Queensland’s best FFA Cup matches

On Wednesday afternoon, we’ll know the opponents that our Queensland clubs will face in the final 32 of the 2015 FFA Cup. Palm Beach, Brisbane Strikers and FNQ Heat will make their second consecutive appearance while current Brisbane Premier League leaders Lions FC will return to the national stage after their days in the National Soccer League. As A-League participants, Brisbane Roar earned automatic progression to the final stages of the competition.

The Cup is only in its second season but has generated plenty of buzz as the ‘Magic of the Cup’ has come alive. Here’s our look back at six of the best ties that have been played in Queensland’s Preliminary Rounds over the past two years.

  1. Mareeba v FNQ Heat, Round 4 2014

The improbable was looking likely on an Easter Sunday evening at Borzi Park in Mareeba with the FNQ Premier League side taking a 2-0 lead against their more fancied opponents before former Wellington Phoenix player, Alex Smith stepped in to intervene. He and Crios O’Hare ensuring the Heat got back on level footing going into the halftime break.

The Heat were able to take a 4-2 lead with just over ten minutes remaining but with a vocal home crowd willing their charges on, Anthony Mete stepped up to reduce the deficit to just one. It would be Smith again who would dampen any chances of a fairytale with this miraculous 40-metre wonder strike.

  1. Ipswich Knights v Western Pride, Round 5 2015

After the Knights easily accounted for their very near neighbours in 2014, fate ensured another Ipswich derby at the same stage of the competition in 2015. Both squads were shadows of the those that presented in 2014 after large changes in personnel, both in players and coaching staff, in the off-season.

Form in their respective leagues couldn’t have been more opposite. The Pride were off to a flyer in the NPL while Ipswich Knights were lingering at the bottom of the BPL ladder. However in a match like this, previous results count for nothing.

Despite creating more opportunities during the match, Pride were unable to put away their chances and that would come back to bite them as the Knights’ Lucas Wilson went on a length of the field run in the dying minutes to seal a victory for his side for the second year in a row, the only goal scored in the match.

  1. Centenary v Logan Village, Round 2 2014

While Centenary were playing in Capital League 3, a tier above their opponents, and therefore theoretical favourites, the odds were stacked against them fifteen minutes into the match as they faced a four-goal deficit and a man down.

That situation wouldn’t faze the Stormers who would come to land a reputation in upcoming games as ‘comeback kings’. Centenary scored seven unanswered goals to defy the numerical advantage their opponents had in a game that had to be witnessed to be believed.

After that 7-4 victory, Centenary went on another rampage in the next round, defeating the higher-tier Brisbane Knights 8-2. A tighter affair ensured against fellow Capital 3 side Virginia in round four before the ultimate test against 2013 NPL Champions, Olympic.

Centenary’s massive Cup run came to a shattering halt that night but the Stormers were able to back up their strong 2014 campaign in 2015, again making it to the stage where the NPL sides enter the competition before being knocked out by Pine Rivers.

  1. Capalaba v Virginia, Round 3 2015

Everyone expected this to be an easy affair at John Fredericks Park, after all it was a clash between two clubs that were three tiers apart in the Brisbane competition system.

Virginia weren’t ready to follow that script though and hat-trick hero Darren Maxwell certainly hadn’t read it as his side claimed a 4-2 victory against the Premier League’s Capalaba, inflicting further misery on a Bulldogs side that had had a tough opening to the league season.

That earned Virginia the right to try and upset another Premier League club in the next round but they were unable to replicate that effort with Taringa cruising to an 8-1 victory.

  1. Caloundra v Sunshine Coast Fire, Round 4 2014

As a club, Caloundra got right behind their team ensuring a huge crowd, probably the largest ever in a Preliminary Round match in Queensland, was at the Sunshine Coast Stadium to witness the first NPL club being bundled out of the competition at the first hurdle.

caloundra

After ninety minutes, the match was locked at 2-2, resulting in an additional half hour to try and determine a winner. Both sides scored in that period meaning that penalties were needed to find a victor.

With the vocal Caloundra crowd willing their side on, it would be former (and now current again in 2015 ) Sunshine Coast Fire ‘keeper, Dale Hill who would lead his side to a 4-2 win in the shootout, sending supporters into delirium.

Caloundra’s 2014 Cup run would ultimately be ended at the final hurdle in a tight 1-0 loss to Palm Beach.

  1. Broadbeach United v Palm Beach (NPL) – Round 5 2015

A night that won’t be quickly forgotten by those in attendance with this match pitting the 2014 Gold Coast Premier League winner against the 2014 National Premier League winner and FFA Cup quarter-finalist. Palm Beach had lost last year’s NPL Golden Boot runner-up, Chris Lucas in the off-season resulting in a drying up of goals in the 2015 NPL while Broadbeach entered the match winning seven straight in their league.

Broadbeach’s Adam Powell would provide the heroics for his side, scoring a remarkable goal from halfway after catching Sharks keeper Ryan Meskell off his line, the Dolphins with a 2-0 lead with seventeen minutes to play. Palm Beach would fight back though and a last minute equaliser to Daniel Grzic sent the match into another thirty minutes.

It looked as though Broadbeach were going to pull off a massive result, scoring in the first half of extra time but it wasn’t to be with Nik Mirkovic putting Palm Beach back on equal terms with eight minutes to play, leaving spectators on the edge of their seat.

That resulted in an epic penalty shoot-out with both sides having to go through their full rotation. On the twenty-fifth penalty kick, Powell missed his attempt for the second time in the shootout allowing Roman Hofman to be the one to give Palm Beach a 12-11 win on penalties.

Palm Beach walked a tightrope in the remainder of their 2015 Cup campaign, needing penalties again to defeat fellow NPL club, SWQ Thunder followed by a tight 1-0 victory against Noosa Lions on Saturday night.

Honourable ‘Cupset’ mentions

2014

Holland Park (Capital 2) v UQFC (Brisbane Premier League) 4-0

2015

Moggill (Capital 1) v Logan FC (Brisbane Premier League) 4-2

Bardon Latrobe (Capital 4) v Oxley (Capital 2) 2-1

Pine Hills (Capital 2) v Wolves (Brisbane Premier League) 1-0

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