Third time lucky for Fire


Nick Close (left – Woombye) and Shoichi Koshimizu (Fire) contest the ball

Rafe Griffin (@rafegriffin)

Sunshine Coast Fire have progressed for the first time through to round six of the FFA Cup after a tense and customary Cup encounter that went to the bitter end defeating Sunshine Coast Premier League outfit Woombye 2-1.

An early goal to Kobe Fuller for the Fire was added to by Jeremy Stewart shortly before halftime. Luke Alderson’s effort for Woombye gave the Snakes hope but they ultimately came up short.

The Fire were first to test their opponents after a quick transition out of the their defensive half. Fuller and Stewart linked up with Tim Hollingworth who got the first shot of the night away only to be blocked by Nick Close. Woombye withstanding that and two early corners.

Seven minutes in though, a Woombye defensive error was pounced upon by Shoichi Koshimizu who played on for a virtually unmarked Fuller to score from close range.

Woombye would have their first opportunity soon after. Joel Couacaud delivered a cross from the left towards the back post that Corey Towle pushed over the bar.

Former Fire player Jon Ladic gave keeper Sam Nickolls a fright as he powered in a shot from outside the box. The ball clipping the bottom of the upright in an attempt that was closer than Nickolls’s initial assessment.

The two sides exchanged threatening attacks. Josh Walton looked to have set up a one-on-one with Nickolls with the Fire defence reacting quickly to shut down the threat. Hollingworth then set up Fuller who skied high and wide. Walton then again threatened Nickolls’s line forcing the Fire custodian to punch away decisively at full stretch.

It took around half an hour for Woombye’s nerves to settle and become comfortable in their game. Alderson drew out Nickolls but at the critical moment, the Sunshine Coast Premier League’s leading marksman over many years got off balance and could only swing a fresh air shot.

Alderson had the chance to make amends minutes later as he glanced a header from a Towle free kick a shade wide of the post.

The Fire’s second goal came shortly before the halftime break as they weaved their way across the goal line with Stewart on the end of a deflected effort.

Shortly after the break, Koshimizu went down in the box but his penalty shouts were waved away by the referee. That was amongst a number of challenging calls that the officials had to decide on in a tense match.

The Snakes’ talisman Alderson got his side back into the match after being played in by Towle, slamming one home that gave Nickolls no chance bringing the vocal home crowd to life.


A big crowd was on hand at the Snakepit

Midway through the second stanza, Alderson again brought roars from the crowd in another tight contest with Nickolls. Couacaud also coming close in finding the side netting shortly after.

Tempers boiled over when Stewart brought down Towle in a crude challenge. The two teams engaged in a little push and shove that saw Stewart collect a yellow card for the tackle as well as Couacaud for being the third man involved.

Woombye continued to pile on the pressure in the final fifteen minutes in a match that went right down to the wire. In the third minute of stoppage time, the assistant waved a free kick just outside the box when Alderson was brought down. The resulting effort was an easy collect for Nickolls that ended any hope of the Snakes forcing the game into extra time.

Sunshine Coast Fire will meet the winner of next Monday’s match in the Wide Bay zone between KSS Jets and United Park Eagles in the next round.

In the other match played in Queensland tonight, Brisbane City defeated Mitchelton 2-0 at CTM Stadium. It’s the first time that City too has progressed through to round six. Sam Sibatuara and Antonio Murray with goals at the end of each half ensured City’s passage in a match where Mitchelton ended the game with nine men and Brisbane City ten after three red cards were dispatched by referee Alan Milliner.

Woombye 1 (Luke Alderson 57’) v Sunshine Coast Fire 2 (Kobe Fuller 7’, Jeremy Stewart 41’)

Woombye: Daniel White, Joe Couacaud, Mark Polley, Nick Close, Corey Towle, Craig Hawkins, Jon Ladic, Shane Dixson, Josh Walton (Nathan Ferguson 81’), Jai Cross, Luke Alderson. Subs not used: Tom Birrell, Josh Dixson, Jesse Quin, Alasdair MacDonald.

Sunshine Coast Fire: Sam Nickolls, Tim Hollingworth, Paul Mikula, Connor Hancock, Kyle Townsend (Cameron Nairn 63’), Grant De Chastel, Chris Jancevski, Brady Cronk, Jeremy Stewart, Shoichi Koshimizu (Giacomo Mellino 88’), Kobe Fuller. Subs not used: Jez Lofthouse, Josh Wall.

Brisbane City 2 (Sam Sibatuara 44′ (pen), Antonio Murray 90+5′) v Mitchelton 0