Lions roar as Fire fall again

Sunshine Coast FC are out of the Westfield FFA Cup after falling to an upset 3-2 extra-time defeat at the hands of community club Noosa Lions on Tuesday night.

Craig Hawkins and Alex Barlow delivered Lions a two-goal advantage inside twenty minutes, before Fire fought back to level scores and force extra time.

However, an own goal from Rhys Roberts in the second period of extra time ultimately proved decisive for the third-tier McDonald’s Premier League outfit.

The result marks the second straight year Fire have been eliminated at the first hurdle in the knock-out competition and continues their record of never winning a Westfield FFA Cup match.

Despite being unfancied coming into the tie, Lions started the contest positively and saw early half-chances before opening the scoring inside ten minutes when Hawkins headed past Fire goalkeeper Dale Hill.

Former Fire player Barlow struck midway through the half to double the advantage from a free-kick – the ball deflecting off the Fire wall before nestling into the back of the net.

Fire were fortunate to pull a goal back prior to half-time as Lions inadvertently headed a long throw from Tim Hollingsworth into their own net in time added on.

The sides continued to exchange chances in the second half, with Fire proving more lively as they continued to chase the game.

Substitute Kenya Takahashi finally levelled terms with just under a quarter hour remaining – heading home at the back post from a corner kick.

The tussle continued throughout extra time before Lions dramatically restored their the lead with five minutes remaining when Roberts conceded an own goal.

Speaking post-match, Fire goalkeeper Dale Hill lamented his side’s slow start to the match.

“To be fair the first forty-five minutes we didn’t show-up and we were two-nil down but after half-time there was only one team in it. But that’s football,” he said.

Noosa Lions FC  3 (Craig HAWKINS 6’, Alex BARLOW 20’, own goal 115’)
Sunshine Coast FC  2 (own goal 45+1’, Kenya TAKAHASHI 78’)