Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Patrick Leigh Perspectives
Midfielder Ethan Grimley says Monday’s night’s 1-1 draw against China Under 22 could not have come at a better time as he looks to put himself in the frame for the Westfield FFA Cup Quarter Finals.
Both teams scored in the first half of two 35 minute halves of the friendly match at Sports Super Centre, which marked the final match of China Under 22’s training camp.
Despite a bright start, City conceded the opening goal on the quarter hour when Shi Hao Wei tucked home a cross from Dadi Zhon against the run of play.
However, striker Jarrod Kyle quickly levelled terms with a strong finish on the turn from ten yards as he continues his return to full fitness following a dislocated shoulder.
Both sides missed chances to secure a win in the second half of the contest - City's best opportunity came prior to the hour as Kyle shuffled past the City goalkeeper before a desperate sliding challenge put paid to his finish, while Martin Vazquez found the back of the net from a Benjamin Lyvidikos cross shortly after but was adjudged offside by the assistant referee.
City fielded a number of fringe first-teamers and youth players in the match, including Grimley, who has battled against osteitis pubis through 2017.
He said he was delighted to continue his return to full match fitness ahead of City’s blockbuster Westfield FFA Cup Quarter Final against South Melbourne later this month.
“I got just under a full game tonight. It was good to get a run in my legs before the FFA Cup game,” he said.
“In the backend of the season I got a few games in, which was good and probably better than what I thought I would get out of the season.”
Grimley was an unused substitute when City faced off against South Melbourne in 2015 and he said he hopes he will be in consideration when the Victorian powerhouse returns to the Gold Coast.
“Hopefully I can be in the mix for the cup game. Wherever I can best fit on the day will be fine with me, whether that’s on the bench or on the starting sheet.”
“I was on the bench last time and I’ve played in a few of the FFA Cup games before like against Western Sydney Wanderers. There really is no better feeling than those big games.”
Grimley said the Chinese Under 22 side’s discipline and technique provided plenty of value ahead of his side’s next competitive game.
“These boys will be similar to South Melbourne. They are really sharp with good wingers and midfielders, so we have to be ready for that.”
“The match did feel a bit short and a lot of the boys said they would’ve liked to have gone the full 90 minutes. But it was really just a good hit-out,” he concluded.
City expect to confirm further friendly matches in coming weeks ahead of their next Westfield FFA Cup assignment.
Monday, September 4
Sports Super Centre, Runaway Bay
Gold Coast City FC – 1 (Jarrod KYLE 27’)
China Under 22 – (Shi Hao WEI 15’)
Gold Coast City FC Squad: 1. Joshua LANGDON, 2. Riley DILLON, 3. Harrison LISTER, 4. Martin VAZQUEZ, 5. Finlay JOHNSTON, 7. Justyn MCKAY, 8. Harry LIEBKE, 9. Jarrod KYLE, 10. Joseph KNOX, 11. Nikola MIRKOVIC, 12. Reagan LOWRY, 14. Benjamin LYVIDIKOS, 15. Eoghan MURPHY, 16. Forrest TOURNEUR, 18. Jason CAMPBELL, 19. Ethan GRIMLEY, 20. Garion VOGEL, 21. Hunter RUTTY, 22. Maxi RODRIGUEZ