Leichhardt’s luck runs dry

Rose Calvert

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Picture: Tom Orr Snr – Leichhardt FC/Facebook

After eliminating the Mareeba Bulls in their opening round of the FFA Cup, it was Leichhardt’s turn to fall victim to a 2-0 upset to Edge Hill who proved too strong for the young Lions.

Both teams were granted equal opportunities to bury goals through defensive mistakes but it was the Tigers who capitalised on their chances.

Edge Hill’s Sam Ferguson was warmed up early by some opening attacks from the Lions. The veteran keeper was called up for duty in place of young, up and coming Ciaran Church who was controversially sent off in the Tigers’ previous FFA Cup game.

The 2016 season has seen a young new line up for the Lions and the result of losing two senior players in Darcy Fernandez and Jay Loftus to injury during the match was perhaps an added factor to their defeat.

With both teams missing optimal opportunities to score from free-kicks, good through balls and some defensive mistakes, the score line was finally opened up in the 39th minute. The Lions failed to clear the ball out of the box resulting in Scott White issuing a first-touch volley high in to the top corner.

Despite the hot and humid conditions that warranted two drink breaks and their opponents who have a considerable age gap, Edge Hill managed to see in the second half with strong, aggressive attack that remained the predominant theme for the remainder of the match.

The second half should have told a different story for the Lions who have been showing good form coming back into games after the half time break. Luck wasn’t on their side though as the young squad failed to convert a host of one-on-one opportunities and the woodwork providing an additional aid to Ferguson on a couple of occasions.

Edge Hill striker Michael Ortiz was sharp and dangerous in attack and managed to edge past on Lion Rhys Agius on a few occasions. The two providing good entertainment during their well-matched battle.

Despite going down towards the end of the game with a suspected ankle injury, Ortiz pressed on to provide one more nail in the coffin; a bad pass from the Lions turned in to a through ball for Ortiz who took the ball out wide and finished with a beautifully executed cross-goal shot.

Edge Hill will meet Innisfail in the next round after the Cutters overcame a strong Stratford team 3-2 after extra time in the other Saturday night match. The winner of the Edge Hill and Innisfail clash will determine who will take on FNQ Heat.

Edge Hill 2 (Scott White, Michael Ortiz) v Leichhardt 0

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