FNQ Football Premier Leagues Round 2 Wrap

Rose Calvert

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Picture credit : Tom Orr (Senior)

PREMIER MEN

The Edge Hill Tigers have finally been nudged off their successful pre-season perch, losing their first game for the year 1-0 to last year’s runners up Stratford Dolphins.

In a very physical showdown at Tiger Park on Saturday night the two teams battled back and forth in a tight tussle to keep the scorecard untouched for the majority of the match. Tiger Patrick L’Orange was issued his second yellow leaving the home side with ten men with around twenty minutes left to play. This ultimately proved the decider; Stratford stealing the win in the dying moments of the game via Cameron Morrison who found the net off a great ball in from Will Beverley at the 89th minute.

The reigning minor and major premiership winners Mareeba Bulls suffered their second loss for the season, succumbing 4-2 to the travelling Marlin Coast Rangers at Lindsay Stadium Saturday night.

It was a case of deja vu for the Bulls who went down 4-2 to Leichhardt in last week’s opening round. Both matches (this week’s and last) saw the Bulls enter half time with scores locked at 2-2. Goals from skipper Alex Ploughman and Paul Ruiz in the 25th and 30th minutes aided in matching the Rangers two-goal first half effort.

But second half goals from Rangers skipper Colin Parnell and Paris Aren-Sternikoff secured the win for the Rangers who enjoyed success across all of their Premier divisions on the day.

Receiving the bye in the first round, the Southside Comets kicked off their 2016 season against the Leichhardt Lions at Petersen Park.

With both teams boasting youth on their side, the match was hard fought resulting in a 2-all draw. The hosts lead the charge via a goal from Mattia Olivetto to give the Comets a 1-nil lead at half time. Sam Scarella pushed that lead to 2-0 in the second but the visitors showed good form to bring the game back into contention.

On the 66th minute the visitors were granted a penalty that was converted by Adam Sheen; the young Lion off to a good scoring start after putting away a brace in an earlier Premier Reserves match, and a hat-trick the week before. A free-kick from Adam Lezzi in the 89th minute was enough to see the visiting Lions come away with the point.

Edge Hill 0 Stratford 1

Mareeba 2 Marlin Coast 4

Southside 2 Leichhardt 2

Innisfail Cutters BYE


PREMIER RESERVES

In another tightly contented fixture, Edge Hill were defeated at home 2-1 by Stratford. Starting the match after playing in the youth division, Broadie Kennedy put the first goal away for the Dolphins from inside the six-yard box in the 12th minute. The Tigers responded shortly after in a similar fashion with skipper Josh Hughes picking a loose ball up inside the box to even the scores.

In a scary twist of events, Kennedy met Tiger Liam Cashmere in an airborne challenge; the two clashing heads which saw Kennedy fall unconscious to the ground. Upon impact Kennedy suffered a seizure; referee Lee Macmaster acted quickly to put Kennedy on his side. Kennedy regained consciousness shortly after and an ambulance was called. Reports from Stratford officials conclude that Kennedy is okay after the incident but will most likely miss the next couple of rounds.

Stratford shook off the incident and dominated the start of the second half, piercing the Tiger’s defence with good through balls and strong attacking play. Conor Lawless added to the scorecard at the 55th minute, slotting the ball home from a cross. The Dolphins had a chance to find some breathing space after a reckless tackle from Tiger Anuphong Sompha resulted in a penalty for the visitors, but they failed to convert.

The final third turned physical with fitness getting the better of both sides resulting in late, aggressive tackles. With Stratford losing steam, the Tigers found a host of opportunities to even the scoresheet with some strong attempts on goal. One such attempt coming via an Edge Hill corner that looked as though the ball had crossed the line, only to be scooped out on the volley from Stratford’s defence. The Tigers were unlucky to not come away with a draw, the failed opportunities resulting in the 2-1 defeat.

