Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)
Brisbane City have claimed victory in their opening BLK Silver Boot Group C match in defeating Albany Creek 2-0 on Friday night.
Despite incoming coach John Kosmina missing the match due to Fox Sports commitments, goals to Sam Sibatuara and Mat Biggins in the first half hour sealed the win for the NPL side.
Albany Creek had the best of the opening exchanges with Chang-Shin Park forcing City keeper Jake Clancy to tip his shot out for a corner.
Sasa Raduolvic was next to threaten the City defensive line but could only send his effort across the face.
The opening goal came shortly after the quarter hour mark as City’s Jason Park, returning to Queensland after a season in New South Wales evaded Jordan Loy. Park delivering a cross across the face that slid past Scot Coulson but an unmarked Sam Sibatuara at the back post delivered a superb finish past Tom Sherwood for a 1-0 lead.
After the goal was scored, City wrestled control of the remainder of the half.
Coulson, recruited from Brisbane Strikers in the off-season, got in between two Albany Creek defenders but a weak shot from the edge of the box fell meekly for Sherwood.
Coulson was again involved minutes later. Playing in the ‘nine position’, Mat Biggins laid off a pass for him and his backheel for Nathan Bird resulted in a powered shot that fell wide of the post.
City was denied a goal when Sibatuara delivered a delightful ball for Coulson but the linesman adjudged he made his run a fraction early.
The men from Newmarket continued to threaten as Bird got one on one with Sherwood forced to the edge of the area.
Despite claims of offside from the Albany Creek defenders, Sibatuara provided for Biggins who with the assistance of a deflected pass and a goalkeeper parry slotted away for his side’s second.
Albany Creek had one chance prior to the halftime whistle to reduce the deficit but were unable to shoot on target.
Halftime saw the opportunity for City to make most of their allowable five interchanges as last year’s NPL Golden Boot runner-up replaced Coulson up top in the attack.
The hour mark presented the best opportunity for the BPL side to open their account. Looking rusty in their final third through the previous part of the match, things started to click as a free kick was delivered onto the junction of the upright and the crossbar.
From the resulting corner, Radulovic attempted to curl a shot inside the left hand upright from 20 yards out which would have made for a spectacular off-balance effort had the ball found itself on the right side of the post.
Nasser Mehnat-Gir, Park and Cameron Millar interchanged passes within the box with fifteen to play but representative of Albany Creek’s night, were unable to deliver a final killer pass or shot on target.
The match petering out in the remaining stages with City claiming the win.
Brisbane City 2 (Sam Sibatuara 16’, Mat Biggins 30’) v Albany Creek 0
Brisbane City: Jake Clancy (GK), Nick Buckley, Paul Stevens, Luca Jannese, Greg King, Mat Biggins, Jayke Cuschieri, Nathan Bird, Jason Park, Sam Sibatuara, Scot Coulson, Antonio Murray, Kai Smith, Luke Pavlou, Motoki Kekehi, Josh Cronk, Denis Yongale, James Harkin (GK)
Albany Creek: Tom Sherwood (GK), Kowan Heggie, Paul Mikula, Jordan Loy, Rob Buhmann, Yasu Fujimoto, Sasa Radulovic, Cameron Millar, Chang-Shin Park, Riley Campbell, Takeru Saito, Darren Thomson, Kur Monjok, Nasser Mehnat-Gir, Louis Parish (GK).