Words: Michael Flynn | Image: DSL Photography
Gold Coast City skipper Justyn McKay says his side are only getting better as they notched a second straight clean-sheet in a 3-0 win over SWQ Thunder on Saturday night.
The win extends City’s 17 match unbeaten run in all competitions and maintains their five-point buffer atop the table.
Traditionally goal-shy defender Eoghan Murphy secured City a single goal advantage at the half with a headed finish from Roman Hofmann’s cross.
League-leading goal scorer Sam Smith then continued his impressive season with a second-half brace.
The Englishman capitalised on an error from Thunder goalkeeper Anthony Passante to double the lead after the hour, before icing the win with a volleyed finish from Nik Mirkovic’s cross in the final minutes.
McKay said the side’s defensive performance was the most encouraging part of the win ahead of their top of the table clash with Brisbane Strikers next weekend.
“We have conceded a few sloppy goals in recent games and that’s something we have really needed to eradicate from our game,” McKay admitted.
“Defensively it was a big improvement last night and a lot of the boys have taken a lot of confidence from that.”
McKay added, “Certain games are must-win and this was certainly one of them. Previous results with other clubs show it is not always an easy place to get points.”
“The pitch wasn’t that good, so that’s a bit of a leveller. We’re just really happy to get three goals and keep the clean sheet.”
McKay also praised young goalkeeper Joshua Langdon, who stepped up to the challenge in his first start for the season, replacing injured regular Matt Stein.
“Josh did well in goal. He has played a few games now and been around the squad for a couple of years,” McKay explained.
“I don’t think we lose too much with him in goal because he is a really good young goalkeeper.”
Despite City’s continued run of form, McKay did concede his personal return in front of goal is skinny compared to prior campaigns.
“It’s a bit of a running joke amongst the lads because my shooting hasn’t been the best this season.”
“Hopefully, that will change against the Strikers next weekend,” he concluded.
City have never lost to Thunder in eleven previous meetings – including eight matches in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues.
PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland 2017 – Round 15
Saturday, June 24
Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba
SWQ Thunder FC – 0
Gold Coast City FC – 3 (Eoghan MURPHY 30’, Sam SMITH 65’ 85’)
Gold Coast City FC Squad – 1. Joshua LANGDON (gk), 2. Riley DILLON, 4. Martin VAZQUEZ, 5. Matthew SCHMIDT, 6. Roman HOFMANN, 8. Justyn MCKAY (3. Oskar DILLON 85’), 9. Jarrod KYLE (16. Thomas MILLER 80’), 11. Nikola MIRKOVIC, 14. Benjamin LYVIDIKOS (10. Jacob BOUTOUBIA 63’), 15. Eoghan MURPHY, 21. Sam SMITH
Unused subs: 20. Garion VOGEL (gk)