Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Angela Mussell
Gold Coast City junior teams lined up for super Sunday of home fixtures against Western Pride – and claimed the bulk of the spoils with three wins and a draw.
Under 16 Boys
Gold Coast City FC – 1 (Trad THELWELL 75’)
Western Pride FC – 1 (Tommi POVALEC 22’)
A determined Under 16’s earned reward for their hard graft with a late equaliser ending a four match run of defeats.
Skipper Trad Thelwell claimed the spoils as he cancelled out Tommi Povalec’s first-half opener – the City player netting his fifth goal of the campaign after solid City defensive pressure forced a Pride turnover.
Post-match, coach Maarten de Kruijf praised his side’s persistence after being under pressure in the first-half to ultimately take their first point off Pride this season.
“We played as a team, with players that have come back from injuries and sickness. In those circumstances, this result is great for the team,” he said.
“We always have a game plan for the last ten minutes to play opportunistic football. This worked very well for us today.”
De Kruijf added praise for goalkeeper Thibault Caruana’s efforts to frustrate Pride throughout the match.
“Thibault kept us in the game with great saves in the first and second halves,” he concluded.
Under 15 Boys
Gold Coast City FC – 3 (Zachary DONATO 5’, Sean SMITH 24’, Ewan MACLEOD 65’)
Western Pride FC – 0
The Under 15’s arrested a two match winless run with a consummate three goal win – keeping Pride scoreless for the first time this season.
Zachary Donato set the scene early by tucking home from a cross before Sean Smith doubled the advantage with a well-placed finish from inside the box before the break.
Ewan Macleod’s first goal for the side this season then sealed the result in the second stanza after converting from a free-kick.
Coach Nick Taylor was delighted to see his side secure their seventh win of the season.
“We tried and tested a new formation. We still have a bit to work on positionally but winning the match was a big positive.”
Under 14 Boys
Gold Coast City FC – 2 (Eli HUGHES 25’, Alex PAPANIKOLAOU 45’)
Western Pride FC – 3 (Thomas FINDLAY 15’, Greer SCHREIBER 63’, Mason CROSS 67’)
Two late goals from Pride put paid to an otherwise spirited fightback from the Under 14’s as they were defeated by a single goal.
Falling behind early to Thomas Findlay’s opener for the visitors, City responded brightly as Eli Hughes levelled terms with his 14th goal of the season.
Alex Papanikolaou edged City ahead early in the second half, before Pride wrested the points via goals to Greer Screiber and Mason Cross.
Coach Clayton Buckenham said Pride’s defensive tactics proved a challenge to his side.
“The boys need to learn that when they come up against a team who are physical and sit back that they need to move the ball quickly,” he explained.
“Although we kept the ball well and never really looked like loosing we played at a much slower tempo than usual.”
Buckenham also highlighted the work rate of his attackers throughout the contest.
“The wingers were a constant threat and the movement of Riley Verindeer upfront caused their defence numerous problems - his work rate and hold up play deserved a goal.”
Under 13 Boys
Gold Coast City FC – 4 (George EARWICKER, Peter OSBORNE, Isaac JURKIC, Jack PIRONE)
Western Pride FC – 2 (Lenny LA VIN x2)
*note goal minutes not confirmed at time of publication
A composed performance from the Under 13’s saw them continue their recent free-scoring ways as they stormed to a solid two goal win.
George Earwicker opened accounts with a crisp finish in to the top corner from 20 yards out before Peter Osborne doubled the advantage with a classy sliding finish at the back post from Isaac Jurkic’s cross.
Lenny La Vin pulled a goal back for Pride before Jurkic added his name to the scoresheet with close-range finish amidst a goal mouth scramble.
Jack Pirone iced the win from a set-piece – tucking home a finish from a City corner kick.
Coach Shane Robinson said post-match that his side excelled across the park to post the win.
“The team we're exceptionally composed on the ball today. Sticking to our philosophy of playing out from the back even when put under pressure,” he explained.
“By applying collective pressure in midfield we forced the opposition to bypass their midfield which was dealt with well by our back four and goalkeeper.”
“Cameron Anderson was particularly impressive with his composed distribution from the back and aggressive defending.”
Under 12 Boys
Gold Coast City FC – 2 (Fernando NASH 32’, Francois MAHU 47’)
Western Pride FC – 1 (Jack SCOTT 53’)
The Under 12’s returned to winning ways with an 2-1 win – reversing the result they recorded against Pride from just weeks earlier.
Following a scoreless first-half, prolific goalscorer Fernando Nash delivered the opener shortly after the half-hour – his 37th goal of the season coming courtesy of a typically composed finish.
Francois Mahu then doubled the advantage a quarter of an hour later with an impressive long-range strike.
Pride found consolation through Jack Scott in the later stages, however, City proved stoic in defence to see out the result.
Coach Rahul Shetty said the team worked well together with every player contributing to the win.
“We could’ve scored three or four in the first half as we created a lot of chances against a very good team,” he said.
“We changed our shape in the midfield and this worked really well in controlling the game.”
“Liam Miller was particularly outstanding in the holding midfield role but there were great overall performances from every single player.”