FFA Cup Preview – Week of 18 May 2015

Four matches in FFA Cup action across Queensland this week but before getting into previewing them, once again here’s a recap of the teams still alive for the state’s four qualification spots.

NORTHERN ZONE (5 teams remain for 1 spot)

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

SOUTHERN ZONE (6 teams remain for 1 spot)

United Park Eagles, United Warriors, Kawana, Sunshine Coast Fire, SWQ Thunder, 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.

 

Now a look forward to this week’s matches:

Pine Rivers v North Pine – Tuesday 19 May, 7:30pm, Wendy Allison Park, Strathpine.

An all-Brisbane Capital League One match and this one has added spice with the inclusion of a local derby as an ingredient, evidenced when these sides last met on Anzac Day in a 2-2 draw with Pine Rivers having two players sent off.

Both sides struggled at times in their last Cup encounters, North Pine needing extra time to defeat fellow Capital One club Bayside while Pine Rivers scored two goals in the last fifteen minutes to progress to this round at the expense of Capital Two league leaders, Centenary.

These sides are one and two on the ladder in the league, North Pine four points clear on top over Pine Rivers with a game in hand but bring contrasting weekend league form into this match. Pine Rivers easily accounted for cellar dwellers Brisbane Force 6-1 where North Pine conceded two goals in the final five minutes, going down against Annerley 2-1. The Gorillas perhaps with one eye on this encounter.

The winning side will gain passage to Brisbane’s round seven, setting up an encounter against the June 3 winner of the game between Lions and Peninsula Power.

 

Brisbane Strikers v Moreton Bay – Wednesday 20 May, 7:00pm, Perry Park, Bowen Hills.

Another match that promises to be an epic as these sides also occupy the top two spots of their league competition, the NPL Queensland.

Moreton Bay currently lead the way, two points ahead of the Strikers with a game in hand and remain the only side yet to suffer defeat in this year’s NPL.

Last time they met in round six on 19 April, it was the epitome of the adage ‘a game of two halves’. Moreton Bay scoring inside the first fifteen minutes and taking control of the first half before the Strikers came out in the second and wrestled back the momentum to force a 1-1 draw, the only side so far to take points off the league leader.

Moreton Bay in recent weeks has proved they have the attacking arsenal to recover from slow starts. In their two most recent league matches, they have conceded the opening goal and then come back with an emphatic response to earn wins against Western Pride and Palm Beach. That was also the case in their last Cup match against Taringa.

Strikers had a good warm-up on Saturday night with a 6-0 crushing of SWQ Thunder and along with the Jets, possess the best defence in the league.

The victor meets the winner of the Redlands v Ipswich Knights match to be played on June 3.

 

FNQ Heat v Stratford Dolphins – Wednesday 20 May, 8:00pm, Barlow Park, Cairns.

The Heat’s form has been patchy in the NPL, unable to string together two wins in a row despite boasting the second best attack in the competition. That sees them sitting in the lower half of the table with just eleven points from ten matches and come into this match on the back of a 3-2 home loss against Redlands.

Stratford claimed the major scalp of Mareeba in the previous Cup round to be the only remaining FNQ Premier League club to remain in Cup contention. They currently sit third in the league with just the one loss this year, at the hands of Mareeba. They were victorious in their most recent league match on Sunday afternoon where they defeated Edge Hill 3-2.

These sides met in pre-season action on multiple occasions, Crios O’Hare featuring heavily in the most recent clash back on 21 February where he scored a hat-trick in the Heat’s 3-0 victory against last year’s FNQ Premier League Grand Finalists.

The winner of this match plays the Northern Fury in the next round.

United Park Eagles v United Warriors – Thursday 21 May, 7:30pm, Martens Oval, Bundaberg.

It’s Bundaberg v Hervey Bay to decide the Wide Bay zone winner. Both these clubs play in the zone’s Three Cities League competition and back in round three in mid-March, United Park Eagles took a tight 4-3 win when these sides met.

United Park Eagles are an amalgamation of two Bundaberg clubs that was formed in the last off-season between last year’s Division One Premiers Moore Park Beach and North Bundaberg Eagles. The partnership so far being a major success as they lead the Three Cities League without a defeat in ten matches. Warriors sit in fifth position, ten points adrift.

Both clubs have had just the one cup match so far, United Park Eagles defeating Alloway 5-1 in the Bundaberg playoff while Warriors defeated Fraser Flames 2-1 in the Hervey Bay section.

The winner of this match takes on the Sunshine Coast winner between Kawana and Sunshine Coast Fire.

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