North Queensland play-off match between FNQ Heat and Stratford Dolphins

SWQ Thunder v West Wanderers – Wednesday 13 May 7:30pm, West Wanderers Fields, Toowoomba

The Thunder have had to give up home advantage for this tie due to damage of the playing surface at Clive Berghofer Stadium. Their only competitive win in their history as a NPL Senior Mens club came in this corresponding fixture last year, needing extra time to defeat local side Willowburn.

West Wanderers won through to be the Thunder’s first opponents in this year’s Cup after a penalty shoot-out win against Willowburn in round four.

The Thunder look to be an improved squad in 2015, almost claiming their first ever NPL win in falling narrowly to the in-form Sunshine Coast Fire 2-1 over the weekend.

West Wanderers opening to the Toowoomba Premier League sees them lead the league with five wins. In their most recent match, they displayed their fighting qualities, coming from 3-1 behind with thirty minutes to go to inflict another defeat on Willowburn 4-3.

The winner meets the Gold Coast winner between Broadbeach and Palm Beach in the next round.

Noosa Lions v Kawana – Wednesday 7:30pm, Giraween Sports Complex, Noosa Heads

These two sides currently occupy spots in the top four of the Sunshine Coast Premier League. Kawana are currently undefeated and sit in second place while Noosa sit fourth, their only loss of the season coming at the hands of current league leaders, Woombye.

These sides met back in round four at the end of March where the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Kawana’s attack has been potent this year, averaging six goals per match with former Sunshine Coast Fire striker, Ryan Delahunty leading the league’s Golden Boot on 14 goals. Teammates Jeremy Stewart and Luke Ricketts accompany him in equal third with eight goals each while also sitting in equal third is Noosa marksman, Matt Thompson.

The winner will meet NPL club, Sunshine Coast Fire in the next round.