In the other fixtures, Marlin Coast dismissed last year’s grand final runners-up Mareeba 4-1, thanks to a goal-a-piece from Glen Hayward, Ned Drawley-Astill, Daniele Belloni and Stephen Lewis. The Rangers led the first half with a 1-0 lead and despite Mareeba’s effort to put one away, the hosts conceded a further three goals in the second half to receive their second loss for the season.

Last year’s Premiership winners Leichhardt Lions overcame the Southside Comets 5-2 to claim their second win for the season. Showing tremendous finishing form with a hat-trick in his previous Reserve Grade fixture last week, and a penalty conversion in this week’s Premier Mens match, Adam Sheen opened up the scorecard for Leichhardt in the 30th minute. Lion Foua Thao added his name to the sheet a minute after. Sheen put a second goal away at the 40th minute to leave the game on a brace after being subbed off in preparation for the Premier Mens game. It has been an impressive start for Sheen, who, having played the Reserve Grade fixture, stepped up in the Premier match later on the day, coming on at the 64th minute and converting a penalty at the 66th.

The Comets goals came via Adrian Benyon and Hiroto Higuchi with the final goal of the match coming at the 90th minute via Lion Mohamed Mohamed who also came away with a brace for the visitors, putting a goal away 20 minutes earlier.

Edge Hill 1 Stratford 2

Mareeba 1 Marlin Coast 4

Southside 2 Leichhardt 5

Innisfail Cutters BYE


PREMIER WOMEN

With both teams coming off loses to strong competitors in their first round fixtures, Marlin Coast and Mareeba showcased a tightly contended match; the travelling Rangers managing to steal the spoils 3-2 thanks to a brace from skipper Nicola Meath and a goal from Sarah Edwards.

Mareeba were better equipped for their second round home fixture boasting a fuller squad of 14 compared to their first round clash where they managed to travel away with a bare 11. Goals from Bulls Jeannae Kalinau and Samantha Cater weren’t enough though, with the visiting Rangers taking home the win via a second half deciding goal.

New additions Stratford were issued another Premier League introductory shock, this time to top FNQ outfit Edge Hill who netted 15 goals for a 15-1 result.

The Tigers put five goals away in the first ten minutes via some well-placed finishes from striker Siobhan Macken. With hot weather ensuing and a lack of intensity, the match was played at a slow tempo. A careless error from the Tigers saw a Stratford clearance ball trickle straight through the middle of the park that was collected by unmarked Dolphin Cassandra Price who ran to goal at pace, deploying a cracker long range shot that edged over goal keeper Lindsey McKay. Despite the only goal being scored, Price appeared a strong threat at times, using her pace and good touches on the ball to hustle her way forward in attack.

Finishing 9-1 at half time, the Tigers managed six more goals in the second half thanks to a late entry from Dolphin Hayley Bull who is returning from injury and came off the bench in the final 15 to deny the Tigers on a handful of occasions. Had Bull been able to play the entirety of the match, the scoresheet may not have been as severely impacted.

Consecutive grand final runners-up Southside Comets shaped up in their first game of the season against the Leichhardt Lions, issuing a 4-1 upset.

The young Comets outfit appeared slow off the mark, producing out-of-character disorganised play in the opening passage; a momentary indication of first-game gelling. The Lions took advantage early and found good passages of possession to keep the match tightly contended during the first half.

Lions’ co-captain Natalie Fichera drew first blood reaching the back of the net from a corner kick to give her team a 1-0 lead at halftime.

The Comets found their signature composure in the second half and dominated in large patches for the remainder of the match; the young side proving dangerous in attack that left the Lions wanting for pace on a number of occasions. Clinically set-up goals ensued through the likes of a brace from Amy Walton and a goal from Leah Scroggie to give the Comets a 3-1 lead. The final goal from Comet Akari Fujimoto was a result of a goalkeeping error by Georgia Smith that saw the ball roll through her legs. Despite the error, Smith, who only started her football career this year, had a solid game, denying the hosts with some crucial saves.

Edge Hill 15 Stratford 1

Mareeba 2 Marlin Coast 3

Southside 4 Leichhardt 1

Innisfail Cutters BYE

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